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Cairnie clinches Chuck McGowan Cup for Montrose with penalty heroics


Montrose Youth FC 0

  • Montrose Youth win 7-6 on penalties
  • Sunday, 24 March 2019
  • North End Park
  • Under 15´s
  • Chuck McGowan Cup

Andrew Creegan

Andrew Creegan | YFS East Region Multimedia Journalist
Articles by Author | Contact Author

Montrose Youth lifted the Chuck McGowan Cup after overcoming ACSC in a mammoth penalty shootout that saw every player take a spot kick. 

Goalkeeper Nicholl Cairnie was the hero for Montrose as he kept out Kaden Houghton’s second penalty of the shootout.

Both these sides have been free scoring throughout the season but strong winds meant both had to change their game plans for the cup final.

Montrose were playing into the wind in the first half and thought they had broken the deadlock when a free kick dropped to Ryan Reid in the box. The midfielder’s effort looked destined for the top corner, but a strong hand from ACSC keeper Declan Hay somehow kept the ball out.

The resulting corner from Michael Forbes nearly went straight in to the ACSC net before Hay was called into action once more to deny Dylan Griggs. The Montrose man led a solo counterattack from the half way line only to see Hay get down to his low effort. 

ACSC came into the game having scored over 80 goals in their 14 league matches, and they nearly grabbed the opener when Alex Davidson nipped onto a slack pass in the Montrose box, but he was denied at point-blank range by Nicholl Cairnie.

The W Mills League leaders weren’t phased by playing into the wind, and only a fine challenge from Haydon Chalmers stopped Jay Tosh getting a shot away after 25 minutes. At the other end, Hay was called into action once more as he kept out Michael Forbes’s half volley.

Tosh saw another strike blocked by Chalmers before the ball deflected into the path of Rui Gordon, who was only denied the opener by a smart save from Cairnie at the near post.

  • Half Time:
  • ACSC
  • 0-0
  • Montrose Youth FC

With the wind at their backs, ACSC came flying out the traps early on in the second half in search of the opening goal. Kaden Houghton powered forward from midfield before seeing his strike blocked. Jack Blewdoski gathered the loose ball but could only curl a shot harmlessly over.

Blewdoski lifted the ball just over from a throw before Logan Coull dragged a shot wide from 20 yards as ACSC increased the pressure on the Montrose goal.

A rare Montrose attack saw Joseph Rudden set up Ryan Reid, but he sliced his effort wide before Jacob Smith went close for Montrose as they looked to snatch the winner late on.

As the clock ran down, the prospect of penalties was clearly growing on both sets of players. ACSC looked to launch a late counterattack but were halted as Reid committed a foul in midfield. The foul brought the Montrose man his second yellow card of the afternoon, but ensured his side made it to penalties.


  • Full Time:
  • ACSC
  • 0-0
  • Montrose Youth FC
Joseph Rudden was the first taker for Montrose in the shootout but he saw his effort come crashing off the crossbar. Kaden Houghton was first up for ACSC and he made no mistake with his effort as he reversed the ball into the bottom left corner.

Declan Hay got a hand to Jacob Smith’s penalty, but couldn’t keep the ball out as Montrose drew level. Jack Blewdoski stepped up and sent Cairnie the wrong way as ACSC went 2-1 ahead. Michael Forbes made no mistake as he sent his penalty into the top left corner before Logan Coull squeezed his spot kick past Cairnie to keep ACSC ahead.

Hay went the right way but couldn’t keep out Haydon Chalmers penalty as the Montrose captain drew his side level once again. Daniel Williams continued the high standard of penalties as ACSC took a 4-3 lead.

Joachim Malcolm had to score to keep Montrose in the shootout and despite seeing Hay get a hand to his effort, he did just that, levelling the score at 4-4.

Alex Davidson stepped up with the chance to win the cup for Arbroath but saw his effort come back off the crossbar, before bouncing on the line and away. The Arbroath players believed the ball had crossed the line, but the officials decided otherwise, and the shootout went to sudden death. Lewis Stewart steeped up for Montrose and made no mistake as he drilled the ball into the bottom left corner.

Mathew Murphy was next up for Arbroath, but he saw his effort kept out by Cairnie. The Montrose celebrations were cut short as the referee ordered a retake, and Murphy made no mistake with the second attempt as he went down the middle, with Cairnie diving to his right.

Brodie Sword was next up for Montrose and he fired the ball into the left of the net, with Kyle Yule then firing his spot kick into the roof of the net to level proceedings at 6-6.

Keir Low was next up for Montrose and like Stewart and Sword before him he went to for the bottom left corner, only to drag his penalty against the base of the post.

Billy Rennie had the chance to win the cup for Arbroath, but his effort was straight at Cairnie, who pushed the ball to safety.

Charles Hood sent his spot kick down the middle, but Hay was on hand to push the ball over the bar. Kyle Hamilton stepped up for Arbroath, but his penalty flew over the crossbar as the drama continued. Hamilton’s miss meant the goalkeepers were up and while Cairnie’s penalty was well struck it came crashing off the right-hand post. Hay stepped up for Arbroath but went down the middle and saw Cairnie push his effort over the bar.

Joseph Rudden was up for his second penalty of the afternoon and made no mistake with his second attempt as he put Montrose 7-6 up.

Kaden Houghton stepped up for Arbroath but his effort was stopped on the line by Cairnie to win Montrose the Chuck McGowan Cup.

In the end, this was a cruel end to a final that ACSC put so much into over the course of the 80 minutes and the penalty shootout. On another day, they may well have won the cup but ultimately it wasn’t to be. Despite this result, they find themselves in a strong position in pursuit of the W Mills League title, and look more than capable of ensuring they are lifting the league trophy come May.

As for Montrose, they battled well throughout the game and in particular in the second half, they put their bodies on the line to keep ACSC at bay.

In the shootout, all the players from both teams deserve credit for stepping up to the plate under immense pressure, in particular Montrose goalkeeper Nicholl Cairnie, who made three crucial saves to win his team in the cup.

Perhaps the most memorable moment from this cup final, was Montrose’s Lewis Stewart going to console Kaden Houghton after his penalty had been saved before going to celebrate with his teammates. That moment highlighting the good spirit that this cup final was played in by both sets of players.

Final Result: Montrose Youth win 7-6 on penalties


Montrose Youth FC
1. Declan Hay
2. Fraser Martin
4. Hal Webster
6. Billy Rennie
7. Rui Gordon
8. Jay Tosh
9. Mathew Murphy
10. Kyle Yule
11. Kaden Houghton
12. Daniel Williams
14. Jack Blewdoski
15. Shay McGiveny
16. Harry Nicholl
17. Logan Coull
18. Alex Davidson
37. Kyle Hamilton
1. Nicholl Cairnie
2. Haydon Chalmers
3. Ryan Reid
4. Jacob Smith
6. Dylan Griggs
7. Charles Hood
8. Michael Forbes
9. Lewis Stewart
11. Joseph Rudden
12. James Hood
14. Keir Low
16. Cameron Barclay
18. Joachim Malcolm
Star Player
Montrose Youth FC
Declan Hay - Pulled of several top saves throughout the 80 minutes and in the penalty shootout. On another day he may well have won the cup for his side.
Nicholl Cairnie - The Montrose stopper was in fine form during the 80 minutes, and with three crucial penalty saves in the shootout, he is well worthy of the Star Player accolade.
Magic Moment
Montrose Youth FC
Hay's Save from Reid - A save from the first half, Reid's strike looked to be in all the way until Hay somehow managed to keep it out and keep the scores level.
Cairnie's Save from Houghton - While it wasn't the best penalty Cairnie faced, it was his most important save as he stopped the ACSC's captain's kick and won his side the cup.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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