District Cup Final Grove Menziehill 2s vs Q-Bikes Kelburne 2s
Q-Bikes Kelburne 2s went into this final against a relatively unknown Grove Menzieshill side hoping to retain the cup they'd won the previous year.
It became clear after the first ten minutes with both teams evenly matched and Menzieshill arguably on top created some chances but no clear cut ones and Q-Bikes Burne' playing on the counter. With such an even game both sides knew that clinical finishing would be the difference. With that said Kelburne opened the scoring after 23 minutes with a well worked goal. Colin 'Bomber' Bryce ,making his long awaited comeback, picked up the ball in space on the right hand side after great work from Mark Ralph. Bomber then hit the ball into the D where Ewan Carmichael was on hand, sliding in at the back post to coolly beat the keeper with a well taken deflection. This goal seemed to kick 'The Hill' into gear and almost replied straight from pushback. Kelburne were sloppy on the ball and Menzieshill won themselves the first of three penalty Corners. The first of which was saved by Fergus Barrows in goals, diving to his right to save a drag flick. Menzieshill then won themselves a second corner and elected to hit the ball this time but Barrows was once again up to the challenge clearing the ball to safety. The game should've had a second goal in the 27th minute when Willie Allan found himself in space in the D but could only screw his shot agonisingly wide after being found by comeback king 'Bomber'. Kelburne were then under the cosh and it should've been all square in the 30th minute when a Menzieshill player beat two players before passing the ball on after committing the keeper, however he could only hit the post with the whole goal gaping. This rattled Kelburne who then decided to take some sting out of the game before half time. The back four of Mark Connor, Fraser Scott, Craig Walker and Connor Bain all kept the ball between them for a good number of minutes. However good pressure from the Dundee team saw them win another corner right on half time. This was once again saved by Barrows diving to his right again to save an almost certain goal and clearing the ball to safety
Half Time Grove Menzieshill 0-1 Q-Bikes Kelburne
The second half began with not much action and a lot of scrappy play. However ten minutes in that changed when good play from Ross Wallace and Andrew Duff won Kelburne a corner. Mark Ralph stepped up to try and score one of his well known drag flicks. The keeper however was well matched saving low to his right hand side. Nerves had begun to creep into the Kelburne side as Menzieshill were increasingly putting more people forward in search of a goal however the Kelburne defence as well as the heroics of man of the match Barrows in goals meant that the Hill couldn't break through. One particular highlight was when a hill forward intercepted the ball from a defender leaving him a one vs one with the keeper. Barrows was off the line and out faster than Usain Bolt to smother the danger preventing another almost certain goal. QBikes then got a killer goal after 54 minutes when Matt McGinley picked up the ball in the centre of the park and beat a couple of players before passing it on to JG Shepherd on the baseline. Shepherd then beat a player before firing the ball in where it found Andrew Duff. Duff gathered the ball, swivelled and shot to score an excellent low reverse stick shot. 2-0 to the Burne' With only 15 minutes left Menziehill knew they had to push players forward, therefore Kelburne just dropped deeper and played on the counter. The defence of Kelburne and heroics of Kelburne kept the ball out with Barrows again moping up whenever the Dundee team thought they were in. The pace of the forward line including Duff and Wallace meant that the Hill were always going to struggle on the counter and the game really should've been wrapped up with 7 minutes to go. Kelburne cleared yet another corner with Ewan Carmichael running the ball down, Carmichael then found Shepherd who quickly moved the ball onto youngster Ross Wallace. This then created a 3v1 on the Hill defence with so many players forward. However the young Wallace tried to beat the defender for pace when it should've been passed on to Duff or Shepherd and the experience of the defender fouled him meaning his team could reorganise. Nevertheless the game was wrapped up when once again Kelburne found themselves on the counter and McGinley unselfishly passed the ball the Duff who was then illegally taken down resulting in a penalty stroke for Kelburne. Duff stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way in the last action of the game and secure a convincing but flattering 3-0 victory for the Paisley side and therefore producing a successful cup defence.
Full time Grove Menzieshill 2s 0-3 Q-Bikes Kelburne 2s
Kelburne will now go in search of the double as they look to claw back points on their rivals in their league to win in once again
A special mention to the umpires and technical officials who were excellent on the day as well as a Menzieshill team who on another day could've won, if it wasn't excellent defending from Kelburne and a keeper in the form of his life as well as clinical finishing from the Kelburne forwards
Furthermore, on behalf of Q-Bikes Kelburne, this trophy was dedicated to the life of Gerry Ralph, a club stalwart, who unfortunately lost his battle with cancer earlier this year