Trinity High School Rutherglen emerged victorious from a fascinating cup semi final against Duncanrig Secondary who simply refused to be beaten, battling right until the end to remain in the competition. Ultimately it was the clinicalness in which Trinity took their goals married with diligent defending that saw them through to the final.
It was a beautiful sunny evening at K Park, East Kilbride where a healthy crowd of enthusiastic supporters had gathered to watch two teams that had both been prolific scorers on route to this stage. A close affair was predicted but goals were also expected given some of the players on show. Both teams contributed fully to the occasion and were able to utilise the impressive 3G surface to showcase their abilities fully. Given how the game transpired it was perhaps surprising that the opening ten minutes or so of action served up very little. As there often are on such occasions there was nervousness in each team and a number of passes went astray. Trinity’s Zak Moynes had the first real effort in the tenth minute but his left footed effort was easily saved by Lewis Edgar in the Duncanrig goal.
Just a minute later however the game really livened up as Duncanrig were awarded a penalty for a handball in the Trinity box. Captain Marc Kane stepped up to take it and he very calmly slotted the ball past Paul Monaghan who dived the right way but was unable to prevent the powerful effort going past him. Kane celebrated as anybody that has scored a goal of importance should and the vocal support of his schoolmates could likely be heard throughout South Lanarkshire. It was Trinity who were jubilant just two minutes later however as they fashioned a quick fire equaliser. Dylan Henry burst into the box, his perseverance rewarded with a break of the ball in front of goal which he took full advantage of to slot home. Those that have watched Henry in action before would not have been surprised to see him finish in such clinical manner.
The impressive Jack Morton fired an effort wide for Duncanrig before Trinity moved two one ahead. This time it was Luke Reilly who slotted home from inside the box after the ball broke to him. The Trinity midfield were pressing constantly and not allowing Duncanrig any time to settle. This was putting pressure on the back-line and the Trinity forwards were showing little forgiveness by finishing any chances that did come their way. However Duncanrig should have equalised in the twenty third minute when Euan Aitken found himself clear in front of goal after good link up play between Morton and Mark McKenzie who was starting to assert himself on the game. Aitken was greeted by the on rushing Monaghan who did well to save his initial attempt and also the follow up effort.
Any signs of hope Duncanrig took from this passage of play looked like they had been extinguished just minutes later when Henry scored a goal of real quality on the counter attack. He broke very quickly down the right into the box and rifled home a shot from the angle. There were suggestions about whether it was a cross or a shot but the benefit of the doubt has to be given in this instance. Regardless of the intent the way Trinity broke was impressive and they now found themselves three one up and already dreaming of the final. Henry was involved in everything at this point, his ability to drop deep and time runs from this position causing Duncanrig real problems. He had another volleyed effort go high over the bar as he looked to seal a first half hat trick.
Led by McKenzie and Morton however Duncanrig got themselves right back into the game just before half time. A superbly weighted pass from Gavin McKirdy was taken by Morton in his stride who then showed no hesitation in slotting the ball past Monaghan. It was an ideally timed strike and one that Morton had been threatening for much of the first half. You could feel the belief flowing back through Duncanrig but they were lucky not to find themselves 4-2 down at half time when Trinity’s Declan McDonald went on a great, weaving run, muscling his way past several players. The only thing missing however was the finish and after stepping inside he blasted the ball over the bar. The half time whistle blew and this gave the opportunity for both sides and those watching to take a well earned breather.