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Five-goal frenzy as Garnock pip Greenwood to the cup

Garnock Academy 3

Sloan 7, Gray 33, Boyle 57

Greenwood Academy 2

Lennox 20, Gallone 31
  • Thursday, 08 June 2017
  • Townhead Park, Cumnock
  • Under 18´s
  • Ayrshire Schools FA Cup

Ryan Rowe | YFS South West Region Journalist & Bonnyton Thistle Reporter
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | [email protected]

Garnock Academy came out on top in a five-goal thriller to lift the Ayrshire Schools FA Cup, led from the back by a commanding performance from captain David Gray. 

Garnock opened the scoring early on with seven minutes on the clock, as Matthew Sloan evaded his marker rose high at the back post to meet a corner from the left. He connected with his head and sent the ball back down to earth and it bounced over the line and past Christopher Taylor in the Greenwood goal. Sloan very nearly doubled his account moments later as the winger went on a silky run down the left, leaving three Greenwood defenders in his wake.

Bursting from midway inside his opponent’s half he jinked his way into the box and managed to get enough backlift to pull the trigger form six yards. The ball slipped under Taylor but a terrific recovery from the quick-thinking Daniel Lennox as he rushed over to clear the ball off the line kept the score at 1-0.

Greenwood had been trying to catch their opponents out from set pieces, with corner kicks providing the main route to panic for Garnock. The Dreghorn side had been trying their luck with low, driven corners and eventually it paid off, third time lucky.

From a left-sided corner, Gray could only half-clear the initial ball in and from there it fell to Lennox, the same man who’d made that crucial clearance five minutes earlier. The centre half picked his head up and slotted it calmly into the net from the centre of the box, in the fashion of a veteran striker.

Garnock almost restored their lead immediately, and that end-to-end, to-and-fro nature would come to define the match as a whole. It was another set piece causing problems, this time a free kick on the left hand side.

The ball in caused havoc in the box but Stephen Crawford’s effort was parried away by the scrambling Taylor. The rebound fell to Sloan but he didn’t connect cleanly and the shot skiffed off his boot and away from danger.

Just after the half hour mark, as the game continued to unfold in back and forth fashion, Greenwood stormed in front. Clever footwork on the left wing by Jamie Cook freed up time and space for him to cross from the by-line, sensing the late arrival of Billy Gallone.

He took one touch to control and his second sent the ball towards goal and it looked destined to go in but a cruel deflection sent the ball the other way and made sure of it; Cameron King was left flummoxed at the opposite side of the goal.

But it was time for Gray to step up and lead. The centre back had been spraying delightful passes out from defence all game, and he had a chance to put that wand of a left foot to use in an attacking sense when his team won a free kick 25 yards out.

The captain produced an absolute stunner: it had pace and swerve and it curled away from Taylor, leaving him helpless. That goal meant that the Kilbirnie outfit were only behind for a grand total of two minutes and just before half time they could have made it a case of double trouble for Greenwood but the dangerous Sloan had his shot blocked by Taylor in the latest bout in their personal tussle. 


  • Half Time:
  • Garnock Academy
  • 2-2
  • Greenwood Academy

The second half wasn’t quite as breathless as the first, but it was still an enjoyable watch. The first chance fell to Garnock, with the momentum staying with them. Lee Salisbury blew past his marker and cut the ball back but Stephen Boyle’s effort was superbly tipped onto the post by Taylor.

Garnock had to wait eight minutes for their next sight of goal and again it fell to Boyle, and this time he made no mistake, drilling the ball across goal low and into the bottom corner from the right corner of the box. With a good 25 minutes left in the match there was still plenty to play for and a betting man would’ve found good money on there being no more goals, but that was how it turned out.

But it wasn’t due to lack of trying. Garnock’s Callum Ferguson came on and caused problems to Greenwood’s tiring defence and at the other end Billy McGinn, Jack Cummings and Gallone provided a three-pronged threat as they searched for an equaliser.

Gallone missed a sitter with 20 minutes left and there wasn’t another clear-cut chance, despite the late Greenwood onslaught, when Dario Nimmo turned on the edge and shaped to shoot, only to fire over. He clenched his fists and let out an angry bawl, sensing he may have blew his team’s last shot at an equaliser.

And that was how it turned out, and it was even more painful for Greenwood because their opponents missed a penalty when Boyle stepped up and couldn’t convert, but the Dreghorn boys couldn’t capitalise. In truth though, it was a deserved victory for Garnock, and a fair result on reflection. 


  • Full Time:
  • Garnock Academy
  • 3-2
  • Greenwood Academy


Garnock Academy
Greenwood Academy
1. Cameron King
2. Jake Jacobson
3. Callum Caig
4. David Gray
5. Jack Craig
6. Lewis Steel
7. Scott Brown
8. Lee Salisbury
9. Matthew Sloan
10. Ryan Brown
11. Stephen Boyle
12. Graeme Crawford
13. Josh Dillon
14. Zak Milan
15. Ross MacKenzie
16. Craig Fyfe
1. Christopher Taylor
2. Austin Gunn
3. Jason Stewart
4. Daniel Lennox
5. Owen Finnegan
6. Jamie Cook
7. Jack Cummings
8. Ryan Howat
9. Dario Nimmo
10. Billy Gallone
11. Billy McGinn
12. Liam Miller
13. Lewis Quigley
14. Leon Wallace
15. Reece Parrott
Star Player
Garnock Academy
Greenwood Academy
David Gray was strong in the tackle and made key interceptions throughout. Going forward he pinged passes all over the park and his free kick was brilliant
Christopher Taylor made a number of good saves and if not for him, this could've been out of sight.
Magic Moment
Garnock Academy
Greenwood Academy
David Gray's beautiful free-kick left onlookers stunned as it curled into the back of the net.
Matthew Sloan's bullet header to put Greenwood up in the early minutes of the game.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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