Kelburne 4XI (4) V Inverleith 3XI(4)
(Kelburne win 4-3 on pens)
The 4thXI marched into the Scottish Reserve Cup semi finals, on Sunday. Eventually going through 4-3 on sudden death penalties, after having to come back no fewer than four times, in an epic encounter against a strong Inverleith 3XI at Bellahouston.
Kelburne started the match a lot brighter than their East Coast opponents, even though they had come through a tough match only 24 hours earlier due to a fixture back log that would give Walter Smith sleepless nights!!!
With the ?burne pushing forward at every opportunity, it was only through some uncharacteristic finishing by the usually reliable Alan ?Coisty? Gillies that the scores stayed level.
Then, in their only attacks of the half, Inverleith scored twice to leave Kelburne absolutely shell shocked.
This seemed to be the signal for the Edinburgh sides defence to start showboating, which was like waving a red rag to a bull. Led by the impressive midfield general Paul Maguire, the fight back began.
All of a sudden, Kelburne were first to every ball, crunching into tackles and playing some exquisite hockey in the process.
Surely there would be goals to follow. Then right on cue, the goal appeared. After winning a penalty corner, Gillies? shot was charged down, and when the rebound fell to Maguire, he made no mistake, smashing home past the helpless goal line defence. 2-1, and Kelburne were right back in it.
With confidence and determination oozing through the Kelburne ranks, It would only be a matter of time before the home side drew level.
When the goal eventually came, it was that man Gillies, on hand to even the scores, slotting past the keeper, after latching onto a fantastic reverse pass by John Fergusson on the edge of the D.
2-2 at half time, and by now there was only one team in this match.
Inverleith came out in the second half with all guns blazing, and started to pin the 4?s back into their own half. This period of pressure was rewarded when they scored from a penalty corner, to take the lead once again.
However, this lead didn?t last long. Kelburne won a free hit on the right touchline, and when Maguire sent over his cross, it was Gillies to the rescue once again, nicking in front of the static defence, to expertly deflect the pass into the net.
By now, the game could have went either way, with play raging from one side of the pitch to the other. Then disaster struck. A loose ball was played out of the Kelburne defence, and was picked up by the Inverleith forward, who shot past keeper Malcolmson to give his team the lead once again going into the closing stages.
Then, just as the visitors thought they had won the match, Kelburne showed they had other ideas. After winning a penalty corner, the ball was pushed out, and when the first shot was charged down, John Ferguson was on hand to volley home through the crowded D, sending his team mates wild with only three minutes remaining.
4-4 at full time, and the game went straight to penalty flicks, and by now, it was down to who could hold their nerve more.
After the first round of five flicks, the scores were still tied at 3-3, with Alan ?the cat? Malcolmson saving two of Inverleith?s penalties, sudden death loomed.
Inverleith took the first sudden death flick, and Malcolmson proved yet again to be the penalty specialist, diving to his left, and pushing the ball wide to give his side a great chance to grab victory.
Then, with the pressure mounting, up stepped Hockey Legend Ian McLean, to score past the diving keeper, sending his team into the semi finals once again.
A fantastic performance from the Kelburne 4?s, who showed unbelievable character to come back from behind so many times, in a show of true grit and determination, to clinch a semi final slot next Sunday against Gordonians 3rdXI in Dundee.