Gartcairn Academy lifted the Only Sport League Cup after seeing off a spirited Greenock HSFP side on Sunday afternoon in Glasgow.
The Airdrie side raced into an early lead and managed to see the game out, withstanding some heavy late pressure to win the match 4-2.
Gartcairn kicked off the match on a clear but chilly afternoon at New Tinto Park but the game’s first chance fell to Greenock after four minutes.
Greenock won a free kick on the right corner of the box and Robbie McAlpine stepped up to hit it. The full back curled a low shot around the wall but Gartcairn keeper Scott Matthews held the ball well.
Gartcairn then went close to opening the scoring after Luke Kelly demonstrated some neat footwork to release Craig Wright, but the striker was denied by the onrushing Andrew Todd, the Greenock goalie.
Then, with six minutes played, Gartcairn took the lead. Wright chased a pass back to Todd and was rewarded for his persistence when the keeper hesitated on the ball. Todd eventually attempted to clear the ball upfield, but by then it was too late. Wright got in the way of the kick and the ball looped into the Greenock net.
Just two minutes later Greenock came within inches of levelling the scores. Kwame Antoine collected the ball at the far post and was ushered to the edge of the box by the Gartcairn defence. Antoine then produced a phenomenal piece of improvisation, chipping the ball up for himself before firing the ball into the box via an overhead kick. Craig Boyd reached it for Greenock, but his header was too tame and was easily saved.
Then, with 10 minutes on the clock, Gartcairn doubled their advantage. Wright collected the ball in the Greenock box with his back to goal before being tackled from behind by Todd. The referee blew for a penalty, which was comfortably dispatched by Josh Moore.
Greenock then upped the intensity in a bid to pull a goal back and were rewarded within six minutes. Boyd floated a corner towards the back post, where Antoine headed back across goal. Kieran Hendry struck the ball, which took a few deflections, before bouncing into the Gartcairn net.
The game became very tight at this stage, with both sides cancelling each other out in the middle of the park.
Wright then grabbed his second and his team’s third. Moore played a fantastic first-time pass from the right of midfield that split the Greenock defence wide open and sent Wright scampering through for a one-on-one. Todd rushed off his line to stop him, but it was too late. Wright fortunately got the break of the ball and rounded the keeper before rolling the ball into the empty net.
At 3-1, Greenock struggled to retain possession and their high line always looked vulnerable, as Gartcairn were more than happy to attempt to hit their opponents on the break.
Kelly went close to extending Gartcairn’s lead further when he thundered down the left wing, driving at goal, but Todd did well to parry Kelly’s effort wide.
McAlpine came close to reducing the deficit when he struck a free kick from an almost identical position as his first effort. This time, he curled a powerful shot over the wall but Matthews was equal to it.
Greenock were then denied a penalty of their own when Boyd attempted to round Matthews and was brought to the floor, but the referee ruled that the keeper had won the ball.
With the first half drawing to a close there was still time for one last goal for Gartcairn Academy. Some neat passing, twinned with good movement, eventually saw left back Calum Rodger released down the wing. Rodger used all of his pace and his strength to drive into the box before coolly slotting the ball into the bottom corner.