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Five-star St Ninians triumph in Paisley Schools Final

St Ninians High School 5

Smith 18', 73', Fox 40' 55', Coyle 69'

Eastwood High School 1

McKenzie 13'
  • Friday, 05 June 2015
  • Mearns Castle High School
  • Under 15´s
  • Paisley Schools FA League Cup Final

Steven Mair | YFS West Region Journalist
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | [email protected]

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.

  • Half Time:
  • St Ninians High School
  • 1-1
  • Eastwood High School

The second half began with chances for both sides. Roan Fitzpatrick fired just wide of the left post for St Ninians before Eastwood number 11 Lennon Houston’s cross flashed across goal. However, for the team in black it was just too far for Keenan Campbell to reach.

But it was not long before St Ninians completed their comeback. The persistence of Reilly on the by-line paid off as he squeezed his way through two Eastwood defenders. His subsequent chip to the back post set up Fox for a simple header from point blank range.

St Ninians were determined to put the game to bed and several chances followed. Coyle was sent through on goal but the pass forced him wide and his high finish ended up being a let off for Eastwood. Shortly after, Coyle pounced on a loose ball inside the box but again could not keep the shot down.

The goal had changed the game completely and Eastwood were like dogs on a leash, rarely let out their half by St Ninians’ relentless pressing game - a tactic that led directly to their third goal. Reilly’s switch from winger to central midfield paid off as he won the ball 30 yards from goal before slipping it into the path of Fox. He made no mistake finishing high into the top left corner. It was the second time the two had combined for a goal and their celebratory embrace showed they were very close to winning the trophy.

However dominant his team proved to be, Coyle was so unlucky not to have notched a goal by this point. He read the game brilliantly in the 55th minute to reach Fox’s knockdown but an incredible save from Stoddard denied him a goal.

Another player who deserved a goal was Reilly. He had been called upon to play a variety of positions and after weaving in and out of the Eastwood defence managed a shot at goal. It struck the crossbar and came down to Fitzpatrick who also got in on the act, smacking the bar after an extravagant swivel volley.

  • Full Time:
  • St Ninians High School
  • 5-1
  • Eastwood High School

Lineups

St Ninians High School
Eastwood High School
1. Matthew Boyle
2. Alex MacDonald
3. Martin Cassells
4. Craig McKeegan
5. Declan Walsh
6. Ronan Fox
7. Ryan Donnelly
8. Matthew Reilly
9. Roan Fitzpatrick
10. Matthew Coyle
11. Lewis Smith
18. Umair Hussain
1. Ross Stoddard
2. Aaron Fraser
3. Callum James
4. Jason Stewart
5. Ryan Procter
6. Calum McMillan
7. Keenan Campbell
8. Ross McKenzie
9. Matthew Rae
10. Kyle Taylor
11. Lennon Houston
12. Robbie Walker
15. Callum Hughes
16. Adam Latif
17. Jack Christie
Star Player
St Ninians High School
Eastwood High School
Matthew Reilly - The midfielder swapped wings regularly and also played through the middle. Wherever he played he was effective at getting behind the defence and creating goals.
Calum McMillan - Produced a number of crucial blocks and also a big aerial presence.
Magic Moment
St Ninians High School
Eastwood High School
The ridiculous 50-yard solo run and finish from Lewis Smith to level the game was by far and away the pick of today's goals.
Despite being a tad scrappy, it was a brilliant moment when Eastwood took the lead.
Club Views
St Ninians High School
Eastwood High School
Giuseppe Capuano, St Ninians coach, said: "I think we played very well, Eastwood started well and got that goal, so there was a wee bit of panic at the start but we came into the game and dominated towards the end. There were some good goals as well so I'm happy with the result. I told the players to relax, play the way we always do. We have a great team here - this is the third year we've won this cup and last year as well we won the Scottish Cup so it's a very talented side."
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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