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Caley comeback sparks hard-fought cup win over Killie rivals

Caledonian Thistle 2

Smith 47, Milligan 51

Bonnyton Thistle 1

Reid 15
  • Saturday, 01 March 2014
  • Caley Park
  • Under 14´s
  • BFM Cup

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

Caledonian Thistle fought back from 1-0 down to beat Kilmarnock rivals Bonnyton Thistle in the Under 14s BFM Cup on Saturday.
The Prestwick side battled past a dominant Bonnyton side for most of the game with a dogged display filled with hunger, desire and ten minutes of ruthlessness.
 
Jack Reid put Bonnyton ahead from the spot before Travis Smith equalised for Caley with a penalty of their own.
 
Kieron Milligan sneaked in behind to snatch the winner minutes later and fifth-placed Caley held on against third-placed Thistle for the cup win despite a Bonnyton barrage in the closing stages.
 
The match kicked off on a glorious sunny morning with both teams coming out firing to match the weather. Bonnyton were the first to test the opposing goalkeeper when winger Stewart Masterton latched onto a through ball on the left hand side from Jack Reid. The midfielder’s first touch was superb and it took him across the defender and inside the box but James Edgar smothered the shot.
 
On 14 minutes the away side created their second chance after pressing their opponents high up the pitch. Cammy Neilson picked up a loose ball on the left wing 10 yards from the by-line and drove into the box only to be tripped as he shaped to shoot. The referee blew to the spot.
 
This meant that with Bonnyton’s second chance of the game they had a penalty and the chance to go 1-0 up. Captain Jack Reid stepped and dispatched coolly into the bottom left hand corner of the box for his second goal in two games.
 
Caledonian continually looked dangerous on the break though with their direct style as Travis Smith and David Banks formed a formidable brawn and brain duo at the back. Kieron Milligan’s pace up front was also proving testing for the Bonnyton back four and this combination would later bear fruit.
 
Meanwhile, Bonnyton continued to push on to try and gain a two-goal advantage and Reid’s cross-come-shot from the edge of the area was almost nipped in at the back post by Jamie Quigley but the right winger could not connect and the ball rolled out for a goal kick. Quigley in particular was playing well out wide right with his dribbling skills.
 
Caley’s home defence continually intercepted a lot of through balls in the final third, with the back line’s defensive coaching clearly paying off; Edgar was having a superb game between the sticks also, snuffing out every shot that came his way.
 
Caley had two chances just before the end of the first period either side of a Blair Kennedy shot for Bonnyton going wide from 14 yards as Milligan squeezed in between two Bonnyton defenders inside the penalty area to the left of the six yard box before volleying a shot at Michael Murray who saved down low to his right and then a shot from an angle at long range hit the side netting.
  • Half Time:
  • Caledonian Thistle
  • 0-1
  • Bonnyton Thistle
The second half started with Bonnyton trying to make up for their missed chances in the first 45 while Caley pushed higher and higher up the park and began to enjoy more spells in possession. They disrupted Bonnyton’s passing game and the ingenuity of Banks at the back and his team-mate Milligan’s pace up top begun to take control after the opening exchanges.
 
Milligan showed his drive, pace and trickiness as he won his team a penalty following an ill-timed sliding challenge in the box 12 minutes into the second half. Smith stepped up and slotted the ball home calmly to the delight of the home fans who now had something to cheer about after holding out the visitors for so long.
 
That wasn’t all they had to cheer about.
 
Caley didn’t let up after that goal and four minutes later they grabbed a second goal through Kieron Milligan. The attacker more than deserved his goal and it would prove to be the all-important winner. A throw in on Caley’s left-hand side was flicked on and Milligan punced onto the bouncing ball and swiftly took it under control. He darted inside from the wing with the ball at his feet and after advancing 15 yards and into the box he shaped his body and stroked the ball home with confident composure past Murray’s left-hand post.
 
Bonnyton had just less than 20 minutes to notch an equaliser and with the sun still scorching Caley were able to sit deep and block every attempt that Bonnyton manufactured. Such was the effectiveness of the home team’s tactics they barely even allowed Bonnyton to create many clear-cut opportunities. Their lack of cutting edge had been punished and now they were chasing an equaliser just to stay in the tie.
 
Kennedy had the best chance for Bonnyton as he raced through on goal with only one defender for company but Banks did his job to force the midfielder into an early shot off a through ball through the middle and Edgar rushed out to stop the effort.
 
Edgar and his back four were also to thank for keeping out Neilson, Reid and sub Jamie Hamilton later on in the game as the boys in yellow and black looked to hold on for a massive win, following their 3-1 defeat in the league earlier in the season.
 
Bonnyton continued to drive forward at every opportunity but it looked as if their lack of a crucial finish was coming back to haunt them on this day and Caley’s defence proved were stuffy and hard to break down.
 
With Reid just about to line up another ball into the Caley area the ref blew for full time and the home players rejoiced with each other and flung their hands into the air before all shook hands. The Prestwick side had showed they wanted the win and they were joyous come full time on 70 minutes.
 
While the home side were efficient at the back and hard-working across the field, Bonnyton were left to rue not being clinical enough, particularly in the first half. Nonetheless this was a very good game of football and onlookers agreed. For a pitch that barely held out due to the week’s rain and was only playable thanks to a patch of sun, there was a lot of attractive football, both on the ground and through the air at times.
 
While neutrals would have liked the game - played in good fighting spirits too and refereed very well – Bonnyton players and fans would have hated it. And Caley fans and players would have loved it.
 
This was a game played on a typically Scottish park in not-so-typical Scottish sun - which produced naturally Scottish dirt and sweat at the end! And, perhaps, a bit of blood and tears.
 
Caley now march on to the semi final of the BFM Cup whereas Bonnyton are left in the Barr Homes Cup and sit third in the league.
  • Full Time:
  • Caledonian Thistle
  • 2-1
  • Bonnyton Thistle

Lineups

Caledonian Thistle
Bonnyton Thistle

1. James Edgar
2. David Banks
4. Jake Gourlay
6. John Watson
8. Fraser McLean
9. Jamie McCLung
10. Craig Davidson
11. Taylor Stevenson
12. Andrew Banks
14. Kieron Milligan
20. Ross Gray
25. Travis Smith (C)
16.Jacob Kelly
17. Chris Mexon
18. Alex Hull

1. Michael Murray
2. Blair Kennedy
4. Jamie Hamilton
5. Andrew Templeton
7. Matthew Mottram
8. Jack Reid (C)
9. Jamie Quigley
10. Callum Robertson
17. Stewart Masterton
18. Lewis McCabe
19. Brandon Johnstone
20. Cammy Neilson
22. James Johnstone
23. Charlie Reid

Star Player
Caledonian Thistle
Bonnyton Thistle
James Edgar and Kieron Milligan were both match winners today and David Banks was excellent too but if you took any of those three away, the most costly would have been Edgar. He was almost unbeatable.
Jamie Quigley was arguably the best player on the park in the first half with his run's down the wing but Jack Reid worked really hard in midfield all the way through the game and had the composure to put Bonnyton ahead from the spot.
Magic Moment
Caledonian Thistle
Bonnyton Thistle
The winning goal. Milligan pounced like a cheetah onto the loose ball from the throw in and drove with directness and finished with aplomb.
One of Jamie Quigley's runs or Jack Reid's through balls to Stewart Masterton woul've won the day for Bonnyton and they also played a lot of neat one/two-touch football in the middle of the park.
Club Views
Caledonian Thistle
Bonnyton Thistle
Ryan Wales, Coach of Bonnyton Thistle said "We were unlucky."
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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