Glenvale AFC Under 16s are set to face Spartans in the SYFA Cup final for the second successive year after comfortably dispatching Hillwood in the semi-finals on Sunday.
Glenvale hit seven past Hillwood in a commanding win to reach May’s cup final, due to be held at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadium.
Hillwood kicked off on a chilly afternoon at Parklea but it was Glenvale who enjoyed the better start to the game. The Paisley side dominated possession during the opening exchanges and won a few corners, where they highlighted their effectiveness from set pieces.
It was from one of their corners that John Cumming opened the day’s scoring with around nine minutes on the clock. Jack Smith floated in a delivery towards the back post from the right and found Cameron Crooks waiting. Hillwood keeper James Burns parried Crooks’ header but the ball fell invitingly for Cumming, who poked the ball home from close range to give his side an early lead.
Vale came close to doubling their advantage minutes later, again from a corner. This time Smith played a low ball towards the edge of the box, spotting centre forward Rhys Best McDonald’s late run towards goal. The striker fired a low shot at goal but Burns smothered his shot well.
Best McDonald looked up for the game and was heavily involved in Hillwood’s next opportunity. The forward picked up the ball on the right of the Glenvale attack and charged down the wing, beating two Hillwood defenders in the process. He then teed up Aaron McDonald but his shot flew harmlessly over the bar.
With 25 minutes on the clock Fraser Lee then extended Glenvale’s lead to two. A long ball over the top reached Brian Connor, who thundered down the left wing towards goal. Connor squared the ball with a lovely outside-of-the-boot pass to Lee, who took a touch before calmly placing the ball in the bottom corner.
The Hillwood players struggled to create chances in this period, finding Glenvale’s defence particularly stubborn and difficult to break down.
Seven minutes later, it was three. Crooks was played in down the right and fashioned a one-on-one against Burns before he showed great composure to roll the ball past the onrushing keeper and into the Hillwood net.
Glenvale continued to press for a fourth goal with Best McDonald looking particularly dangerous, but the striker was unable to find the net despite going close on more than one occasion.
Vale would grab a fourth before halftime however, with the Paisley side once again taking advantage of their set piece abilities. Smith fired in a cross towards Harry Pittaway at the back post, where a simple tap in was all that was required to extend their lead to four.
The referee then called time on a superb first-half performance from Glenvale.