Largs Colts welcomed good friends Galston to Barrfields in this League Cup Quarter Final encounter. Since the sides last played, when Galston won in the league, the visitors have only lost once to the title challengers AC Irvine whilst Colts have won seven on the bounce, including six in the league. Colts had virtually a full squad to select from and started with a very strong eleven with Irwin in goal. The back four were Barbour, Loudon, Robson and Weir with the midfield covered by R.Coupar, Bainbridge, Cormack and McTaggart. The front two who have been banging in the goals were Smith and Brown. On the Colts bench were Leishman, J.Coupar, Wilson and Florence.
The visitors started the brighter of the two teams and pushed the Colts team back in the early stages. With the game only two minutes old, Galston had a decent half chance which was well marshalled by Barbour. Colts then started to settle and Smith had an effort on goal which went wide of the target.
Soon after, Brown peeled away down the right and R.Coupar played a perfect ball in behind. Brown, who has been clinical this season, looked to pass the ball into the net but it flew agonisingly wide of the left upright. It was end to end football even this early in the match, and both sides playing excellent football.
Irwin was called into action only four minutes into the game and he produced a fine save following a strong run by the pacey Galston winger, Wamuziri. Galston were using his pace to great effect, terrorising the Colts defenders, and first Robson cleared before another through ball was played and despite it looking offside Irwin was again on hand to deny Galston.
Colts were the side to open the scoring and the breakthrough was made thanks a neat passing move with one-twos between Bainbridge and Smith, and it was when Smith found Brown who calmly slotted the ball home in trademark style.
Colts were on the front foot again as Smith then had an effort on goal from a free kick that thundered against the crossbar and out of play. Colts were very much in control at this stage, and Bainbridge and McTaggart had shots from outside the area, although the keeper was not troubled.
Galston were always a danger on the break though, and the Colts defence was holding firm. Galston almost gifted Colts a second goal when the keeper miss-kicked a backpass, but Smith couldn't reach the loose ball. Cormack then had a great run from deep all the way to the edge of the box and as he was about to pull the trigger the Galston defender stopped him in his tracks with a good challenge.
Colts were having joy down the left with Bainbridge and Loudon working well, ably supported the hard working midfield and strikers. Smith did well on the half hour mark to win the ball and whip in a delightful cross, but somehow Galston cleared.
Bainbridge was next to test Galston with a good bursting run that created the chance for a shot which went just over the bar. Just before the break the impressive Wamuziri was played through and it took a perfectly timed challenge from Weir to stop the danger.
Half Time: Largs Colts 1-0 Galston
Into the second half and Colts started the brighter of the two sides. Only 90 seconds into the second half and Brown raced down on goal only to be challenged superbly by the Galston defender to put the ball behind for a corner.
The visitors were still creating chances and caused Largs a couple of problems from corners, but the were well defended in the end from the home side. The best chance for Galston to get back on level terms came seven minutes into the second half as the striker was baring down on goal. Claims for offside were waved away by the referee, and the striker looked destined to equalise, but Irwin pulled off an outstanding save to keep his side one goal in front. Excellent stop from the big man!
Yet again it was the woodwork to the rescue for Galston with Smith trying his luck. The ball sat up nicely for him and he struck a superb effort that crashed off the underside of the bar and was cleared to safety.
Bainbridge then had a great solo run and effort to win Colts a corner. As the ball was whipped into the box, it fell to Robson twelve yards out. The commanding centre back needed no second invitation to shoot and find the top left corner for a crucial second goal, to send the Colts boys into raptures.
It was the battle of the captains in central midfield as Galston's impressive Jai Ewing faced up against Colts skipper R.Coupar. Two excellent footballers that controlled the game effortlessly, but with no shortage of grit and determination. On the hour mark, R.Coupar picked up the ball and with a bit of skill eased himself past a few players before unleashing a venomous shot towards goal, but his effort was just off target.
Colts continued to have the upper hand as the game wore on, and with only five minutes left to play, the game was made safe. Smith used his pace and strength to get through one on one with the keeper, and the big striker was calm in rounding the keeper before slotting home from a tight angle.
With seconds left to play, substitutes J.Coupar and Florence had a good passing move which then fell to J.Coupar for the shot which flew wide of the upright. The referee then brought a halt to proceedings and Largs Colts were into the semi final of the League Cup.
Cup holders Galston were eliminated by a very impressive Largs Colts side, on a day that everything went right for them. A man of the match couldn't be picked as the Largs Colts boys worked their socks off to get the victory they deserved. Every player gave 100% and they are more than worthwhile their semi final place. However, without the saves of Irwin in goals, the match could of panned out completely differently.
Both sides are a credit to Youth Football in Scotland, with the teams showing how football should be played and the attitude of everybody from both clubs, including coaches, parents etc was extremely positive.
Full Time: Largs Colts 3-0 Galston
Irwin (GK), Barbour, Loudon, Weir, Robson R.Coupar(C), Bainbridge, Cormack, McTaggart, Smith, Brown Subs:
Leishman, J.Coupar, Wilson, Florence.