Barrhead YFC ran out emphatic 8-1 winners at Cowan Park over Hillwood BC. Doubles from Anthony Phillips and Cameron Stewart, a hat-trick for Connor Bolger and a late finish from substitute Dean McLaughlin sent Barrhead through to the next round of the David Mushet Cup. A second-half penalty from Dale Barrett was Hillwood’s only consolation.
The game was rather slow to start. Both defences attempted to establish themselves as immovable in the first 20 minutes. Barrhead’s first try at goal came from a set-piece: a corner curled in from the right made it panic stations in the Hillwood box, and in the end Stewart’s effort produced a great save from Mark Adams in goal.
Shortly after, Hillwood created their first chance of the game. Barrett picked the ball up in midfield and produced an inventive ball over the top to Kieran Lockhart, however the number 11 was skilfully forced wide by Cynan Mackie and his shot was spurned wide of the post.
Mackie then came from defence into attack, weaving his way through several Hillwood defenders before finessing a shot towards the top-right corner; however Adams made another great save diving to his left. Just after, Thomas Kane struck the crossbar with a long-range effort. The rebound was tucked in by Phillips but the number two was judged to be offside.
Barrhead broke the deadlock midway through the first half. The raw pace and fluid dribbling of Kyle Elrick took him away from the attentions of the Hillwood defence. This allowed him to whip in a powerful cross which was too difficult for the defenders to deal with and the ball fell kindly to the alert Phillips who prodded in from close range.
Three minutes later Barrhead snatched a quick second. Bolger’s slick Zidane turn on the edge of the box created space for Stewart on the left. The winger raced to the by-line and his incisive finish from a tight angle escaped the late clearance attempt by Hillwood’s defence and trickled into the net.
Barrhead were unrelenting and a minute later Stewart added a third. Pressing the Hillwood players straight from kick-off, Barrhead won the ball in midfield and distributed it to the left wing where they had found joy seconds before. Stewart picked it up on 18 yards and lashed it high beyond Adams, kissing the crossbar on its way in.
Hillwood were stunned by the sudden momentum change and there was more to come from the home side who added a fourth on 30 minutes. Thomas MacRae picked up the ball in the centre circle and threaded the ball through to Bolger, who carried the ball slightly to the left before an emphatic finish low off the post.
Barrhead were absolutely flying now, dominating possession yet moving the ball with purpose at the same time. Their fifth came right before half time from a set piece: a back-post delivery nodded home by Phillips for his second of the game.