Cup fi­nal glory for young Glen­cairn

Cup is back to Ruther­glen for third time in five years

Rutherglen Reformer - - House & Home -

They made us wait right to the fi­nal game of the sea­son, but Glen­cairn Un­der 21s fi­nally got their hands on some sil­ver­ware.

The play­ers brought the U21 West of Scot­land Cup back to Ruther­glen for the third time in five years by de­feat­ing Steins This­tle 2-0 in the fi­nal at Green­field Park.

Hav­ing tasted de­feat in two fi­nals al­ready this sea­son, and miss­ing out nar­rowly in the Premier League cham­pi­onship race, there was an un­der­stand­able ner­vous­ness as the fi­nal ap­proached.

With seven mem­bers of the squad play­ing their fi­nal match of their el­i­gi­bil­ity for un­der 21 level, the team were de­ter­mined to end their sea­son on a high.

David Quinn re­placed mid­fielder Njab­ulo Ndlovu in mid­field but oth­er­wise it was a full strength start­ing team for the young Glens, who were backed by a size­able con­tin­gent of sup­port­ers who had made the short jour­ney Shet­tle­ston for the match.

The open­ing stages were cagey, with nei­ther team tak­ing any firm con­trol on the game but Glen­cairn took the lead in the 14th minute with the first big chance of the game. A ball over the top of the de­fence saw striker Dale Wal­lace beat the off­side trap, and he pro­duced a calm lob over the goal­keeper and into the empty net, his 23rd goal of the sea­son.

Chris Trues­dale saved bril­liantly to deny This­tle just mo­ments later and the Steins’ goal­keeper made an ex­cel­lent stop in the 19th minute to deny An­ton Phinn’s low shot on the turn.

There was a huge let-off for the This­tle goal­keeper in the 27th minute when Phinn’s at­tempted lob from 50 yards slipped through his fin­gers, but the ball re­bounded from the base of the post and bounced back out. If that was lucky for Steins, there was an even big­ger es­cape for The Glens in the 33rd minute. Trues­dale mis­judged a flighted ball into the penalty area, and was out-jumped by no.9. The ball broke free and the striker fired across goal where the ball was turned into the net by a This­tle player. The cel­e­bra­tions were cut short how­ever, by the as­sis­tant ref­eree’s off­side flag.

Nei­ther team made any changes at the in­ter­val, and Steins came out for the sec­ond half in pos­i­tive fash­ion.

They al­most equalised in the 68th minute when no.8’s shot was de­flected inches wide of the far post, with Trues­dale wrong­footed and scram­bling across goal.

The cor­ner was met by a glanc­ing header which flew nar­rowly wide of the far post again but Glen­cairn were clearly need­ing an­other goal to make their lead a bit more com­fort­able.

And the lead was dou­bled in the 69th minute with quite a de­light­ful strike. McArthur’s clever over­head pass re­leased Wal­lace on the left, and he checked back slightly be­fore look­ing up for op­tions. Wal­lace lifted a pre­cise cross to­wards David Quinn on the far edge of the penalty area and the mid­fielder chested the ball down be­fore drilling a left footed shot, on the half-vol­ley, into the far cor­ner of the net to make it 2-0.

The goal cel­e­bra­tions which fol­lowed in­di­cated that the Glen­cairn boys felt that would be the goal that won them the cup, and it seemed to punc­ture any be­lief that was left in the This­tle ranks.

Steins huffed and puffed to try and blow down the solid Glen­cairn de­fen­sive line but they were meet­ing stern re­sis­tance from a back four con­sist­ing of three play­ers who were clearly de­ter­mined not to con­cede a goal in their fi­nal match for their team.

This­tle had to keep try­ing, of course, and they went close after 88 min­utes when a shot on the turn flew nar­rowly wide, and then Trues­dale made an­other good save with his legs to deny no.9 a minute later.

The ref­eree added on four ad­di­tional min­utes, but the young Glens were never in dan­ger of throw­ing away their grip on the tro­phy and cel­e­brated a happy end to the sea­son for ev­ery­body con­nected to Ruther­glen Glen­cairn.

Big lift Glen­cairn U21 cap­tain Ryan Ben­nett lifts the West of Scot­land tro­phy

Sil­ver­ware The Glens claimed their first tro­phy of the sea­son

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