Hillfield Swifts 19s coach Stevie Barry wants to see more consistency from his side after they upset the odds to beat Hutchison Vale 19s 5-3 at Meggetland.
The hosts stormed into a shock 4-0 lead at half-time thanks to a brace by Daryl Healy and a goal each by Aidan McGuire and John Francis. It was a tale of two halves, however, with Hutchie controlling the second 45, scoring three goals and almost taking away a point.
Healy had the final say though, scoring his third with a neat finish late on.
“We want to take this forward and build on it. This team can go far, there’s a lot of a quality in it. They just need to believe in themselves,” said Barry.
“We played some good football and went into a strong lead at half-time. A bit of slackness came into our game in the second half but we finished strongly and saw the game out.”
The visitors started the brighter of the sides, Hillfield goalkeeper James Donaldson making good saves to keep out Dean Robertson’s long-range shot and tipping over a goalbound effort by Craig Williamson.
By the 20th minute, the home side began establishing themselves, winning midfield battles and looking to get down the channels.
With the Hutchie defence standing firm though, it was hard to see where goals were going to come from. However, out of nothing Hillfield found an opening goal. A hopeful ball upfield looked to be easily dealt with by the Hutchie rearguard, but Healy robbed the ball from a defender and fired in at a tight angle.
Hutchie were shell-shocked and Hillfield took full advantage, scoring two more quick goals. First, Aidan McGuire got in front of his marker to head in from a well-taken corner. Then, after winning a free kick 25 yards from goal, John Francis struck a sweet, curling effort high into the Hutchie goal.
With the referee about to blow for half-time, Hillfield conjured up a fourth to put themselves firmly in control of the game. Ryan Barry bombed down the right-hand side and crossed to Healy, who struck a clean half-volley into the far corner for his second of the afternoon.
The second half featured an improved performance by the visitors who had been nowhere near their best. With a mountain to climb, Devin Burnside almost gave Hutchie something to celebrate five minutes after half-time, but his free kick flew marginally over the crossbar.
Hutchie had finally settled 60 minutes in and a couple of quickfire goals put them closer to taking something from the game. A corner from the right-hand side found Adam Forrest and he skilfully volleyed in from close range.
A matter of minutes later, Hutchie were awarded a penalty after Jonathan Grotlin was fouled just inside the area. Williamson took responsibility for it and found the bottom right corner to make it 2-4.
Into the final ten minutes, the visitors pushed high up the field in search of two more.
Inevitably, though, it left them vulnerable defensively and Hillfield punished them with their fifth goal.
On the break the ball was brought forward by Yousaf Asam. He split the Hutchie defence with a pinpoint through ball which Healy chased and slotted into the goal.
There was still time for Hutchie’s Aaron Mitchell to score an exquisite long-range effort that flew into the top corner, but it was merely a consolation for the visitors in a highly entertaining league encounter.
Hillfield Swifts 19s: James Donaldson, Marcus Hall, David McNamara, Alisdair Wallace, Mark Higgins, Aidan McGuire, Daryl Healy, Yousuf Asam, Brodie Hamilton, Blair Springhall, Cameron Cook, Ryan Barry, Euan Aitken, John Francis, Scott Russell.
Hutchison Vale 19s: Chris Thomson, Scott Page, Frankie John Bee, Adam Forrest, Joseph Oluwatobi Wuya, Dean Robertson, Devin Burnside, Rhys Surgeon, Ryan Hutchison, Aaron Mitchell, Daniel Smith, Craig Williamson, William Kerr, Jonathan Grotlin.