South West Region (93)
The campaign for Summer football was in full swing on a sun-drenched evening at Kilwinning Sports Club as these two sides served up a match of last-minute drama. Rovers held the slight edge in the second half, before Galston rallied with a sensational last-minute equaliser to force extra time. As penalties loomed, KSC then secured the trophy in a grandstand finish with the very last kick of the ball.
It was a game that on the balance of chances created KSC just about merited, but the Galston side can look back at a spirited effort in which they never gave up. They had their opponents rocking at the end of normal time and may have snatched it had the game gone on just a few minutes longer.
KSC enjoyed the bulk of the early first-half pressure, with a couple of tidy runs from Liam Larmour and Thomas Johnston testing Regan Menzies' handling skills in the opening quarter of an hour. The high pressing game continued to keep Galston in their own half, seeking to force mistakes and capitalise on loose balls. Jared Peacock went on another run through on 19 minutes, shooting straight at Menzies.
Galston were being denied space to allow midfielders Dylan Johnston and Kyle Lennon to influence the game and ply the ball around. Instead they found a few half chances from the direct approach, with Cameron Orr almost finding Luke Ballantine in the box from a couple of long balls. Ballantine was almost through on goal on 29 minutes but for a last-ditch tackle.
Larmour passed up a golden opportunity for KSC on the half, driving just over from a corner kick, as KSC continued to enjoy the bulk of the midfield play. Just on half time though Galston almost caught them napping as Connor Montgomerie just held onto Ballantine's header from a Loudon Strachan free kick.
Sadly someone had to lose this breathless end-to-end Ayrshire Schools Cup Final at Dam Park. In the end it took something special to separate the sides, and it arrived two minutes from time, courtesy of a spectacular Sean McLeod free kick and hat trick to secure the trophy for Marr.
It will have hurt Greenwood to lose in this fashion, but they will reflect on a match in which they gave their all until the very last, and which was lost to a fine strike, rather than to the lottery of a penalty shoot-out.
The game began at a frantic pace, which kept up for 90 minutes. Marr were immediately on the front foot, as midfielders Craig McGuffie and McLeod sought to dictate the play in the Greenwood half.
McGuffie had a couple of early shots as Marr continued to press, and sure enough they were rewarded with an opener on nine minutes. A free kick was awarded 30 yards from goal, and McLeod gave us a first sight of his dead-ball expertise, crashing the ball past Smith to give Marr the lead.
Marr had a spring in their step, with McLeod, McGuffie and Jamie Martin making all the early running, and could have added to their advantage four minutes later as Evan Maley shot wide.
It took Greenwood until 20 minutes to find their feet, having weathered the early storm. Ben Black and Mark Curragh provided a good platform up front, with Black forcing a save from Matthew Ellis from close range. Two minutes later Curragh had his side level.
A corner from the left was half cleared to the Greenwood striker, lurking inside the area, who made himself space to shoot through a crowded box and into Ellis’ far corner.
Greenwood surged forward with confidence as the game now raged from end to end. Curragh and Black’s runs were proving tricky for Marr’s defence to track. Daniel Storrie almost restored Marr’s lead on 28 minutes, and McGuffie had a go from a long-range free kick which crashed against the crossbar two minutes later.
Chances came and went for both sides as an action packed half came to an end, with Curragh and Black coming close for Greenwood, and Storrie shooting just wide for Marr. The sides went in level but somehow having scored just two goals, as players and spectators got a chance to catch their breath.
Caledonian United cruised to victory over Irvine Meadow to lift the Age 16 CAYFA league cup at Kilwinning Sports Club. After a tight opening half, and just the one goal between the sides, Caley eventually ran out convincing winners after a fine second half display.
The match was nevertheless a real contest for the opening half, and Irvine may wonder what might have been had they not passed up a golden opportunity to take the lead on the half hour. Thereafter Caley took control of the game, with Alistair Boyle pulling the strings in midfield and rounding victory with a sensational fourth goal.
Both sides showed great purpose and energy from the start, pushing forward. Mitchell Ewing had Caley’s first chance on five minutes, as Boyle threaded a ball through for the striker to fire just over.
Irvine provided a threat from the set piece. A good delivery from the left by Liam Fitzsimonds found Jack Roddenn at the far post, who headed just wide on 15 minutes. Roddenn was again found by a free kick from Jamie Cook a few minutes later, but was just unable to connect with his header.
Caley tried to get things going with Ryan Strain down the right, and Boyle running things from midfield. Finding a yard of space the midfielder fired just over from outside the box on 25 minutes. Kyle McDiarmid came close soon after as Caley tried to get their noses in front.
Irvine were still getting into some good positions in the Caley half, and passed up the chance of the game on 32 minutes. David Cherry laid the ball through the middle for Kieran Struthers with the goal at his mercy, but he could only shoot over the bar.
Both sides were coming closer, and Caley had a great chance on 40 minutes, as Ewing slipped Strain through to round Meadow keeper Greg Connor. Only a goal line clearance by Jamie Lambert kept the scores level.
But right on half time Caley were in front. From a free kick from the right Boyle centred for McDiarmid to head in at the far post for the Caley breakthrough.
KSC Town’s dream season continued, as they celebrated victory over Troon Thistle in the Age 17 League Cup final at Kilwinning Sports Club. Troon had won at KSC on league business a month ago, and so came up against opponents with a score to settle.
Cheered on by a vociferous home support, KSC came from behind to make success all the sweeter, with a stand-out second-half performance from striker Jack Ewing a big factor in the end result.
This did not seem the likely outcome for the opening 20 minutes, as Troon began the match confidently, winning a lot of possession in the KSC half. After Fraser Russell fired just wide from a left hand cross after just two minutes, his side were in front three minutes later.
A right corner was swung into the box and Daniel Storrie leapt above the defence to head past James Sinclair. Was this to be deja vu from the league match?
Thistle continued to enjoy a good spell after the opener, winning a series of corners from which the twin aerial threat of Storrie and Mark Curragh provided the main danger. Andrew McCall almost extended their lead, firing just over on 15 minutes.
KSC were slowly getting out of their blocks, with breaks upfield through Ben Black and Cammy Thomson. Thomson just skimmed the bar on 21 minutes with a cross come shot, as the home support shouted their encouragement.
The game’s turning point came on 26 minutes, as KSC levelled from the spot. Thomson was brought down in the box and Alan Murphy stepped up to fire home the penalty.
It seemed to give KSC confidence as they went forward more fluently through Black and Thomson, with tireless running from Ewing always providing options up front.
Both sides had chances before the break, with Black firing just over for KSC on 35 minutes, and Troon’s Owen Murphy flashing Storrie’s cross just past the post on 41 minutes.
Crosshouse Athletic celebrated trophy success in the Age 14 Supplementary Cup final, but they were made to battle all the way by a spirited Tass Thistle United at Kilwinning Sports Club.
Owen McGinty’s two first half goals seemed to have given his side one hand on the cup, but Tass fought back through Reiss Paterson’s goal of the game. It was only late in the second half that Reece O’Connor’s goal wrapped up cup glory for Crosshouse.
Crosshouse began on the front foot, keeping possession and stretching the Tass defence. On four minutes O’Connor headed just over from Ong Duff’s cross, before William Nelson tested Tass keeper Crawford Kenefick with a routine save.
After 11 minutes McGinty got his shooting boots on, as two free kicks were awarded in quick succession just outside the box. His first shot flashed just wide of Keneflick’s right hand post, but this only served to sharpen his eye for his next effort, one minute later. This time McGinty looped a shot high beyond Keneflick to give Crosshouse the early lead.
Going behind seemed to shake Tass in life, as they went forward in search of an immediate leveller. On 15 minutes Greg Kean put Kieran McMillan through down and the left and his shot was well parried by Rian Smith, who then tipped Jamie Grant’s shot from the rebound just over.
The match became a midfield scrap, with both sides competing for the upper hand. Crosshouse’s second goal on 31 minutes instead bypassed the midfield as a long goal line clearance from Smith put McGinty clean through on goal.
Showing great control and composure the young striker ran through to chip past Keneflick and put his side seemingly in control of the tie.
Bonnyton Thistle have won the Central Ayrshire Supplementary Cup after a 4-0 victory over West Kilbride 99s.
Thistle took the game by the scruff of the neck in the early stages, with Ciaran Perry capitalising on a loose header to run through on Ross Jack in the West Kilbride goal. The keeper made a good save and forced Perry out to the byline where he managed to get in a cross to the back post for Callum Ramsey who almost opened the scoring but for a good defensive block.
Ramsey was involved again shortly after, playing through Owen McGhee who took the ball round Jack, but finding himself too wide to shoot, he retained his composure and passed back across goal to Perry who scuffed his shot just wide.
Involved in everything good that Bonnyton were doing, Ramsey had to watch as his shot from just inside the box was deflected narrowly over the bar by the covering Liam Cunningham.
It was Bonnyton with the pressure and chances but they were just missing that killer touch. It arrived halfway through the first period when a tough Callum Boyle tackle turned into a great through ball for Perry. He cut inside, beat two men into the box and unselfishly laid it off for McGhee who stroked it into the bottom corner to open the scoring.
West Kilbride cannot have many complaints as they were struggling to deal with Bonnyton’s pace up front and it was that pace that led to the second goal of the game moments later. Jamie Knight released Perry and this time he took it on his own and, bearing down on Jack, stayed calm to finish past the goalkeeper’s left.
With Bonnyton pushing for the third, West Kilbride had Christopher Stillie to thank for clearing Knight’s header off the line from a corner. But it was only a brief respite as Bonnyton scored an excellent goal to make it 3-0.It was all about McGhee who first produced a silky turn to create the space then put Perry through on the goalkeeper with a no-look reverse pass that took the defence out of the game. Perry took the chance with aplomb, burying it in the top corner.
That was the end of the scoring in the first half, much to the relief of West Kilbride who were desperate to regroup and try again. The Bonnyton attack were causing a lot of problems and it was almost one-way traffic, particularly down the wings where their pace was devastating West Kilbride.