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Last gasp Walsh goal seals Scottish cup for Longniddry in thriller against Falkirk

Falkirk FC Foundation Blue 1

Fagan 38

Longniddry Villa 2

Dixon 35, Walsh 80+3
  • Sunday, 20 May 2018
  • Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie
  • Under 15´s
  • Scottish Youth FA Cup

In the last of seven Scottish Cup finals of a marathon weekend, Longniddry Villa met Falkirk Foundation Blue in the eagerly anticipated 2003s final.

It was a fairy-tale moment for Longniddry to find themselves in the Scottish Cup final, their first, and they had certainly exceeded expectations, but they had more than deserved to be in the final.

In their run to the final, Longniddry had a relatively comfortable run, with wins including 7-2 over Portobello CFA in the second round and 5-2 over Stenhousemuir BC round four. However, the most difficult games came in the quarter final  against Celtic BC, which finished 2-2 after extra time and Longniddry prevailed 5-4 on penalties. In the semi-final they narrowly defeated Tynecastle 1-0 to reach the final.

Falkirk will also be delighted with their cup run, as they have juggled it with a successful league campaign so far in which they have only lost two games and sit third with games in hand.

Falkirk’s run was simlar to Longniddry in terms of their biggest challenge being in the semi-finals. The run included a 10-1 win over Wishaw in the first round and a 9-2 win over Musselburgh in round four. In the semi-final they were pushed all the way by Johnstone Burgh but prevailed 2-1 after extra time.

Longniddry kicked the game off, playing in light blue with Falkirk in all black, and the match began at a good pace as both sides wanted to set a marker down early.

Jack MacDonald, who looked lively early on, had the first strike of the afternoon for Longniddry but his left-footed strike sailed over the crossbar.

The first good chance of the match fell to Falkirk’s Euan Hunter who, after some great work from Liam Fagan to square the ball back, missed his shot completely from only eight yards out.

Despite this early chance for Falkirk, it was the team from East Lothian who started the match stronger, as they were dominating possession and causing their opponents problems.

After ten minutes Falkirk began to get a grip of the game and put some pressure on their opponents, winning three successive corners but nothing was to come of them.

Halfway through the first half and the game had become somewhat scrappy, as loose passes from both teams had resulted in the game simmering down.

A well worked free-kick from Longniddry on the edge of the box allowed Euan Donaldson some space on the left-hand side, but his cross was well punched away from Gregor Fullerton.

Longniddry produced another good opening and perhaps Aiden Walsh should have done better as his strike from only ten yards out was well saved by Fullerton.

From the resulting corner a flick on at the near post gave Matthew McMillan a great chance to open the scoring but he couldn’t quite reach the ball.

Longniddry’s good pressure at the end of the first half was rewarded as they took the lead five minutes before halftime. A mistake at the back from Falkirk resulted in MacDonald going clean through on goal, his initial effort was well saved by Fullerton but the ball fell to Ben Dixon who finished well to put his team in front.

Falkirk equalised only minutes later and it was a mistake from the Longniddry goalkeeper that handed them the goal. Michael Beattie’s long free-kick looked comfortable for Sam Capes but he dropped the ball onto Fagan who inadvertently equalised for his side.

In what was otherwise a quiet first half, it was a manic end to it and the sides went into halftime in the final level.

  • Half Time:
  • Falkirk FC Foundation Blue
  • 1-1
  • Longniddry Villa

Both teams looked lively at the beginning of the second half, as they were still on the high of the end of the first half, but Falkirk may have had slightly more momentum.

The magnitude of the occasion was sure to hit the players at some point in the match, and maybe it would have more of an impact in the second half as the minutes ticked down.

Harris MacDonald had the first chance of the half, and he created it all on his own. His control from a high ball at the edge of the box was excellent and his strike on the half volley was powerful but it was straight down the throat of Capes.

Longniddry were frustrated with a few decision going against them in the second half and this gave Falkirk a bit of momentum with their opponents struggling to get their foot on the ball.

Both managers made alterations to their sides to try and change the patter of the match and give their teams added impetus in attack.

Falkirk were beginning to look dangerous and, in their attempts to turn the game on its head, Liam Johnston had a great chance to score after a good pass from Hunter but his left-foot strike was expertly saved by Capes

The team in all black had another great opportunity to score, as it seemed to be wave after wave of attacks on the Longniddry goal. This time it was substitute Sandy Binnie who was denied by Capes in goal, as both sets off goalkeepers were having excellent afternoons.

Falkirk were getting more and more space in the middle of the park, and it was Fagan who benefited from this at the edge of the area, but his cushioned pass was ever so slightly too heavy for his onrushing team-mate to capitalise on after an hour of play.

Completely against the run of play, Aiden Walsh almost put his side in front with a fantastic header which he flicked onto goal, but it was brilliantly saved by Fullerton to deny Longniddry an unlikely second goal.

It was still level with only ten minutes to go and although each side were desperate to score the winning goal, they were equally desperate not to make that mistake that could cost their team the trophy.

Johnston was the player who tried to win the match for Falkirk with a lung busting run, as he skipped by several players, but he was pushed wide, and he could only hit the side netting with his shot.

Both sets of players were certainly beginning to tire as extra time loomed, as they had put in an incredible effort throughout the final but there was to be one final twist.

The ball broke to Walsh in the Falkirk box after a good long ball forward. His first touch was excellent, it put him through on goal with the goalkeeper, albeit at an acute angle. Walsh kept his composure incredibly well and he finished smartly past Fullerton to spark wild celebrations for players and fans alike.

Walsh received a yellow card for his exuberant celebration, but I am sure he wasn’t bothered one bit as only minutes later the referee blew the full time whistle and the different in expression in both sets of players was stark.

You have to feel sorry for Falkirk who had put so much into the game but it was Longniddry who completed the fairytale story to life the Scottish Cup and these boys will remember this one for as long as they live.

  • Full Time:
  • Falkirk FC Foundation Blue
  • 1-2
  • Longniddry Villa

Lineups

Falkirk FC Foundation Blue
Longniddry Villa
1. Gregor Fullarton
2. Michael Beattie
3. Alistair Fraser
4. Lewis Hoggan
6. Calum McAuslan
7. Lewis Aitchison
8. Matthew Heenan
9. Sandy Binnie
10. Harris MacDonald
11. Kyle Russell
12. Liam Fagan
14. Steven Marshall
15. Euan Hunter
17. Liam Johnston
1. Sam Capes
2. Adrian Kulik
3. Euan Donaldson
5. Dylan Dickie
6. Adam Matthews
7. Jack MacDonald
9. Lewis Inglis
10. Calum McGowan
11. Aiden Walsh
12. Anthony Kearney
14. Aaron Barbour
15. Harvey Thomson
16. Matthew McMillan
17. Ben Dixon
18. Damian Konawalski
19. Murray Wilson
Star Player
Falkirk FC Foundation Blue
Longniddry Villa
The star player for Falkirk was Liam Fagan, who dominated the game for his team in midfield and looked dangerous going forward too. He creating several chances for his team and, although he might not have known a lot about it, he grabbed the equaliser just before halftime for his side.
The star player for Longniddry was Aidan Walsh, who was lively from the off with some good movement and hard work rate throughout the final. He may have been slightly disappointed that he didn't grab a goal from his chances in the first half but he wasn't caring about that at all when he scored what turned out to be the winning goal deep into stoppage time. Perhaps, a star player for the future was born.
Magic Moment
Falkirk FC Foundation Blue
Longniddry Villa
The magic moment for Falkirk had to be their equaliser from Fagan, which gave them good momentum going into the second half, but it was not to be.
The magic moment for Longniddry was, of course, their last gasp winning goal from Aiden Walsh that sealed the cup. They had put an incredible amount of effort into the final and they were overjoyed as the winning goal was scored.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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