Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

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Rutherglen Glencairn u21s 2 Musselburgh Windsor u21s 1

Friday 15th May 2015 - Lady Darling Cup Final

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Lady Darling Cup Final 2

Glens u21s captain and Man of the Match Ryan Bennett lifts the Lady Darling Cup trophy.

Glencairn's latest generation of under 21 players followed in the footsteps of their Treble-winning predecessors by bringing silverware back to New Southcroft Park as they secured the Lady Darling Cup with a 2-1 victory over Musselburgh Windsor u21s at Somervell Park in Cambuslang. The young Glens side will now try and make it a Double as they go into the Golden Goals Cup Final next weekend.

A healthy crowd turned out to watch the young Rutherglen side take an early grip on the game, and Thomas Robertson was first to go close as he fired just over the bar in the second minute. The early pressure continued as captain Ryan Bennett danced past several tackles into the penalty area before seeing his shot deflected into the side netting.

Bennett went close again in the 10th minute when he got the break of the ball after a dribble by Chris Dallas, but Musselburgh goalkeeper Daniel Laing saved down low to his left. Windsor hadn't threatened the Glencairn defence at all in the opening stages, their closest effort being a volley by Steven Kean which flew well wide of the target.

The young Glens continued to pressurise, and Robertson saw his shot deflected wide after a clever set-up by striker Dale Wallace. Another mazy run by Bennett ended with an angled shot which was turned wide of the post by Laing for another corner.

The pressure had to tell, and Glencairn took a well deserved lead in the 18th minute. A long ball was misjudged by the Musselburgh defence, and Connor McGuiness was first to react to the chance as he stabbed the ball past Laing and into the empty net.

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Connor McGuiness is mobbed by his team mates after opening the scoring.

The goal seemed to take some of the sting out of the Glens side, though, and Windsor began to exert more of a threat in the match for the first time. Glencairn were still creating chances, though, with McGuiness firing over the crossbar and Laing saving from Wallace's header. Anthony Dempsey's cross from the left was volleyed over the bar by Bennett at the back post on the half hour mark.

Musselburgh surprised most people in the ground when they equalised in the 32nd minute, against the run of play. A free kick into the box saw indecision between Glens' goalkeeper Chris Truesdale and defender Euan Conroy, and Windsor striker Steven Kean made enough of a nusiance of himself to force the error and divert the ball into the net from a yard out.

Truesdale was forced into a save from a header by Chris Stevenson in the 34th minute as the young side from the east started to believe it could be their night. Truesdale also made a good save in the 37th minute after Kanvan Tufail's low shot was almost deflected into the net from close range by defender Dempsey.

Musselburgh were forced into a substitution before half time with Shaun Conlon replacing the injured Gary Scott-Learmonth. The final chance of the first half saw Glens go close again, as Dempsey's cross from the left was turned over the bar on the half volley by Bennett.

Half time : 1-1

The young Glens started the second half in the same manner as the first as they went on the front foot from the start. Craig Dallas ended his dribble with a stabbed shot which was blocked in front of goal, and then seconds later Bennett's header at the back post was just off target.

Glencairn made their first substitution in the 48th minute, winger Daniel Salah replacing defender Mark McHendry, with Crag Young dropping slightly deeper to provide the defensive cover. Shortly afterwards there was another change for The Glens, with Andrew Quial replacing Martin McCann. Kyle Burrows replaced Shaun Davidson for Musselburgh on the hour mark.

Truesdale made an excellent save in the 62nd minute as a lovely passing move ended with the ball falling at the feet of Wayne Simpson who seemed certain to score, but the Glens' no.1 made a block with his foot to keep his side level. Five minutes later another chance for Simpson saw Conroy get over to make a goal-saving block as the striker pulled the trigger. The resulting corner saw Truesdale twice palm the ball onto the crossbar and then react to the rebound to block, as Musselburgh had Glencairn pinned in their own half for a spell. Musselburgh brought on Euan Greig to replace Jack Moffat in the 70th minute.

Just as Windsor were enjoying their best spell of the game, Glencairn re-established their lead in the 75th minute. Positive play by McGuiness helped the ball across the edge of the penalty area to Ryan Bennett, who cut inside his marker before drilling a low shot under Laing from 18 yards. Bennett's celebration saw him dive full length in front of the Glencairn dugout, with his team mates quickly piling on top.

The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Windsor, and the match seemed to be comfortable for Glencairn until the 85th minute when Anthony Dempsey was shown a second yellow card and then the red for a foul on the halfway line. Glencairn reacted by pulling off playmaker Dallas and replacing him with Kyle Chrystal. Musselburgh made their final change with Robbie Murray replacing Simpson.

As the match moved into stoppage time, the referee awarded Musselburgh a free kick right in front of goal on the edge of the penalty area. Kean fired in a swerving effort which Truesdale did well to hold above his head on the goal line.

The young Glens then sensibly ran down the clock by keeping the ball in the corners as the referee added on almost five minutes of stoppage time. But there was to be no way back for Musselburgh, and the celebrations started immediately on the full time whistle.

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The Glens players and management show off the Lady Darling Cup after the presentation.

Rutherglen Glencairn u21s :- Truesdale, Dempsey, McHendry (Salah), Conroy, Young, Dallas (Chrystal), McGuiness, Wallace, Bennett, Robertson, McCann (Quial). (Subs not used - McCorry, Mallon, McBride, Martin.)

Musselburgh Windsor u21s :- Laing, Howie, Moffat (Greig), Tufail, Scott-Learmonth (Conlon), Davidson (Burrows), Lang, Stevenson, Simpson (Murray), Subasic, Kean. (Sub not used - Cameron.)

Man of the match - (chosen by George Ferguson) Ryan Bennett.

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