United fall at final hurdle to Bankies

IN THE THICK OF IT: Action from Cumbernauld United's cup final against Clydebank.
IN THE THICK OF IT: Action from Cumbernauld United's cup final against Clydebank.

Clydebank 3 Cumbernauld United 0

Euroscot Engineering Central League Cup, final

United, in their first major Cup Final for 36 years, came unstuck against a more experienced and stronger side, Clydebank, at Newlandsfield Park, Pollok last Wednesday evening.

The young Cumbernauld team found their Premier League opponents a real handful in all departments and can have no complaints with the result of the match.

After a testing time in the first half United gave Clydebank plenty to think about after the interval but the two defensive lapses in the opening 30 minutes proved too costly.

A very large crowd of 855 were in shirt sleeved order on a warm June night as United kicked off. From the start it was obvious that United were up against it and in the fifth minute, Clydebank almost took the lead. A free kick some 25 yards out saw Ross McPherson’s effort rebound from the crossbar and headed out by Cumbernauld’s James Brown. The defender’s clearance reached a Clydebank attacker but his shot was fortunately blocked by Brown as it soared goalward.

After a chance for Bankies’ man of the match Ciaran McElroy cleared the bar, United put on a bit of pressure and a George Scott pass found Chris Zok but his shot went high over the goal. Then a Jim Steele free kick was headed past the post by Dom O’Halloran.

In the 20th minute, however, disaster struck the Cumbernauld team when, from a cross from the right, Jim Steele’s headed ball saw Mark Quinn, the United goalkeeper and Ciaran McElroy tussle for the ball on the byeline. McElroy won the battle and, from a very oblique angle, found the back of the net.

In the 33rd minute of the match a defensive error paved the way for Bankies second goal. Some 30 yards from the Cumbernauld goal a mix-up between Ryan Haxton and Jim Steele saw the ball break to dangerman Ciaran McElroy and the winger ran on to slot the ball past the advancing Mark Quinn.

Five minutes from the interval a Tony Fraser free kick reached Danny Boyle but his downward header found no takers.

James Brown received a yellow card just prior to half time but it was never a dirty game.

United resumed after the break in more determined fashion with a series of raids but the Premier League side’s defence was resolute. A rare Ryan Haxton mistake though almost cost United when the central defender was short with a passback. Fortunately the danger was cleared.

United were now giving Clydebank a real game playing some good football and, from a Joe McCafferty corner, Danny Boyle sent a header just wide. Then a good run by Dom O’Halloran saw his cross just elude Chris Zok.

More efforts came in from Zok and Tony Fraser before a fine Joe McCafferty run saw the winger glide past two defenders but his shot was agonisingly too high.

Scott Upton, giving a hundred per cent as usual was then fouled near the Clydebank goal but to everyone’s consternation, Scott received a booking for diving - a ridiculous decision - and no penalty was awarded.

Ross Foley made an immediate impact when he charged up the left wing and forced a corner.

United continued to forge upfield but were leaving gaps at the back which very nearly cost them dear.

In stoppage time Clydebank got a third goal when Jordan Shelvey chased a long ball down the left and sent over a perfect low cross for substitute Pearson to slide in and net.

In spite of this defeat it was a great night and experience for the Cumbernauld team with hopes that it may be the forerunner of many more such occasions.

A successful season then for the Guy’s Meadow team with a Central League Cup final, a West of Scotland Cup semi-final and a creditable fifth place in the Stagecoach Super League, First Division. Well done John Queen, coaches and players.

Clydebank: Hamilton, Walker, Paterson, Martin, Bell, McCann, Gold, Berry, McPherson, Campbell, McElroy. Subs: McCready, Shelvey, Morris, Pearson, Campbell.

United: Quinn, Steele, Fraser, Haxton, Boyle, Brown, McCafferty, Upton, Zok, Scott, O’Halloran. Subs: Thomson, Foley, Gibson, Borland, Buchanan.