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t was a mildly hot day at Petershill Park as the Scottish champions Antonine looked to secure a treble against a very strong Barrhead side. Antonine took the lead in the eighteenth minute when left midfielder Ryan Forrester cut inside and fired home an absolute rocket which sailed into the top right hand corner from twenty-five yards out. 
 
Barrhead then began to put a lot of pressure on the Antonine defence but were not rewarded for their efforts. The final goal came in the fifty-eighth minute when Calum Campbell provided a superb cross for striker Andrew Nixon who rose above the Barrhead defence to slot his header home. The match was closely fought and was a very close encounter throughout the ninety minutes but Antonine held firm and secured the win.
 
Barrhead were the first to create an opening. In the first minute they applied very high pressure and won the ball back, midfielder David Mullin found himself in acres of space in the Antonine box but goalkeeper Scott Wright was equal to his effort and the ball was cleared. 
 
The next chance came eight minutes in, but it was now Antonine’s turn to attack. After Barrhead only party cleared, the ball fell to midfielder Blair McPherson on the edge of the box whose thunderous volley scraped just wide of the Barrhead goal.
 
In the twelfth minute Antonine came close to opening the scoring; a cross-cum-shot by right back Euan Urqhart almost crept in under the bar but it struck the frame of the goal and the ball was cleared by the Barrhead defence. 
 
Five minutes later however, Antonine found themselves in front – The ball was switched across to left midfielder Ryan Forrester who cut inside and fired a thunderbolt into the top right hand corner – there will be debates in the Forrester household tonight about whether Ryan intended to shoot, but, it looked superb from the stand so I think it merits a ‘well done’ at least!
 
Barrhead bounced right back despite the setback. Connon McLean found himself in space just inside the box, the big defender attempted to stab the ball into the net but Wright was able to parry the ball away and it was eventually cleared by the rock solid Antonine defence.
 
On the half hour mark Barrhead almost equalized. A long throw was launched in from the left and midfielder Jay Burns’ attempt at a glancing header nearly came off but Wright was able to reach and gather the ball. 
 
Right on the stroke of half time Barrhead almost scored but Stuart Locan’s effort from the edge of the box was hit just over and the referee blew his whistle to draw an end to the first half.
 
The first half was a very tight affair, no team could seem to get a strong foothold in the game and this caused it to be a scrappy match.
Thursday, 05 June 2014 18:28

Bonnyton bang in five to clinch cup

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Bonnyton Thistle overpowered a depleted Johnstone Burgh side 5-1 in the final of the League Cup on Saturday. In the glorious Renfrewshire sunshine, the Kilmarnock side came back from a goal down early on to eventually come out fairly comfortable winners. A superb double from Steven Hill helped seal the win, with Burgh admittedly not being at their maximum.
 
The match kicked off with a sense of who-knows-what could happen; Burgh had edged Thistle in the Scottish Cup on penalties (Bonnyton's signature competition) while the Ayrshire outfit had won both of the league matches quite convincingly. This erratic and background clearly embedded itself in the game early on as after three minutes we had a goal - it was underdogs Burgh who grabbed it. Aaron Lewis' lofted ball down the throat of the Bonnyton defence put them under pressure and sprinting through the middle to latch on was Andrew Skinner; the pacy forward then neatly lobbed the ball over the on-rushing Scott Purdie from the edge of the box with his right foot, sending the Johnstone faithful into ecstatic cheers.
 
The joy however, was short lived.  Almost immediately Bonnyton raced up the park and pressured their opponents into conceding a corner. From the right, a curling delivery from the back post was met head-on by Ian Paterson who evaded his marker, found space and had a free chance to dunk the ball past the helpless Sean Quinn. 
 
With the game now level, things showed no sign of slowing down. The frantic start was emphasised by Thistle keeper Purdie twice in succession coming out from his own box to head the ball clear of danger - in part down to his injured hand - as Burgh pressed their opponents well in the middle and final thirds of the Keanie Park turf.
 
With 20 minutes played, Johnstone Burgh were looking very lively every time they entered the final third. While they weren't stringing as many passes together in possesion as their opponents, their pace in attack with Skinner, Craig Buchanan and Lewis MacDonald was causing the Bonnyton defence problems. Bonnyton too looked capable in the final third and perhaps more likely of actually going ahead but their final touch was often lacking that crucial, clinical element required.
 
Just after the half hour, Burgh had a good chance to go ahead when MacDonald was slipped in on the edge of the box in between the Bonnyton full back and centre half. The attacker pulled the trigger from 16 yards but scuffed his shot, leaving Thistle's goal intact.
 
Johnstone had the next chance again six minutes later when a slack pass in Bonnyton's midfield allowed Johnstone to break through the middle of the pitch with MacDonald racing through one-against-one with Purdie, only to fire straight at him from 12 yards at an angle.
 
From that wake-up call, Thistle reacted. Within moments they had worked the ball up the pitch and kept their opponents camped in their own half as they kept possession. The clinical final touch that had been lacking was then provided by Steven Hill with a great strike from close range to make it 2-1.
 
Now down 2-1, the next goal would be crucial and Burgh would again be made to pay for not taking their chances. As half time approached, the side in red won a corner and from it Ryan Ralston managed to connect but his header wasn't directed at goal well enough to trouble Purdie, and with team-mates queuing up behind him, he could have left it for them - if he had heard such a shout.
 
With just over a minute to go until half time, with Burgh still pressing Bonnyton in their box, the league champions managed to find the next goal. It was a magnificent piece of work from right-back Ryan Golightly who cleared the ball from his own box to alleviate pressure and then advanced up the pitch in support. He eventually received the ball out wide at the edge of the box and attempted a cross, only to see it blocked. Golightly opted to stay up for the corner and it proved an inspired decision as he determinedly got onto the end of the cross and headed downwards into the net with aplomb. This came as a hammer blow for Johnstone; had they not been equalised against so early, and then conceded so late, this game could've went a totally different direction. Now though it seemed certain Bonnyton would go on to win without much challenge.
Monday, 02 June 2014 17:48

Hit and miss as East End win league cup

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East End United Under 17's were crowned Paisley Johnstone and District Youth Football League’s League Cup winners after edging out Barrhead YFC Reds on penalties kicks. East End goalkeeper Ross Miller saved a penalty in the shoot-out which allowed Christopher Richmond to grab glory by scoring the winning penalty. A wet Keanie Park in Johnstone hosted the last of a weekend’s worth of P&JD League Cup final action.
 
The game was late in kicking off but once it did it started off in frantic style with East End United winning a penalty with only 45 seconds on the clock. Richmond broke through into the box and as he attempted to round the keeper, was brought down. He stepped up to take the penalty but failed to give East End the perfect start as he appeared to slip and the penalty hit the post.
 
The conditions were slippery but both goalkeepers showed safe hands when they were tasked with collecting dangerous looking cross balls. One apiece for each side could have led to a good opportunity for them but Barrhead’s Stewart Collins and his East End counterpart held well. Barrhead were showing good strength, winning most 50/50’s but gave away a free kick. Luke McGowan struck it low but it was straight into the arms of the goalkeeper Collins.
 
Set piece opportunities were coming in thick and fast with East End winning several corners at one stage. This came from the amount of space they were getting down the right side but most corners were struggling to trouble the Barrhead defence. It was, however, in the aftermath of a corner in which Richmond almost opened the scoring for East End as he managed to prod the ball past the keeper but some last ditch defending from Conan Mclean and Phillip Mills on the line managed to get it clear.
 
Most attempts on goal at this stage were long range efforts which weren’t causing either goalkeeper much harm with Barrhead’s Mclean sending a pile driver just over the bar whilst a shot from his team mate Cameron Boyd was easily dealt with by the keeper. It was Barrhead who ended the half the stronger of the two sides and East End goalkeeper Miller had to push Connor McCabe’s effort from a tight angle wide from a corner. Barrhead thought they had taken the lead on the stroke of half time when McLean rose above everyone in the box to bullet home at header into the roof of the net but the linesman’s flag was raised and the half ended goalless. 
Monday, 02 June 2014 14:57

Clinical Hoops beat Gourock to clinch cup

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Celtic BC and Gourock met in the final of the Gilbert Baird Cup and as the sun belted down the lads kicked off an absolute classic. Right from kick off both sides looked threatening, Regan Talbot burst forward on the left from Celtic and his off the ball movement almost allowed him an easy cross from the byline.
 
This was a sign of things to come in the game, but Gourock had set up to frustrate the creative Bhoys, allowing them no space on the ball at all and playing to hit on the counter.
 
Jack Purdue and Lee Bartlett provided amazing attacking chemistry they moved the ball with pace on every attack and were 100% committed to every scrap that came forward. Bartlett was rewarded for his tenacity in the first half after a long cross in from sweeper Aidan McKay’s free kick bounced at the back post between Celtic stopper Sean Baxter and the Gourock striker. Bartlett took it well, despite the awkward bounce but a terrific reflex save tipped it over the bar when it looked destined for the net.
 
Celtic took renewed enthusiasm from the close call, and Talbot’s ability to leave his marker in the dust with a quick touch allowed chance after chance for the Bhoys. Corner after corner was won by Talbot and despite the massive height difference for Celtic; Lewis Cameron was unable to beat Kieran Devlin’s gloves or the bar.
 
Talbot continued his star performance by beating 2 Celtic midfielders and slipping a lovely reverse pass through the back for the run by Cameron only to be denied again by Dylan Norman who seemed to be the only one capable of dealing with Talbot’s creativity and dribbling.
 
Gourock kept playing their counter however, forcing two more saves from Baxter who was impressing with some brilliant stops and safe hands. This time it was Andrew Ellis who broke away from deep, only to be denied by a great dive to the bottom corner.
 
When the first goal came it was the Green and White fans left grinning, Shaun McCourt broke down the left and played it back, but the deflection took it onto the foot of Anthony Coutts whose curved effort hits the inside of one post before crawling across and over the line to make it 1-0.
 
The first half continued its frantic pace but Gourock seemed to be getting the better of Celtic with great play through the middle loosing Purdue and Bartlett who seemed to be loving the quality of Ellis’ passing.
 
Celtic looked to double their lead on the eve of half time but some goalkeeping heroics denied that chance. A 25 yard free kick by Jamie Mulligan looked destined for the top right corner and every photographer’s highlight reel only for Kieran Devlin to push it over the bar with a phenomenal mid air save – he almost seemed to float in the air to get to it.
 
Half time came around, bringing the close to a terrific half where Celtic lead 1-0 nothing. The first half was the definition of end to end football and Gourock had 2 or 3 chances. Behind only by a fantastically worked goal the Goruock fans and players would feel a bit hard done by.
 
However the first half was really The Talbot show for Celtic; he absolutely dominated the opening 40 minutes. In the red camp however it was difficult to choose a standout performer as the way they set up needed a huge amount of teamwork and communication, Dylan Norman was the star of the back with some great tackles and blocks denying Talbot more joy than he had.
 
In the midfield Ellis was able to play through his strikers time and again whilst Purdue and Bartlett were unlucky not to have scored a few.
 
Not forgetting both goalkeepers who had kept this game from being 6-5 in that first half, both Baxter and Devlin were showing how important a keeper is at the end of a tournament when you’re going up against teams who can and will score from almost nothing.
The game between Arthurlie Juniors U16 and Glentyan Thistle U16 saw a dramatic late winner lead to Glentyan Thistle lifting the trophy in the final of the highly attended PJ&DYFL Divisional Cup at a rainy Ralston Community Sports Centre.
 
It was Glentyan Thistle in there yellow kit that got the match under way and they would have the first effort of the game when a short free kick was passed to Gary Reid and he saw his first time shot go wide of the post.
 
It would be Arthurlie Juniors in there blue and white kit that would have the next effort of the game when a skilled run form Kyle Harte won Arthurlie a throw in. The throw in lead to a long range effort from Scott McKinlay that was save by Thistle’s goalkeeper Stuart Tannock.
 
The game would settle into a spell of midfield play as both side looked for the next opportunity on goal. It would be Arthurlie that would find the next opportunity on goal as they increased there attacking efforts when Craig Campbell had a wide shot saved by the diving goalkeeper.
 
Thistle look to match the increased attack from Arthurlie with a few efforts of their own. The first being a shot from the half way line by Jamie Sidbotham that was saved easily by Arthurlie’s Stuart Hall. The next being a skilled turn to beat the defender before forcing the goalkeeper into a save from a wide angle by Gary Reid.
 
Arthurlie started to pilled on the pressure and look the more attacking side as they search for the first goal of the game. Arthurlie’s Declan McWilliams caused problems for the Thistle defence on the wing before his cross in was cleared but the clearance didn’t remove the danger as Jack Duffy was able to have effort that ended up over the bar.
 
Although Arthurlie look the more attacking side at this point in time it was Thistle that came closest to scoring the opener next when a weak defensive clearance from Arthurlie lead to a Thistle shot by Ciaran Duncan from just outside of the box that went just over.
 
Arthurlie piled the press back on Thistle after their chance as the first half came to a close. Arthurlie would have the last few efforts of the half, the effort that nearly opened the scoring came when a free kick by Jack Duffy went just inches over the bar.
St Andrews were crowned 2013/2014 Crookston Cup winners after a stunning strike from Declan Coleman sealed a 1-0 win over Hermitage. Murray Park was bathed in sunshine as the Saints edged out the Helensburgh side to secure cup glory in a tightly contested game.
 
It was St Andrews who started the game the brighter of the two sides and dominated in the first ten minutes or so. The first opportunity came after a good bit of pressure from St Andrews’ Pierre Dang forced Lewis Crawford to head out for a corner kick. The ball was put in by Aaron McFadyen to Dang whose flick on was cleared but only as far as Jay Burrowes who struck the ball goalwards but it was well held by Adam Carmichael. Burrowes  was involved again and almost opened the scoring from a corner but saw his attempt cleared off the line.
 
Hermitage began coming more into the game and won a free kick on the left hand side offered them up their first chance to put pressure on the St Andrews defence. Jack Ritchie whipped the ball in but Aaron Pyott in the St Andrews goal came and collected easily. Hermitage’s Shaun Smith then launched a long ball which caught out the St Andrews midfield and found Liam Kavanagh on the right wing. The small winger attempted to break down the right and did well to force a corner though it came to nothing.
 
Dang was a lively customer in the first half and came close to opening the scoring just after the 20 minute mark when a through ball evaded the Hermitage defence. It fell kindly to Dang who knocked his effort just by the post despite beating the keeper. They wouldn’t have to wait long to grab the opener and it came courtesy of a superb left foot strike from Coleman. It was a truly fantastic hit from Coleman whose volley found the back of the net and left Carmichael with no chance.
 
Hermitage rallied after the goal and won a corner kick not long before half time. The ball in was headed down to Jamie Peak but he knocked the attempt over the bar. Another corner allowed Hermitage to have one last good chance before the half ended but an unmarked Jamie Paterson headed over. 
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.
Schools Scottish Shield winners Holyrood Secondary took on All Saints High in the RS McColl cup final at Glasgow Green. Rain was pelting down as the teams lined up in what looked to be an exciting game.
 
The game was wide open straight from kickoff, All Saints seemed to be coming off the better of the opening play – but a quick Holyrood counter attack found it’s way to Conan Shields. Conan took one touch onto his right foot and let loose from a long way out, finding the net and putting Holyrood in the lead.
 
All Saints looked a little shaken after the early goal, struggling to get their confidence back. They were playing some nice football, a couple of crosses from Joe Slee and Liam Brown. They both look for Alan Campbell whose strength was giving the Holyrood centre backs some trouble. It was Holyrood’s Anton Houghton who came out ahead of the exchanges however.
 
Liam Brown was looking to be one of all Saint’s main men early on, he had a long range shot off a rebound that went just inches over the bar, it wasn’t much but it was enough to show they could hurt Holyrood.
 
Holyrood had a free kick, about 30 yards from goal. Both Keiran McGrory and Sean Harley stood over it – a dummy from McGrory separates the wall and Harley hammers it into the roof of the net with some beautiful backspin to make it 2-0 to Holyrood on the 14th minute.
 
Then when the match was looking to turn little ugly things brightened up. A dog got on to the pitch and it meant the teams had to engage in some keep yuppies until the streaker could be apprehended. The crowd and players had a good laugh and the game restarted shortly after.
 
Holyrood went further ahead as Shields picked up the ball of a quick shy at the corner flag, he turned his man and played a nice curling ball to David Graham 4 yards out who calmly beat the keeper right before half time; lovely play again from Shields who showed tremendous vision to pick out Graham who did well to react first.
Barrhead YFC travelled south to Ayrshire to take on rivals Bonnyton Thistle in the semi final of the West Region Cup yesterday. The glorious sunshine matched the glory on offer - a place in the final of one of Scotland’s most prestigious tournaments – and featured two teams fitting the bill of ‘Best in the West’ with Bonnyton top of the Paisley and Johnstone District League and Barrhead in the final of the Scottish Cup. Incidentally, Bonnyton are the current holders of the Scottish Cup – of which Johnstone Burgh knocked them out of, and Barrhead are finalists in – and Barrhead 17s won the West Region Cup last year.
 
All of this made for an exciting spectacle and in the end it did not disappoint. Bonnyton went ahead early through Steven Hill before Ewan Barrie extended the lead. Barrhead’s Jack Easdon made it interesting in the second half before Sean Mears nodded Bonnyton back in front – only for Easdon to strike again in stoppage time for a tense final few moments.
 
Both teams had chances in the opening minutes with Barrhead’s Ryan Bell trying a volley but to no avail. Moments later, in the sixth minute, Bonnyton’s Barrie spread the ball wide to Ryan Golightly on the right wing and after advancing towards the by-line he sent a low cross towards the front of the box. Hill evaded his marker and nipped to the ball first to glance a diving header past the keeper and into the bottom corner. This made it 1-0 to the home side with their first real chance, leaving Barrhead with an uphill struggle.
 
Barrhead immediately tried to level things up on 8 minutes when midfield dynamo Sam McNeil let fly with a swerving drive from distance with his left foot only to see it curl inches wide of the top corner.
 
McNeil was again causing problems for the Bonnyton defence on the 24 minute mark when a ball over the top found him with a foot of space. He laid the ball back to Tam McGauchey but Scott Purdie in the Bonnyton goal made a great save from his strong close-range shot, parrying the ball away.
 
Minutes later Purdie had to be at his best to deny McGauchey as he was found in space in behind the back four once again; stabbing a shot towards goal from the left corner of the six yard box, McGauchey’s effort was blocked by the legs of Purdie for a corner.
 
As we approached the half hour mark, Barrhead were the team on top. Ever since the opening goal they had looked more like scoring than the home team and had more of the ball. The Bonnyton midfield had seen a reshuffle and Barrhead had capitalised on this, with their regulars seizing control in that third of the park. Both teams were playing fairly direct football, although this didn’t detract from the excitement.
 
Bonnyton regained some of their early creativity and managed to put some pressure on their opponents, manufacturing a couple of corners in doing so. Following one of them, Golightly had a shot blocked by Easdon on the edge of the box before Barrhead cleared the danger second time round.
 
The danger wasn’t over completely though and Bonnyton made their spell of pressure count. Thistle grabbed the second goal on with ten minutes to go in the half and it was midfield engine Barrie who struck home. With the ball bouncing around the box, Hill took control and laid the ball off to his team-mate who was coming in on the run from outside the box at full pelt. Barrie took the ball on the bounce and rocketed a strike into the corner from the centre of the box past the helpless keeper and some stunned Barrhead faces.
 
Barrhead could perhaps have been right to feel hard done by but as the half closed out Thistle didn’t let up with playmaker Declan Adam going close with a half volley from the edge of the area before Barrie committed a foul and halted the play.
Sunday, 13 April 2014 19:58

Five star Mill Utd win the Glasgow Cup

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Mill Utd won the Under 21 Glasgow Cup after a comprehensive 5-0 victory over Calderhill Thistle at the home of Shettleston Juniors.

It wasn’t an afternoon for the feint-hearted as Calderhill kicked the game off in the driving rain, and with the wind at their backs Calderhill went on the attack. Captain, Scott Jannaway, used the conditions to test the Mill Utd keeper when he sent an ambitious long range free kick skidding off the surface. Nathan Wharton between the sticks saved well under pressure.


A short time later and Calderhill won another free kick as a Mill Utd clearance was held up in the wind, prompting a scrappy foul 25 yards from goal. Jannaway had a second opportunity to use the wind to his advantage but fired a powerful effort just wide of the left post.

Before long Mill Utd came into the game and adopted a tactic of keeping the ball on the deck to avoid the obvious problems caused by wind, as they set about trying to work the channels. It was a full blooded game. Mill Utd captain Kieran Connachan received a bloodied mouth after becoming the meat in a Calderhill sandwich. Then a high impact collision knocked Mill Utd’s Ben Robert Falconer flat out. Nobody on the park could be accused of pulling out of a challenge.

Calderhill nearly broke the deadlock through Mathew Coghill. A scramble in the box resulted in a Coghill shot into ground which saw the ball bounce over the goalkeeper who recovered well to tip the ball over the bar.

Then the opening goal was scored up the other end of the park by Mill Utd midfielder Darren Sneddon. Scott Nicol on the left wing was majestic, turning the full back inside out, before he picked out Sneddon arriving from midfield in the six yard box to finish clinically. 1-0.

The game roared on and there were ferocious battles taking place all over the park. Calderhill’s Stephen Cowan was grafting hard upfront in isolation much of the time, but managing to make a nuisance of himself, while Jordon Conlon went to war in midfield. Although equally gritty, Mill Utd were more composed on the ball and showed more quality. Nicol utilised his great range of passing from left back, while Sneddon was cool under pressure in the engine room and striker Dean Lindsay was making intelligent dangerous runs.

Mill Utd scored their second goal on the brink of half time, and it was a goal that could have been avoided from a Calderhill perspective. A corner kick was whipped into the six yard box from the left corner flag and the ball was glanced towards goal by Nicol. The keeper fumbled and the ball was judged to have crossed the line before it was scooped clear behind the feet of the goalkeeper. It was a crucial blow at the midway stage of the match.