A superb late flourish from Antonine helped them secure a place in the final of the Scottish Cup with a 2-0 win over rivals Tynecastle.
In what was a tense match that looked that it was heading for extra time, it was goals from Andy Gavin and David Seagrave that made the difference for the side from Clydebank.
Tynecastle were left rueing the chances that they spurned in the first half including a penalty that was spectacularly saved by Antonine goalkeeper Paul McKenna.
But it was Antonine who were clinical in closing out the game and as Seagrave was mobbed after tapping in his side’s second, it was clear to see how much making another Scottish Cup final meant to the players.
Conversely, while Antonine celebrated, Tynecastle looked dejected, their players lying on the pitch knowing how close they had come.
The match was decided upon fine margins from the first minute. Tynecastle, after having won a free kick on the right, had a goal ruled out for offside; Sonny Swanson, who headed the ball down into the net, was adjudged to have made his run too early.
Antonine were just as close to taking the lead soon after. Ryan Forrester beat his man on his left wing before firing a fierce cross into the box. The keeper, Chris Burt, came but missed the ball, leaving the goal wide open but Andrew Nixon couldn’t connect with the header as it ran out for a throw.
After such a frenetic start, the game fell into a bit of a lull with both sides finding it difficult to pass it through midfield. Tynecastle, however, were able to find outlets on their wings; through Swanson on the left and Cameron on the right.
Swanson in particular was always an option with a ball over the top and he caused problems with his pace and dribbling. Indeed, if he found the unmarked man after leading a counter on the left, Tynecastle could have taken the lead.
Then Cameron threatened by beating a couple of men on the right side before driving into the box, his shot was blocked and Ryan Mayer, who latched on to the rebound, volleyed over.
Tynecastle were awarded the penalty midway through the first half. Scott Hay did well to win possession in midfield before switching the ball out wide to Cameron and then making a run into the box to receive the one-two. Hay then cut it back to Mayer who was tripped.
Mayer picked himself up to take the penalty. His strike was good but the save was even better; diving to his right, McKenna instinctively raised his left hand to palm the ball over the bar. A save to fit the occasion.
McKenna was called into action again soon after. A lofted ball played in Mayer, setting up another dual between the midfielder and the goalkeeper, but McKenna was out quick, making himself as big as possible to deny the shot. Antonine failed to clear and it fell to Mayer again, who this time dragged his shot wide of the left post.
Antonine responded well and carved out a glorious chance of their own. After Tynecastle cleared the ball, Seagrave won a header to send it back into the box. It beat the Tynecastle defence and fell to Nixon whose left foot lob went over the keeper, but crucially went wide of the post.
The second half was cagier than the first with neither team wanting to make a mistake. Aside from another chance which fell to Nixon in the opening stages, both teams kept it tight and reduced any opportunities for the opposition. Nixon had been released on goal thanks to a driven Seagrave pass from deep, but Burt did well to rush out and save.
The period after half time brought with it a couple of tactical changes. The dangerous Swanson was taken off for Tynecastle while Seagrave was pushed further forward into the number 10 position.
Tynecastle immediately didn’t look as threatening, while Antonine started to take control. Aaron Graham on the right wing found some space for the first time and sent in a couple of dangerous crosses; both into great areas but both defended well by Tynecastle.
There was nothing that Tynecastle could do , however, about Graham’s next cross. Antonine were awarded a free kick on the right side and Graham’s curled ball found the perfect position near the back post. It was met by centre half Andy Gavin who rose highest to head the ball down into the ground and up into the top right corner.
With only 10 minutes left, Tynecastle needed to respond but they were faced with the challenge of overcoming a resolute defence. Gavin, now back in his own box, had to make a vital clearance when the ball threatened to fall to a Tynecastle player in a dangerous position.
But Antonine seemed comfortable in the lead and even looked more threatening. From a short corner on the left, Scott Holms received the ball on the corner of the box before clipping the top of the bar with a curling shot.
Moments later, Antonine scored the clinching goal. With players thrown forward in search of an equaliser Tynecastle were short at the back. A slip allowed Daryl McMillan to take the ball, turn and fire a low shot on target. Burt did well to dive to his left and push it away, but only towards the onrushing Seagrave who tapped in to seal a place in the Scottish Cup final.
Original Report: http://www.youthfootballscotland.co.uk/gots/item/18922-antonine-s-late-show-seals-scottish-cup-semi.html