Final piece in jigsaw
U-21 Glens reach final of last cup to conquer
Glencairn U-21s........1 Tower H U-21s..........0
Rutherglen Glencairn Under21s overcame league leaders Tower Hearts to move in to the final of the only competition they have not won since they were formed almost seven years ago.
It was not a classic, but when you are in a Scottish Cup semi final, it is just about getting to the final, and Glencairn edged a scrappy encounter at New Tinto Park in Govan in front of a healthy crowd.
Both teams took some time to feel each other out in the opening stages and, while Tower had the bulk of possession, they did not create any chances of note.
It was Glencairn who were first to really go close in the eighth minute as David Quinn burst forward from left-back and set up Anton Phinn for a shot on the stretch which he stabbed a yard wide of goal.
There was a brief moment of controversy in the 14th minute when Tower striker Scott Cameron rose above goalkeeper Chris Truesdale to head the ball goalward.
There were claims that the ball had crossed the line before it was hooked out but the referee whistled for a foul.
Glencairn continued to create the chances and Craig Young intercepted a defensive pass before drilling in a shot which was flying in to the top corner before Tower goalkeeper Daniel McLean reached to send the ball round the post.
Tower were starting to come into the match and forced Truesdale into
an excellent save as he reached down low to his left to save Cameron’s shot which had taken a slight deflection off Josh McCorry.
A minute later David Seagrave skipped away from Glens defender Alex Grier but McCorry got over to make an excellent block.
Both teams seemed to be playing nervously and there was very little of the free-flowing football that has been associated with both sides for the past couple of years.
However, the occasion probably dictated the edginess, and it seemed even at this stage that one goal would win it.
Tower thought they had that goal in the opening minute of the second half when Seagrave lobbed Truesdale but the ball rebounded from the bar and bounced in front of the line for the grateful goalkeeper to grab.
An excellent last- ditch tackle by Grier took the ball off Sean Hughes as he was about to shoot moments later.
The best chance of the match arrived in the 73rd minute as Jordan Davidson’s head flick released Phinn through the middle with only McLean to beat. But the Tower keeper dived full length to his left to beat away his firm shot.
The deadlock was finally broken with 11 minutes left on the clock when Glencairn attacked down the left and the ball was fed into the centre where it broke in front of Davidson.
Tower threw bodies in front of the firm shot, but the ball broke behind the prone defenders and Davidson was the first to react and he squeezed a shot past McLean and into the corner of the net.
The goal was celebrated like a cup winner as the entire squad formed a pile- up in front of the Glencairn dugout.
Tower almost equalised immediately as Truesdale came to punch a long ball, only to be beaten in the air by Seagrave, but the ball looped over the crossbar.
The referee added six and half minutes of stoppage time, but the young Glens held firm for their clean sheet, superbly marshalled by their captain Euan Conroy.
The SYFA Under-21 Scottish Cup final between Glencairn and Barrhead YFC takes place on Sunday, May 7, at the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie.
Heads up Njabulo Ndlovu wins an aerial challenge with Greg McEwan
Starting line up (Back row) Alex Grier, Josh McCorry, Jordan Davidson, Chris Truesdale, David Quinn, Njabulo Ndlovu, Euan Conroy; (front row) Craig Young, Connor McGuiness, Anton Phinn, Eoghan McKeown