Our u21s enter the Irn Bru Cup (Challenge Cup) which is the competition for all lower league teams, and which we have won twice.
In recent seasons the competition has been added to by the addition of Premiership u20/21 sides, plus Lowland and highland teams, and two teams from each of Northern Ireland, Wales, Republic of Ireland and the English National League. Additionally this season’s rules now allow for two overage players.
On Tuesday 14th August our young team defeated Clyde 4-1, a good result considering how well the bully wee have started the season.
Both sides scored in the opening minutes with three second half goals added by us, Mason Bloomfield (2), Ross Cunningham and Ronan Hughes.
Accies media’s Martin McConnell was there
Irn Bru Cup, Round 1
The Hope Stadium
Tuesday 14th August 2018 at 7.45pm.
Hamilton Academical u21 4 Clyde 1
Our under 21s secured us a place in the second round of the Irn Bru Cup, but only after being pushed hard for an hour by their League Two first team opponents. Clyde edged the match in terms of chances until Ross Cunningham managed to regain the lead for Accies on 61 minutes.
Hamilton took an early lead when Mason Bloomfield opened the scoring after seven minutes, but that advantage was cancelled out just a minute later when Chris McStay levelled at the other end. Clyde went close to adding a second when Ferns struck the Hamilton post, but the score remained all square as the sides walked off for half time.
Clyde impressed early on in the second half until the Hamilton youngsters raised their game and got their reward when Cunningham put Accies back in front. Ronan Hughes added a third with the help of a Mason Bloomfield knock down, who then, with a minute of time left, got his second and Hamilton’s fourth goal of the night.
Head of Youth, George Cairns said of the victorious youngsters afterwards, “I thought the kids did well. Obviously with kids being young, its a great test for them to come and play against senior pro’s. I think first half we didn’t move the ball as quick and didn’t look as comfortable on the ball as we did in the second half. Then from the second goal we did really well.
It was very tough. The thing about this football club is its a real test for the kids and it gives you a good bench mark of where they are. It also gives the kids a good bench mark when they come in to these games. They realise that sometimes they need to do a bit better in games or push themselves a bit harder against better opposition. It was a great test, a bonus to win it and more importantly, the kids got to play.”
The visitors had a great early chance to take the lead when a quick free kick caught Hamilton sleeping. A cross to the back post was headed back across the goalmouth, from where Duffie scuffed his header wide. It looked a right certainty, as he was positioned right in the centre of goal and only a couple of feet from the line.
But Accies went ahead thanks to the ingenuity of the roving Bloomfield. A wee nudge on a defender released the ball across the box, allowing the big striker to send his shot between two covering defenders and in to the net. However, the joy was short lived when McStay levelled with a header, Adam Phillips thought he’d cleared from the line but the near side assistant thought otherwise.
Clyde impressed with their attacking brand of football and went close to adding before the break, when the ball was played into acres of space for Eddie Ferns. The winger angled his run into the box, continued toward the byeline then shot low off the front post. The ball continued its journey at pace across the six yard box, fortunately there weren’t any takers.
Clyde made a lively start to the second half but neither side produced anything of note until Hamilton regained the lead. Hughes shot low on goal, Kieran Hughes got a hand to it but couldn’t gather. The ball rolled away from the keeper toward the byeline, where Ross Cunningham raced in to blast in at the back post.
Hamilton looked like the only winner now but Clyde were still looking dangerous and to prove the point, Dylan Cogill struck the top of the cross bar with a header. The victory was secured when a Cunningham shot was blocked, Bloomfield brought a difficult rebound under control to lay back for Hughes to strike through bodies from ten yards out.
The icing on the cake came with a minute of time left when Ryan Fulton kicked the ball up field. Kyle Munro, who’d only been on the park for a couple of minutes, won a tussle with Stewart for the bouncing ball on the edge of the box and played inside for Bloomfield to strike beyond the reach of Hughes.
Accies: Fulton (c), Morrison, McCann, Garcia Carrasco, Stanger, Phillips, Cunningham, Breen, Bloomfield, Hughes, Smith (Munro 86). Subs Unused: Connelly, Douglas, Wilson, Meikle, Mimnaugh, Scullion.
Goals: Bloomfield 7, 89, Cunningham 61, Hughes 73.
Cautions: Garcia Carrasco.
Clyde: Hughes, Duffie, Stewart, Cogill, Gorman, Grant (Goodwillie 63), Ferns, Lamont, Boyle, McStay (Cudding 63), Millar (Nicoll 63). Subs Unused: Currie, McNiff, Rumsby, Love.
Goal: McStay 8.
Referee: Chris Graham. Assistants: Drew Kirkland & Michael MacDermid.