A hat-trick from Ong Duff sent Kilwinning Academy on their way to a comfortable victory in the final of the Under 16s Ayrshire Schools FA Cup. Auchinleck caused problems in the first half and took a surprising lead, but their challenge faded as Kilwinning’s class shone through on the way to a 4-1 win.
Indeed, Auchinleck had the first chance of that match and it wasn’t against the run of play. Ruairidh Airlie latched on to a pass from midfield by Mackenzie Corrigan and advanced towards the box. He pulled the trigger from 20 yards but flashed his shot wide.
A foul by Reece Kerr on Greig Richmond in the box provided Auchinleck with a golden chance to go in front. Kaylum Ferguson stepped up to take the penalty and coolly sent Adam Boyd the wrong way as the ball nestled in the bottom right corner. Despite their underdog status Auchinleck fully deserved to be up, but Duff saw about rectifying that fact.
Confusion in the inexperienced Auchinleck defence provided a golden opportunity for Duff to make his mark. He showed his striker’s instinct by as the Auchinleck back line looked bemused in the face of what seemed like an errant pass, allowing the number nine to sneak in and square up to Andrew Wilson in goal. The Kilwinning forward settled himself and steered the ball past the on-rushing keeper to equalise for his side.
Despite seeing two goals in the space of 15 minutes, the next 25 minutes of the half featured virtually nothing of note in front of goal. Both teams were attacking in different ways, Auchinleck preferring to go through the middle via Ferguson and Airlie, while Kilwinning opted for a wider approach with wingers Kyle Anderson and Graeme Malcolm dribbling and teasing the fullbacks.