Goals either side of half-time helped West Park United claim a comfortable 3-1 victory over Calderhill Thistle in the West of Scotland 21s YFL Cup Final.
West Park went into the match as favourites following their 4-1 victory over Thistle in the league, and were also buoyed by their semi-final victory over bogey team St Mirren to get to this stage.
Conditions couldn’t have been better as West Park kicked off the game in glorious sunshine at the Clyde Gateway Stadium in Rutherglen and they started the game just as brightly with Calderhill goalkeeper Robbie McCrory having his post to thank for keeping out Craig Connolly’s header from Dylan Kennedy’s corner.
Calderhill struggled to get a foothold in the early stages of the game and it was West Park who had the early momentum.
Steffan Graham ran on to Darren Punter’s through ball and his long range effort brought out a good save from McCrory who tipped it round the post.
The resulting corner almost brought the breakthrough for West Park but Josh Gorman’s diving header was cleared off the line by a well-positioned Jake Hughes.
Thistle’s first chance of the game fell to striker James Faughan who chased down a ball over the top of the defence but he lost his footing under pressure from Craig Connelly and the opportunity was gone.
Faughan linked up with teammate Steven Seaton moments later on the left wing to fashion a cross into the box but unfortunately for Thistle there was no one there to capitalise.
Faughan was again involved when he volleyed brilliantly into the back of the net but the assistant referee's flag denied Thistle the opening goal.
The offside flag was a frustrating feature throughout the game for Thistle who couldn't seem to get their timing right against a well organised West Park defence.
Thistle’s McCrory was undoubtedly the busier of the two goalkeepers and he was called into action to save Connor McGregor’s goalbound header following great wing play from Ryan Jack.
Jack, who was a constant menace throughout the game, skilfully beat two players on the left-wing before sending in an inch-perfect cross to McGregor who must have thought he’d opened the scoring until McCrory flung himself to his left and clawed the ball out with the save of the match.
However, West Park could smell the opening goal was coming and it duly arrived following more good play from Jack.
Popping up in the middle of the park he played Graham in behind the Thistle defence and the striker unselfishly laid the ball off to Dylan Kennedy to slot home from a tight angle.
It was a deserved lead for West Park only five minutes before half time and they could have stretched it further before the break but Punter’s free-kick struck the inside of the post and rolled agonisingly across the line and out.