East Kilbride lifted the East of Scotland FA Under 20 Knockout Cup with a 6-2 victory over Edinburgh University at Marine Drive Playing Fields. With just one point separating the teams in the league table, it was all set to be a close game but Kilby came away with a convincing victory. The two teams had met in the Challenge Cup semi-final the previous month, with Edinburgh Uni triumphing on that occasion.
After eight minutes, the ball was being exchanged in tight spaces out on Edinburgh Uni’s right midfield and a pass inside from East Kilbride was met first time with an instep to put a curling ball down the left channel. Lewis McDonald made the run and latched onto the ball, drifting in on goal at pace and coming inside with a smart bit of footwork to make the angle and curving the ball outwards and towards the top corner and out of the reach of the keeper. It was one nil to East Kilbride.
Shortly after, McDonald muscled the ball free for another opportunity, cleverly disguising the shot and beating the keeper only to see it drift wide of the upright. Despite the desperate and dazzling opening it appeared as though East Kilbride had confidence in their passing and ability to get the ball into dangerous areas and certainly the potency lay squarely at the feet of McDonald. Soon he was combining with Vinnie Newlands neatly laying it inside in the area with a back heel but the defence closed in around his team mate and the chance was gone.
After 25 minutes Ross McKechnie went on a mazey run inside but slipped. McDonald was on hand to rescued it though and laid it back to Harry Mitchell whose shot went over the bar. Only two minutes later persistence paid off and McDonald had scored again with a fine finish close in on goal. Two nil to Kilbride and his teammates were over to congratulate him for making a big dent in the games likely outcome.
Now the Uni came forward swiftly. A cross came in and the striker headed it into the top corner to pull a goal back.
After 35 minutes, Kilby came forward with McDonald involved once again. They very nearly scored but it was Edinburgh University who were finding their feet and making deep incisive attacks down both wings.
At the break the teams go in with East Kilbride worth the slender lead and it all to play for in the second half.
Half time: East Kilbride 2-1 Edinburgh University
A few minutes into the second half, Jordan Craig whipped in a great cross which was met by the striker, but the header looped narrowly over the crossbar.
Shortly after though Craig sent in a quality corner and a powerful Craig Howie header from close range put East Kilbride two goals up.
Then, Craig received the ball and lined up a left-footed shot which fired past the Uni goalkeeper.
On the hour mark, the Uni nearly scored after a fine run but Kilby keeper Martin McCabe was equal to the shot.
The game slowed down but Edinburgh were still probing. A cross caused problems in the Kilby defence but went just wide of the target.
It was a truly awesome goal that saw East Kilbride make it 5-1 and clinch the game. After an excellent passing move between three Kilby players, Mitchell played in Howie who finished with aplomb dummying a shot before waltzing into the goal.
Edinburgh Uni pulled a goal back with 20 minutes remaining and it was a grand reward for their persistence. A fine finish into the net nestled into the far post.
Five minutes later, East Kilbride head a ball on to the bar after great play and then some frustrations from both sides came out in the form of fouls and yellows before Kilbride go close again.
John Diack went clear onto a through ball and was foiled by the keeper but only a few seconds after he was still alive to a bouncing ball and he volleyed it sweetly and it was always going in. It was one of those shots that you hope will go in because it is going to be a great goal to watch and as much as the keeper did well he could only grace the dipping curl which took the ball under the bar for the game to be formerly victorious for Kilbride and fulfilling to Diack who no doubt will remember that goal for a while! The game finished at 6-2 and with a flurry of outstanding saves at the end as McCabe tipping balls onto the bar East Kilbride celebrated a trophy win on what turned into a glorious evening and an equally quality game.