St Ninians High School were crowned winners of the Paisley and District Schools FA League Cup after a resounding victory over Eastwood at Mearns Castle.
Things started brightly for St Ninians as they probed their opponents’ back line, which led to some shaky moments for Eastwood. Lewis Smith’s inswinging corner from the left was narrowly headed wide by Declan Walsh before Matthew Reilly’s shot from a tight angle forced a superb reflex stop by Eastwood goalkeeper Ross Stoddard.
However despite the early pressure from St Ninians, it was Eastwood who broke the deadlock. An uncleared free kick from deep forced a stramash in the penalty area. The ball broke to Ross McKenzie who slammed it in from close range.
St Ninians were keen to bounce back quickly and came very close to equalising twice. Matthew Coyle received the ball from Reilly’s cutback and fired on the half volley - his effort however was met by the lunging calf of centre-back Calum McMillan. The ball then broke to Ronan Fox on the edge of the penalty area and his shot too was blocked by the resolute McMillan.
Then followed an absolutely outrageous equaliser, straight out of the books of Lionel Messi. Receiving the ball on the halfway line, Smith seemed to have the ball glued to his feet as he skinned three Eastwood players on his way to the edge of the box where he then produced a precise finish into the bottom right corner.
The first half petered out as both defences were on form. A couple of free kicks whipped into the box by St Ninians came to nothing due to ample organisation from the Eastwood defence.