|x||2||Blair Bateman (u20)|
|x||3||Ryan Milne (u20)|
|x||4||Danny McAlistair (u20)|
|x||6||Michael McGaraghan (u20)|
|x||7||Dylan O’Hagan (u20)|
|85||x||10||Conor McAteer (u20)|
|78||x||11||Cammy McKay (u20)|
|45||12||Ciaran Struthers (u20)|
|78||14||Josh Devine (u20)|
|85||15||Mark Anthony Byrne (u20)|
Colts travelled to a wet and windy Dalkeith Sports Campus to face the highly rated Lothian Thistle in the semi final of the League Cup. Lothian had won group A with maximum points whilst the young Colts qualified as runners up in Group B. Added to this was the fact that Lothian Thistle had also defeated the Cumbernauld side in early September, leaving Broadwood Stadium with a 2-1 victory.
Colts kicked off with a strong wind at their backs but failed to find any rhythm to their play, struggling with the poor underfoot surface. Lothian Thistle started the brighter of the two sides and had the better of the early exchanges although rarely troubled Giles in the Cumbernauld goal.
With 22 minutes on the clock, the Colts took the lead somewhat against the run of play. Good work by Fergus on the left saw him waltz passed the defender and deliver a low, dangerous cross into the box. O'Hagan surprised everybody as the midfielder ran into the goalmouth and neatly tucked the ball into the net.
This saw a massive change in the pattern of the match and the Colts forced their way forward and started to create a number of openings. McAteer was unlucky to see his lobbed shot hit the post and another attempt moments later saw the Lothian Thistle keeper pull of a fine save.
With 30 minutes gone, the Colts went further ahead. McKay delivered an inswinging corner that Lothian Thistle failed to clear and McGaraghan was on hand to volley the ball home from six yards.
Colts continued to push forward and were awarded a free kick some 35 yards from goal. They pushed up their tall defenders and this positive move was rewarded when McAllistair met the incoming free kick and bulleted a superb header into the roof of the net. The game continued in the same vein although there was no more scoring.
Half time 0 - 3
The break saw Pirrie being replaced in midfield by Struthers with the young midfielder struggling with what appeared to be flu like syptoms. Some tactical changes were also made by the Colts coaching staff as they put plans in place to combat the almost inevitable Thistle attack after the break and deal with the wind which was now blowing in their face.
However as the game recommenced, the Cumbernauld side looked solid and determined not to throw away their three goal advantage. Although Thistle were enjoying good possession of the ball, they were making little impact in the final third of the pitch as the Colts defence stood firm and dealt with anything their opponents could throw at them.
As the game wore on, the Cumbernauld side gradually crept further and further up the field and began to create some fine openings. McAteer who had moved to a wide right position was seeing plenty of the ball and giving the Thistle defence a torrid time as he continually ran at them causing much concern. On one of these runs, the little striker drove into the box and withstood a rash challenge from the much bigger full back. McAteer could have easily went down but he chose to stay on his feet and cut the ball across the goal where McKay was incoming from the opposite side but just could connect with the open goal gapping in front of him.
The Colts youngsters were again creating the better openings but where dealt a self inflicted blow when McGaraghan saw red for dissent. Despite this sending off the youngsters stayed resolute and more than held their own in a tough encounter. Devine replaced the tiring McKay and moments later found himself through with only the goalkeeper to beat. The tall striker however chose to shoot early and saw his effort float over the bar. A fourth goal at this stage would have surely killed the contest.
Thistle took the resultant bye kick and moved upfield into the Colts half. Good play by their midfielder saw him slide a lovely ball through the Colts rearguard to the striker who despatched his shot low into the Colts goal. This was unfortunate for a defence that had coped well all evening only to be breached in the final minutes of the game and deny Giles a clean sheet. A further Colts substitution saw Byrne replace McAteer as they ran down the clock and book their place in the final.
Full Time 1 - 3
A fine battling team performance where everybody contributed to the end result. The team can now look forward to a Cup Final date in March 2016.