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Return to the YFS SYFA Central Region Cup Finals Match Centre (coverage of all finals)
Airdrie Boys Club and Kilsyth Athletic served up a memorable SYFA Central Region Cup final, with Kilsyth eventually coming out 4-2 winners after extra time. Connor Shields gave Airdrie an early lead but Craig Sharp and Kieran Brown scored to turn the game on its head. Nathan Liddle then equalised for Airdrie to end a frantic first half. No goals were forthcoming in the second half but Ciaran Crainey and Brown struck in extra time to seal victory for Kilsyth.
The 2012/13 season in the Cumbernauld & Kilsyth District Youth League has been all about Airdrie Boys Club and Kilsyth Athletic. Remarkably the sides missed each other in the early stages of all four local and regional cup competitions on offer, and earlier this month it was apparent they would meet in four finals. On top of that, they were neck and neck in the league title race. Kilsyth took first blood with the Kevin McCutcheon Cup but Airdrie levelled the scores by taking the CK&DYL League Cup, meaning today's match was instalment three of a four part series.
Airdrie saw off 2010/11 finalists Mill United and Kilsyth knocked out Claremont in two dazzling semi final displays to set up this season's final. Kilsyth won the Under 14 Central Region Cup two years ago and were looking to reclaim the crown that was won last year by Wolves BC. Only four of the 2010/11 winning squad remained- Jack Williamson, Gerard Gilfillan, Ciaran Crainey and Robert Stirling.
The match kicked off and within five minutes the deadlock had been broken. Connor Shields of Airdrie picked the ball up in the middle of the park, surged forward and rifled a shot into the bottom left hand corner from a full 25 yards. Conner Flanagan in the Kilsyth goal made a diving effort, but there the ball had already flew into the net by the time he had reached full stretch.
Kilsyth reacted to going behind well and came close to equalising twice in the ten minutes which followed, both times through Craig Sharp. The first effort from Sharp was fired over but on the second occasion, after picking up an excellent Robert Stirling pass, he found the back of the net. However the joy was short lived as the linesman's flag saw Airdrie's lead remain intact.
Sharp continued to be a thorn in the side of the Airdrie defence and broke clear again in the 27th minute. He was initially stopped in his tracks by Airdrie goalkeeper Craig McLean, however the loose ball broke favourably and after steadying himself Sharp showed composure to find the bottom corner.
Just over five minutes later the game was turned on its head. Stirling swung an inviting left footed free kick into the six yard box and whilst McLean again managed to get something on the ball, he couldn't prevent Kieran Brown from sweeping home the loose ball.
Despite the shock of their lead being turned into a deficit, Airdrie reacted positively and ended the half strongly. Ross McKinstray and Scott Bannatyne both came close, before the equalising goal came in the final minute of the half. Shields' whipped in an inviting corner and Nathan Liddle showed excellent technique to swivel and volley the ball home. It proved to be the final incident of a gripping first half.
Half Time: Airdrie Boys Club 2-2 Kilsyth Athletic
After the whirlwind goalspree of the first half, it was no surprise to see the attackers have a harder time of it after the break. Both teams were careful to not concede the goal which could spell the end of their Central Region Cup chances, however that was not to say there was a lack of chances.
Crainey had Kilsyth's first effort of the half, narrowly missing the target. The same outcome was forthcoming for Dylan Higgins, who shot just over from 25 yards.
The sides continued to trade blows. McLean in the Airdrie goal had to be alert to stop a free kick from Brown. At the other end a wicked corner kick from Colin Gavan had to be turned over by Flanagan.
End to end the game continued to swing. Sharp had an effort saved at the near post for Kilsyth, whereas Liddle could only head over from close range, as he looked for his second of the match.
Kilsyth ended the match strongly, with a couple of chances to grab victory during normal time. Stirling produced an ambitious 40 yard effort, which had McLean scrambling. Michael Duncan also had an opportunity, but couldn't stick the ball away at the back post.
The final whistle went to signal the end of regulation time. Once again these two teams had matched each other stride for stride and we were no closer to finding out the winner than we were at kick off.
Full Time: Airdrie Boys Club 2-2 Kilsyth Athletic
Extra time kicked off and there was no let up in terms of goalmouth action. Liddle had three half chances for Airdrie but found Flanagan in the way of the first and couldn't find the target with the latter two. Johnstone then headed over for the Diamonds, as they enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges.
However, Airdrie were left to rue their missed opportunities as Kilsyth struck to net the game's fifth goal after it being locked at 2-2 for what seemed like an eternity. Crainey was the man to make the difference, picking his spot and finding the far corner.
Airdrie had to commit bodies forward at this stage and it was proving more of a hinderance than a help to the men in red, as the green shirts of Kilsyth countered effectively time and again. Stirling had a chance to finish the game off, but was denied by McLean, before the match was put to bed. Brown broke the Airdrie offside trap and showed bags of composure to lash a powerful volley into the back of the net.
Gavan had one final chance for Airdrie but it wasn't to be. The final whistle blew and Kilsyth celebrated reclaiming the honour they won two years ago, of top team in the SYFA Central Region.
Final Result: Airdrie Boys Club 2-4 Kilsyth Athletic (AET)