South Lochaber seal sud­den death vic­tory

The Oban Times - - Sport -

SOUTH Lochaber This­tle (SLT) won the Chal­lenge Cup fi­nal last week­end with a heart-stop­ping, sud­den death penalty shoot out in Glas­gow.

The fi­nal was played at Green­fields, Shet­tle­ston United’s ground in Glas­gow, and the Jags knew op­po­nents New­shot well, hav­ing played them five times al­ready this sea­son.

In the open­ing ex­changes, it was the High­landers who looked the bright­est, with the com­fort­able foot­balling skills of John Trea­surer, Kieron and Stephen Lopez and Dave Forbes mak­ing the de­fen­sive-minded New­shot team look leaden footed and slug­gish and need­ing to give away nig­gling fouls to dis­rupt the rhythm of SLT.

It was one of these fouls which al­lowed Forbes to cre­ate the open­ing goal, loft­ing a free kick to the back post. The New­shot keeper went low to his left and had the ball in his hands, only to spill it into the path of winger Marty Munro who slot­ted the ball home.

Into the second half, things took a turn for the worse for the Pais­ley out­fit when skip­per Danny Mack­in­tosh gath­ered an­other pass from Forbes, burst into the box and - af­ter hav­ing had his ini­tial ef­fort saved - shuf­fled his feet to score the re­bound; 2- 0 to the Jags.

In re­sponse, New­shot made a raft of sub­sti­tu­tions and shuf- fled both their for­ma­tion and tac­tics. This paid div­i­dends for them when a rare lapse in con­cen­tra­tion al­lowed the New­shot striker to hit a spec­u­la­tive ef­fort from the edge of the penalty area to re­duce the deficit.

The game now en­tered a pe­riod of con­tro­versy with a chal­lenge which left goal­keeper Ryan Hunter with a cut face was only given a yel­low card and sev­eral other chal­lenges go­ing un­pun­ished.

With the clock count­ing down, the of­fi­cial in­di­cated three min­utes ad­di­tional time. It was as the match en­tered its sixth minute, how­ever, that New­shot used their favoured tac­tic of long throws into the box to score a scrappy, loop­ing header that broke Lochaber hearts with the last kick of nor­mal time. 2-2. Con­tro­versy con­tin­ued in added time when Mack­in­tosh again out­foxed the de­fender, mov­ing the ball away and be­ing scythed down in the box.

The ref­eree’s as­sis­tant fu­ri­ously flagged for the foul, but the man in the mid­dle waved it away. The game ended and pro­gressed to a penalty shoot out.

New­shot had won the toss and opted to take the first penalty. Hit strongly, Hunter got a hand to it but it still went in. 1- 0. The teams then traded penal­ties, Mack­in­tosh, Andrew MacLean, Trea­surer and Munro all slot­ting home and Hunter of­fered a first glimpse of vic­tory with a cat like leap to keep out New­shot’s third ef­fort.

Sadly a missed penalty by Lewis Mor­ri­son left the fi­nal score 4- 4 af­ter the five penal­ties. In in­spi­ra­tional form, Hunter dived low to his left and kept out the New­shot player’s flac­cid fin­ish and Dar­ren Dun­can stepped up and made no mis­take, his clin­i­cal fin­ish send­ing the play­ers, back­room staff and trav­el­ling sup­port­ers into ec­stasy. Man­ager Alan Gray said: ‘If you’d told me when we started the club last June that we’d be lift­ing a tro­phy come the end of the sea­son, I wouldn’t have be­lieved you.

‘It’s tes­ta­ment to how much time, ef­fort and com­mit­ment has been put in by the lads; both on and off the park over the sea­son that we lifted the shield to­day.

‘I want to thank ev­ery­one in­volved, play­ers, back­room staff and im­por­tantly our sup­port­ers, who turned out in num­bers and sung and cheered our boys to vic­tory.’

The Kinlochleven-based club, formed less than a year ago by man­ager Alan Gray, will fin­ish second in the West of Scot­land Am­a­teur league, Scot­land’s old­est am­a­teur league cham­pi­onship, and have won their first sil­ver­ware. They have the chance to add to this tally with an­other cup fi­nal to be played on Satur­day June 10.

South Lochaber This­tle cel­e­brate their Chal­lenge Cup vic­tory.

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