It was a tense and nervy final at Toryglen, Holyrood Secondary took on Bannerman High in the Castle Cup. Both teams knew it would be a big task today and you could tell form kick off the lads were right up for it.
Holyrood seized the initiative from the get go, Michael Welridge and James McDonald caused terror for the full backs. Blistering pace and quick passing let them get in behind twice, only for Bannerman’s defensive duo of Tom McCabe and Lee Adens out-muscled the defenders both times.
Andrew Paulley found himself ten yards from goal with the ball at his feet only for Holyrood’s own defensive bulwark Danny McGeever to slide in and block the devastating square ball he attempted.
McDonald cut in off the left wing for Holyrood; a brilliant little touch set him up for a curling shot that could only find the side netting.
McDonald was again the instigator for the next move where he beat three men on the right side, a quick cross searched for Alexander Mundy but the attempted Ronaldo heroics lacked enough power to put the blues in front.
Mundy sprang to life again a moment later, running through to pounce on a lovely ball sent forward by Joseph Cannon. Mundy took it first time firing off a low drive to the far bottom corner but Mark Petifier has safe hands and dives quick to triumph on the one v one.
Holyrood were really ramping up the pressure, a strong opening was being built upon as they kept on pressing the Bannerman blacks. The back four stood strong under the leadership of Tom McCabe, but it Petifier who was commanding the 18yard box in a completely professional manner. Time and again he collected from crosses provided by Holyrood’s dead ball maestro Mark Docherty. He also went about denying several tempting killer balls with his speed off the line.
Bannerman were all about the break in the opening, looking for pacey Paul Harvey and Ruairdh Anderson’s creativity. It looked to be on the verge of paying off; a quick clearance to Paulley was sent up to Anderson, who took one touch by his man into space. It looked like Blair Stewart’s sticks were about to be rocked until McGeever slid into his side and took him down. It was a painful tackle but a smart foul to concede and he must have felt he had to do it.
Another counter break for Bannerman High after Tom McCabe single handedly shut down Holyrood’s attack. He fed through Harvey only for Holyrood to dispossess the blacks and counter; Welridge sprinting by Reiss Hamilton, forcing the right back to concede a dangerous free kick.
Docherty’s cross pierced a Bannerman defence that completely turned off; McDonald chased down the bounce and it was down to the man of the moment Petifier to dart in and snatch it from his feet.
Bannerman’s back four looked formidable but Holyrood must have smelled blood after the brief display of weakness.
The sides went into the break deservedly level, the game having been end to end for the first forty minutes. Holyrood fans will have been delighted at the performances of McDonald and Welridge whilst the supporters in the black will have been proud of Anderson and Harvey’s threat on the counter attack. Both defences were rock solid however; Kyle Connor held the fort for Holyrood - a solid anchor in his holding midfield role. Whilst the centre back McCabe was in for a shout of Man of the Match at this point.