St. Johnstone Youth Lift The Scotland Cup!
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St. Johnstone Youth Lift The Scotland Cup!

15th May 2022

 St. Johnstone Youth Lift The Scotland Cup!

St. Johnstone Youth Pull Off Sensational Shootout Win to Lift the Scotland Cup 

St. Johnstone Youth took on Motherwell at McDiarmid Park today in the Scotland Cup Final, with the young Saintees lifting the trophy in front of a good home crowd on the day. 

An action-packed 90 minutes of football, which saw four goals and two red cards, was not enough to split the sides, which meant that the winner of the trophy would be decided by a penalty shootout. Heroics from keeper Kyle Thomson ensured that his side would be national cup champions, with Saints winning 6-5.

Saints started the game well and were looking to open the scoring early on. The possession was pretty even and neither side had control of the game, with chances coming at both ends. 

Ben McChrystal had St. Johnstone’s first real chance of the game, taking a good touch on the edge of the box and setting himself well, before shooting at goal, with the Motherwell keeper holding his effort. 

Ten minutes on the clock and Motherwell then came agonisingly close to scoring themselves, with their number 20 having a long shot from range fly past the bottom corner. The visitors number 8 was next to have a pop from distance, with his effort whizzing just wide.

26 minutes into the game and Motherwell were now having their best spell of the game so far, and their good play got it’s reward. A cross to the back post found their number 2, who took an excellent touch and struck a powerful effort on goal and into the far side of the net, putting the ‘Steelmen’ in front. 

Motherwell began to take control of the game before half-time, with their tails up and confidence high they were pushing forward for that killer second goal. However, Saints were digging in well and were equal to the visitors' attacks. 

Then, 42 minutes in, the referee pointed to the spot - awarding Motherwell a penalty kick for a Kyle Scott foul on the edge of the area. Number 9 stepped up from 12 yards and struck a powerful shot left of the goalkeeper, with Kyle Thomson producing a brilliant save to push it out for a corner, keeping his side in the game. 

The first half was incredibly tight, with Motherwell just edging it. Thomson’s penalty save was the most crucial action of the first half, and Saints remained well in the match. 

Half-Time St. Johnstone 0-1 Motherwell

Saints started the second half on the front foot, and were now pushing a lot of bodies forward in search of the equaliser. After Adam McMillan was fouled on the edge of the box, the hosts had a free-kick in a dangerous area. Bayley Kilmionek stepped up and drilled a low strike towards the bottom left corner, stinging the palms of the keeper who just managed to keep it out.

54 minutes into the game and St. Johnstone won a corner on the right hand side after a shot on goal was deflected behind. A dangerous Scott Bright delivery into the area caused problems for Motherwell, and they could not clear their lines, with the ball striking the hand of a defender

The referee had no choice but to point to the spot, and whilst Saints were preparing to take the spot kick, a second yellow card was issued to Motherwell’s number 3, who was subsequently sent off.

Kilmionek then converted from the spot, blasting a powerful strike into the left side of the goal, the keeper dived the correct way but had no chance of saving it, with the ball nestling in the back of the net. St. Jonstone were now on level terms and had an extra man on the park.

Saints were pushing for the goal that would put them in front. Bright’s set piece deliveries were causing the Motherwell backline headaches all game, and 65 minutes in a corner from the right almost bent directly into the top corner of the goal, unfortunately for him it landed on the roof of the net. 

66 minutes into the game and St. Johnstone grabbed that elusive goal to push them into the lead. An inviting cross into the box flashed across the face of goal, and landed at Jackson MylChreest, who struck the ball back across the goalkeeper and into the back of the net. Saints had turned the game around. 

Bright was on top form, running the length of the pitch and winning a free-kick around 25 yards from goal. Mylchreest took the resulting set piece, but his effort was blocked by the wall. 

Now a goal and a man down, Motherwell were throwing bodies forward in a last ditch attempt to rescue the game. This created St. Johnstone plenty of space in behind, opening the game up for both sides. 

Things went from bad to worse for Motherwell, who received their 2nd red card of the game 76 minutes in. McChrystal was driving with the ball at the half-way line and was pulled down by number 16, who received his marching orders from the referee. 

The drama did not stop there however, despite being down to 9 men Motherwell had a second wind and were throwing bodies forward, with nothing to lose now. 

After number 7 was pulled down on the edge of the box the referee awarded the Lanarkshire side a free-kick. Number 20 stepped up to take and unleashed a wonder strike, smashing the ball into the top right corner of the goal and levelling the scoring, with just 6 minutes of normal time to go.

St. Johnstone had a chance to steal a late winner in the 90th minute, with Filip Franczak playing in Mylchreest, who took a touch and attempted to strike past the goalkeeper from a tight angle. His effort was easily gathered by the keeper. 

The game then went straight to penalties, with the Cup Final being decided in the most nerve wracking way possible - a penalty shootout. 

Full-Time St. Johnstone 2-2 Motherwell 

The penalty shootout was an enthralling and nail biting contest. 

St. Johnstone had their first penalty saved, with McChrystal’s effort being well saved by the opposition keeper. Both sides then converted all of the next 8 penalties, taking the score to 4-4.

Motherwell had a chance to win with the last spot kick before sudden death. However, St. Johnstone keeper Kyle Thomson had other ideas - pulling off an incredibly save when it mattered most, diving left and clawing it out. The teams remained on level terms. 

St. Johnstone now looked confident, converting their next 2 penalties with aplomb, with Motherwell scoring their next one too. It all came down to the 14th penalty of the shootout with Number 6 stepping up from 12 yards. Thomson dived left once again, guessing the correct way and saving it. 

Saints had done it! The Youth team erupted in celebration, as they became this years champions of the Scotland Cup. 

An incredible result, with a great team performance absolutely earning the victory in the end. Kyle Thomson came up with the goods in the shootout, being the hero for his side as they lifted the trophy. 

Penalty Shootout: St. Johnstone 6-5 Motherwell 

Saints youth cup win staff

Alistair Stevenson Interview: 

AS: “Well I thought it was a great game, thats the first thing it was a brilliant game - end-to-end. I thought Motherwell were terrific in the first half, after we started well they came into it and played really well.

“I felt that in the second half we started to earn a wee bit of respect and we started to play really well, and I felt quite confident when we got back to one-each that we might go on and even win it. It looked like thats what was going to happen, but all credit to Motherwell when they went down they never stopped and they came back into it.

“I was very proud of them, I thought they played terrific, proud of all the staff and it’s a great thing for us, a great thing for St. Johnstone - being able to win a national youth cup, which cannot be taken away from us now. 

“The penalty shootout was excellent, you know it was exciting, it was up, it was down. 

“My Goalkeeper has just been outstanding, he’s a top top Goalkeeper and to save two in a penalty shootout but also to save one in the 90 minutes is terrific, and to be fair to my players I think they kept their composure really well. 

“For the future of the club it’s great to see some young players playing at that level, and playing with an attitude and a will to win”

Match Report - Samuel Porritt

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