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In many ways one could argue that the old footballing cliché 'a game of two halves' was simultaneously proven and disproven during the course of Broxburn Athletic Colts U17s DP Systems County Cup Final against Syngenta Grange U17s. Two goals at the start and at the end of the first half put Broxburn in a commanding position. However, with Broxburn being reduced to ten men early in the second half, Syngenta had a new found impetus.
Broxburn assumed the role of cliché debunkers as though Syngenta flooded forward after Duncan Coyle's dismissal on 50 minutes, the Colts looked just as comfortable as they were with their full complement of players. Lining up with a modified 4-4-2 formation, Broxburn sought to give licence to fullbacks Coyle and Dick to get forward at every opportunity with Liam Forbes in the holding role. Syngenta went with a classic 4-4-2 as the team looked to get the talented Dylan Robb involved as much as possible.
The warning signs came early for Syngenta. Broxburn striker Russell Little's combination of strength and pace was proving hard to handle for the Syngenta rear-guard. Jack Morris was called into action twice in the opening 6 minutes, pushing a Little drive from outside the box round his right hand post before Little again drew a save from Morris after a delightful looping ball from Ross Nimmo. Syngenta's continuing struggle to pacify Broxburn's Little reached its conclusion after 9 minutes when the powerful striker provided a beautiful left foot curling finish into the top corner after Kyle Goldie's excellent trickery down the left wing.
Syngenta were largely restricted to long-range efforts as they struggled to make things stick with Ian McIntyre and Dylan Robb up front. Broxburn were dictating play with greater composure and quicker passing than their opponents. McIntyre squandered a half-chance for Syngenta on the edge of the box after the ball broke kindly to him but the forward side-footed his effort well over.
A couple of substitutions by Syngenta almost helped changed the game instantly on 33 minutes. Adam Murdoch almost made the perfect start to his appearance with a cross-cum-shot that Scott Moffat just about managed to pluck from the air before looping over him and into the Broxburn goal.
Broxburn replied in kind by proceeding up the other end minutes later to take advantage of a defensive error. Syngenta centre back Conor Adamson mistimed a header after a long ball and that enabled Broxburn's Grant Craig to slip in and capitalise, despatching the ball coolly past Jack Morris after a one-on-one that was to be the last action of the half.
Half Time: Broxburn Athletic Colts 2-0 Syngenta Grange
Syngenta's three half-time changes looked to have lifted them when two minutes into the half Benn Hutchison put a header over from Dyaln Robb's corner.
However, the game looked set to change when Duncan Coyle was sent off for Broxburn on 50 minutes after an off the ball incident with Syngenta substitute Robbie Neill who had reacted to an awkward Coyle challenge. Neill received a booking for his troubles but the pendulum had not quite swung to his team.
After reshuffling, it was Broxburn who created the first clear-cut opportunity following Coyle's red card. A Broxburn corner on 61 minutes allowed captain Mark Finnigan to direct a header goalwards which had to be cleared off the line. Broxburn were continuing to play their game, passing with supreme confidence. Ross Nimmo's defensive and offensive work was second to none though Syngenta substitute Jonathan McClure offered a stern test for the Broxburn winger.
Syngenta continued to press Broxburn as they looked for a way back into the game. An enterprising run down the left wing by McClure resulted in a teasing cross that Robbie Neill almost managed to fashion a goal from via an improvised back-heel. Moffat could calmly claim Neill's weak effort but Dylan Robb had the Broxburn goalkeeper panicking on 75 minutes when, after a couple of keepie uppies on the edge of the box, the striker hit a half volley that came back off the bottom of Moffat's left-hand post.
Despite some further speculative efforts from Syngenta, Broxburn remained comfortable and rarely look flustered. The hard work put in by the likes of Nimmo, Little, and Craig, to name a few, ensured that Broxburn would hold on to their lead and see a much deserved trophy come their way.
Full Time: Broxburn Athletic Colts 2-0 Syngenta Grange