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Derek Hall’s report for East Kilbride v Bo’ness United on Sunday15th May 2022

todayMay 16, 2022


Lowland League Cup Final

East Kilbride 4-2 Bo’ness United

Ainslie Park hosted the Lowland League Cup Final between an East Kilbride side who went into the game as favourites against a Bo’ness United side still struggling with injuries and only able to name two substitutes. Within 12 seconds, Lennon Walker got onto a loose ball for United and fired over the top from around 23 yards and the same player almost got on the end of a through ball from Kieran Mitchell just over a minute later but the ball ran through to Kilbie keeper Connor Brennan. Two minutes later, the keeper had to be on his toes again as Billy Owens under hit his back pass and Brennan had to hook clear under pressure from Mitchell. On six minutes, a foul by Kilbie skipper Chris Millar on Kyle Johnston gave Nicky Locke the chance to fire in a 28 yard free kick but Brennan got his angles right and made a very comfortable save. East Kilbride’s first real foray forward came after seven minutes, but an offside flag halted Liam Watt’s progress. James Stevenson then fed Joao Victoria down the right flank but he then overhit his pass towards Keir MacAulay and it ran long for a United goal kick. On eleven minutes, a midfield clash of heads between Kilbie’s Bernard Coll and Greg Skinner of United saw both players requiring treatment but fortunately both were able to continue although Coll now sported a head bandage. On fourteen minutes, Victoria won a corner for Kilbie off Locke, who was clearly less than impressed with the decision, and Stevenson’s set piece found the head of Luke Kenny before being deflected wide once more but Stevenson’s second corner was cleared. Bo’ness moved quickly to the other end but Gregor Nicol was off balance as he tried to find Mitchell with a first time cross and the ball swung well wide. With 17 minutes gone, Bo’ness fashioned the best chance of the game so far when their captain Michael Gemmell prodded the ball on towards Mitchell on the edge of the Kilbie penalty area and he wasted no time in hitting the ball left footed on the half volley and Brennan did well to get down low to his right and beat the ball away, particularly as the shot bounced right in front of his hand as he made the save. The resultant corner from Ryan Stevenson tempted the East Kilbride keeper from his line and he was caught in no man’s land as Nicol headed wide for United on the stretch. Another ball through from Millar this time found Cameron Elliot offside as East Kilbride tried to make their mark on the match, whilst for United, it had been an encouraging opening 20 minutes. Two minutes later, Victoria looked to be getting the better of Skinner on the edge of the United box but Locke intervened to clear the danger. After 25 minutes, Elliot got to the goal line and cut back a really inviting cross which went straight through the United penalty area without anyone getting a killer touch on the ball. A minute later, a MacAulay cross took a deflection and went to Stevenson who then dropped the ball back to Gemmell but his 20 yard low drive skewed off his right foot and went a couple of yards wide of the Kilbie goals. On the half hour, a strong burst forward by Greig Stewart saw him ghost past a couple of United defenders before offloading to Elliot who tried to get his shot away but Locke was there again to make the block for Bo’ness. With 34 minutes gone, Victoria swung a lovely cross into the United box and Neil McLaughlin arrived to send his nine yard header over the top, although he was convinced it should have been a corner but referee Calum Scott dismissed his claims. East Kilbride were now dominating in the middle of the park and a lovely ball through from Coll nearly had McLaughlin in again. After 37 minutes, Owens found Stewart but his 25 yard drive didn’t cause Andy Murphy in the United goal any problems as it went wide. At the other end, Owens then completely miskicked a clearance on the edge of the Kilbie box and he was relieved to see Stevenson get the ball away just in front of Mitchell. However, East Kilbride then moved forward and a lovely through ball from Elliot sliced open the United defence allowing Victoria to go into the Bo’ness penalty area and he drew keeper Murphy before calmly placing the ball past him low into the far corner of the net from around sixteen yards for the games opening goal which came seven minutes from the break. Victoria then almost turned provider when he put a nice cross in and Elliot saw his header blocked by Mitchell as Kilbie looked for a second prior to half time and it very nearly came seconds later as a 25 yard drive from Elliot saw United keeper Murphy make a fantastic save as he tipped the effort up onto the crossbar and was then able to dive onto the loose ball to complete the save. Four minutes from half time, Stewart of East Kilbride received a ticking off from referee Scott after he conceded a foul and then knocked the ball away a few yards, incurring the ire of the match official. A minute later, Walker dispossessed J. Stevenson and raced towards the Kilbie penalty area and Kenny came across to block the cutback at the expense of a United corner but the set piece from R. Stevenson was a huge disappointment as it went long and drifted out. As the half time whistle sounded, it was East Kilbride who held a slender advantage which was probably just merited, as they had recovered from a sluggish start to take control of the first period half way through and had then applied most of the pressure up to the break, but the one goal margin meant that this was still anyones game to win.
On 47 minutes, a foul on Gemmell saw a United free kick headed clear by Coll and when the ball was returned, Locke looped a header up into the arms of Kilbie keeper Brennan. East Kilbride raced straight to the other end and Murphy dived on a dangerous low cross from Watt on his six yard line. A foul on Millar by Johnston near halfway had most people thinking the first yellow was on its way for the Bo’ness man, but referee Scott contented himself with a warning. Elliot then clipped a nice cross into the United penalty area but Devon Jacobs was there to make the clearance. A foul on Coll after 50 minutes near the touchline gave Stevenson the chance to deliver into the United box but keeper Murphy was up confidently to take the ball. Johnston and Walker then did the spadework for R. Stevenson but he again saw his cross go long and out for a goal kick to East Kilbride. After 52 minutes, a long Stevenson free kick was allowed to bounce on the edge of the United penalty area and McLaughlin had a go on the half volley from sixteen yards but fired well over the top. Three minutes later, Kenny conceded a fairly needless corner to United when he carelessly sliced a routine clearance behind and that mistake proved costly because MacAulay sent the set piece towards the back post and once again keeper Brennan came out for a better view and could only stand and watch as a header from Nicol looped over him and dropped into the unguarded net, a soft goal but nobody in the Bo’ness camp was remotely bothered. After 56 minutes, East Kilbride captain Chris Millar was the first name into referee Scott’s book after mistiming a challenge on Walker near halfway. Two minutes later, strong play from Kilbie’s Elliot saw him use his strength to break one challenge before then firing in a drive from around 15 yards which United keeper Murphy turned behind for a corner, and the East Kilbride no 9 was having an excellent game. Stevenson swung the set piece over and Elliot was up again with a strong header from eight yards which was well headed clear by Skinner right in front of his own keeper. With 61 minutes gone, United went to their bench and Locke, who probably wasn’t 100% fit, received an appreciative ovation from the Bo’ness fans as he was replaced by Lewis Hawkins who came on just in time to see his keeper, Murphy, make a confident catch under pressure from Elliot. Two minutes later East Kilbride made their first switch as Millar gave way to Daniel McManus. However after 66 minutes, East Kilbride hit the front for the second time and it was a beautifully crafted goal as Coll made progress down the left before passing inside to Victoria and it was then touched across by Elliot to Watt who from 20 yards, picked his spot in the top postage stamp corner and guided a placed right foot drive wide of the diving Murphy for a sensational strike. The East Kilbride tails were up now and McLaughlin had a lash on the half volley from sixteen yards but it cleared the bar by some margin. On 69 minutes, R. Stevenson delivered a free kick into the Kilbie box but keeper Brennan made the right decision this time and grabbed the high ball. East Kilbride had the ball at the other end within seconds and substitute McManus brought out a brilliant tip over save from keeper Murphy with an effort from around fourteen yards as he did well to dig the ball out from under his feet. Stevenson’s corner was cleared out to the edge of the box and Elliot let a 20 yarder go on the half volley which saw Bo’ness throwing bodies in the way to block. Eighteen minutes from time, United skipper Gemmell was cautioned for fouling Coll as he made his way down the left wing and McLaughlin delivered a superb ball onto the six yard line where Elliot arrived after timing his run to perfection and glanced a nice header past keeper Murphy to open up a two goal advantage for East Kilbride. With a quarter of an hour remaining, Mitchell of Bo’ness had to leave the field clearly suffering from cramp and this allowed Stuart Hunter to come on for his final competitive appearance for United, the big defender having been a fantastic servant to the club, and he received a warm ovation from the United fans. A minute later, Johnston played a one two with Walker about 25 yards out but he sat back on his shot and it sailed over the Kilbie goals. However with 79 minutes gone, the game was over as a long through ball tempted Bo’ness keeper Murphy off his line and as he attempted to head clear just outside his area, he missed the ball and it dropped to Elliot who still had work to do as he cut inside the keeper before getting away a right foot drive which was cleared off the line by Skinner. However United were unable to get the ball out of the danger area and it landed at the feet of McLaughlin who looked up to see keeper Murphy was still off his line and from 20 yards, he delicately floated a beautiful chip into the far top corner to make the score 4-1, harsh on United but clinical from East Kilbride. On 81 minutes, East Kilbride made a double switch as Watt and Victoria gave way for Ross McLaughlin and Aidan Fellowes. Six minutes from time, R. Stevenson delivered a corner to the back post for Bo’ness and Hunter was up but sent his six yard header off target, almost a perfect send off for the big Bo’ness no 5. However United weren’t finished and on 87 minutes, Nicol got down the left wing to the goal line and when keeper Brennan blocked the driven cross, Walker was on hand to rifle the loose ball home from seven yards, an excellent late show of defiance from the West Lothian side. A minute into stoppage time, MacAulay thumped a 30 yard left foot half volley into the hands of Kilbie keeper Brennan as United pressed right to the end but as the final whistle went, it was East Kilbride who deservedly lifted this seasons Lowland League Cup after a cracking match which kept a really decent crowd well entertained. With Cameron Elliot putting in a MOTM performance for East Kilbride, aided up front by a talent like Joao Victoria, it was always going to be a tough ask for a depleted Bo’ness side but they just wouldn’t go away and both teams now get to regroup and begin to prepare for next seasons Lowland League campaign.
Bryan Copeland
Absolutely fantastic mate. If only we could have capitalised more on our start in the opening 20 minutes but I always knew Kilbie would come into it and once they did there was no stopping them. Better team won on the day but a good crowd decent weathe… See more

Written by: Russell Aitken

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