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West Park ease to cup glory

West Park United 3

Kennedy 40, Graham 46, McKinney 96

Calderhill Thistle 1

Conlon 69

Simon Ritchie | YFS West Region Reporter
Articles by Author | Contact Author

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.
Confidence boosted from the goal, the West Park players started the second half in terrific fashion, extending their lead immediately.
Graham latched on to the ball on the right wing before cutting inside, turning his marker inside-out and then rifling a shot just inside the goalkeeper’s near post.
Calderhill responded well and their main creative influence Jake Hughes played through substitute Stephen Cowan, who after doing well to hold off the defender was unable to get enough power behind the shot to trouble Callum McBain in the West Park goal.
Hughes did manage to set up a goal shortly after though. His long ball over the top found Jordon Conlon in space behind the defence and he showed good composure to finish low down to the keeper’s right with 20 minutes remaining.
The goal gave fresh encouragement to the Thistle players and supporters who still believed they could take something from the game. They changed to three at the back and pushed an extra man forward in a bid to get the equaliser but West Park managed to exploit the inevitable gaps in defence.
Substitute Jordan Thompson forced his way down the right wing, cutting inside past several Thistle defenders and managed to get a shot off that McCrory could only parry out to the unmarked Jamie McKinney. He slotted home the rebound, restoring West Park’s two-goal lead and ending the game as a contest.
The final whistle blew shortly after to the delight of the Bishopbriggs side who are deserving winners of the West of Scotland 21s YFL League Cup and will hope it boosts their league challenge.
Calderhill Thistle will be heartened by the effort shown to get back into the game from 2-0 down and they performed well in spells against a team placed much higher in the league, but the cup belongs to West Park.


West Park United
Calderhill Thistle
1. Callum McBain
2. Ross Barclay
3. Paul Coyle
4. Ben Collins
6. Ryan Conville
7. Michael Milarvie
8. Dylan Kennedy
9. Steffan Graham
10. Jamie McKinney
11. Ryan Jack
12. Craig Connelly
16. Josh Gorman
17. Darren Punter
18. Connor McGregor
25. Jordan Thompson
26. Taylor Kelly
1. Robbie McCrory
2. Craig Laing
3. Scott Hamilton
4. Chris Forbes
5. Michael Dorris
6. Scott Jannaway
7. Steven Seaton
8. Jake Hughes
9. James Faughan
10. Jordon Conlon
11. Matthew Coghill
12. Matthew Brady
14. Stephen Cowan
16. Nick Aitchison
17. Darren Hunter
18. Stephen McCann
Star Player
West Park United
Calderhill Thistle
Any of the West Park forwards could have claimed the award but Ryan Jack, playing in a free-role behind the attackers and constantly drifting from left to right making it impossible for the Calderhill Thistle players to keep him in check, was the driving force behind most of West Park's good play.
Jake Hughes in the middle of the park for Calderhill was both solid in the tackle and also their main creative outlet. He got the assist his performance deserved.
Magic Moment
West Park United
Calderhill Thistle
The opening goal came at the end of a trying half for West Park who would have felt unfortunate to not already be ahead, however the frustration didn't show on the players, particularly Steffan Graham who when played through on goal by Ryan Jack was composed and unselfish enough to lay the ball off for Dylan Kennedy rather than shoot himself. This pass took the goalkeeper out of the game and gave Kennedy a simple finish which he took well.
Despite being 2-0 down the Calderhill Thistle didn't stop fighting and it paid off when Jake Hughes's searching ball over the top found Jordon Conlon in space behind the West Park defence and he coolly slotted home to reduce the deficit and give Calderhill a chance.
Club Views
West Park United
Calderhill Thistle

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