Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club


Rutherglen Glencairn u21s 1 Tower Hearts u21s 2

Sunday 20th March 2016 - Birdston Kennels West of Scotland U21 League Cup Final

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Tower Hearts u21s 1

Chris Truesdale makes a brilliant save to beat away a first half penalty kick.

It was an afternoon of disappointment for Glencairn Under 21s and the large support who turned up to support them at McKenna Park, as they went down to defeat to Tower Hearts courtesy of a late winning goal.

Both teams came into this match in search of their first silverware of what could potentially be a trophy-laden season. The final result left the winners still in contention for winning five trophies, but the young Glens have the consolation of knowing that a Treble is still within their grasp, including the big prize of the Premier League championship.

With the sides running neck and neck for the league title, and having also drawn in their previous match earlier in the season, everybody was anticipating a tight encounter between two evenly matched sides, and that was exactly what they got.

Glencairn were on the front foot right from the kick off and forced a corner in the opening minute, with Ross McConville volleying narrowly wide from the resulting cross. The positive start continued as Ryan Bennett fired over the crossbar from 25 yards, and then Dale Wallace pulled a save out of Tower goalkeeper Calum McBain at his near post.

Tower Hearts started to settle into the match at the mid point of the first half, boosted by the knowledge of knowing they had resisted the early Glencairn pressure. Dylan Hendry almost pounced on a mis-directed back header by Craig Young, but Glencairn no.1 Chris Truesdale raced out to make an important block. A minute later a dipping shot by George Scott smacked off the face of the crossbar, with Truesdale beaten, but it was a sign that the match was much more of an even contest now.

McBain made an excellent save down low to his right to deny a snap-shot by Wallace (pictured below) after good link-up play by Anton Phinn and Njabulo Ndlovu in the 24th minute. The midfield battle was an interesting one, with Ndlovu particularly prominent for Glencairn and former Glens player Dale Simeon catching the eye for Tower.

Tower Hearts u21s 2

Dale Wallace almost breaks the deadlock with a low shot in the 24th minute.

Glencairn went close again when Ndlovu fired in a shot with the outside of his foot, and the ball dropped inches wide of the post with McBain beaten had it been on target.

Tower were given the opportunity to take the lead in the 38th minute when the referee ruled that Shaun Roberts had tripped Simeon inside the area. There appeared to be little contact between the players and Simeon appeared to trip over his own feet, but the spot kick was awarded. Justice was done, however, as Truesdale produced a brilliant block (pictured at top) to deny Ryan Kerr and keep the scoreline blank.

The opening goal was only delayed by a couple of minutes, however, as Tower Hearts took the lead in the 40th minute. A cross from the left picked out Dale Simeon on his own in front of goal, and he produced a spectacular left footed hook volley to give Truesdale no chance.

Half time : 0-1

The young Glens came out for the second half determined to get back on level terms quickly, and they did exactly that in the 49th minute. A high ball was laid back by Wallace into the path of Anton Phinn, and he skipped past a couple of challenges for smashing his shot into the roof of the net from 20 yards, Phinn's 26th goal of the season.

Anton Phinn (u21s) Anton Phinn

The substitutions started shortly after this, with both sides making changes. Thomas Porter replaced Marc Houston for Tower, while Craig Dallas replaced the injured Jason McArthur for Glencairn. Porter lasted only two minutes, however, before limping off injured himself to be replaced by Chris Byrne.

Phinn went close to giving Glencairn the lead when he fired in a shot from a similar position to the earlier strike, but this time the ball flew low and narrowly wide of the far post. Glencairn made another change just before the hour mark with Peter Copland replacing David Quinn, while Connor Brannigan replaced Ryan Kerr for Tower.

Truesdale was called into the action in the 62nd minute when Simeon latched onto a flick on by Alessandro Savarese, but the Glencairn stopper beat the shot round the post for a corner kick. There was a real let-off for Tower goalie McNab in the 64th minute when he kicked a clearance straight against Ndlovu, but the ball broke kindly for the grateful stopper who grabbed it on the floor before Ndlovu could dribble round him.

The substitutions continued to come, as Connor McGuiness replaced Shaun Roberts, with Copland dropping into the right back role. Truesdale did well to hold a low skimming shot by Simeon, before Tower made another change with Stephen Kerr replacing Hendry.

There were penalty claims at either end in the space of a couple of minutes at the mid point of the second half, as firstly Glencairn captain Ryan Bennett went down under a challenge, and then Savarese fell after nicking the ball away from McConville. The referee wasn't interested on either occasion, and they both appeared to be correct calls.

Glencairn's final change saw Paul Ross Caughey replacing Wallace up front with 10 minutes remaining. The momentum appeared to be with Tower Hearts going into the closing stages, however, and Byrne's cross flashed across the face of goal with no takers in the middle.

Just as it looked like a penalty shoot-out was on the cards, Tower Hearts edged in front with only four minutes remaining. Simeon was the architect this time, as he fed the ball in to Alessandro Savarese, and he produced a precise finish off the inside of the far post.

Glencairn threw everything forward in desperation for an equaliser in the final few minutes. Phinn's curling cross seemed inviting, but McBain made a good punch clear, and then Phinn fired a free kick over the crossbar from 25 yards in the 92nd minute. Tower held on to claim the trophy, and the young Glens were left to think of what might have been on this occasion.

It wasn't a happy ending this time for the young Glens, but they still have plenty to play for this season, with the battle with Tower Hearts for the league championship very much in their sights as well as the West of Scotland Cup and the Golden Goals Cup, where they will once again meet, yes you've guessed it, Tower Hearts !

Rutherglen Glencairn u21s :- Truesdale, Roberts (McGuiness), Dempsey, Ndlovu, McConville, Young, McArthur (Dallas), Quinn (Copland), Wallace (Caughey), Bennett, Phinn. (Subs not used - Conroy, Chrystal, Salah, McCorry, McHendry.)

Tower Hearts u21s :- McBain, McCall, Forrest, Martin, Nolan, Ryan Kerr (Brannigan), Hendry (Stephen Kerr), Simeon, Savarese, Scott, Houston (Porter (Byrne)). (Sub not used - McKeown.)

Man of the match - (chosen by Colin McNab) Anton Phinn.


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