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Kirkcaldy High School stunned national champions, Dunfermline High School, with a free kick masterclass to lift the Fife Cup. Liam Brown gave Kirkcaldy the lead with a superb set piece, a score which remained in tact until the break. A frantic start to the second half saw Daryl Healy equalise, Callum Geddes put Kirkcaldy back in front and Euan Aitken level the scores at 2-2. The match winning moment came five minutes from time, with Brown once again coming up trumps with an exquisite dead ball effort.
The sun was out in Crosshill as two of the heavyweights of the Fife Schools FA met in the Under 16 Fife Cup final at the home of Lochore Welfare. The pitch was bumpy and the wind was blowing diagonally across the pitch, making for tough playing conditions.
Dunfermline went into the match as favourites, having won last season's SSFA Shield and reached the latter stages of the competition this time round. Kirkcaldy hadn't entered this season's national tournament, but had excellent on the Fife scene.
Playing in black and white, Dunfermline started on the front foot, hemming their red and black opponents in their own half for the opening stages. However, Kirkcaldy saw out the early pressure and had the first shot of the came - Kieran Johnston seeing his effort deflected into the hands of the thankful Quinn Franklin.
Dunfermline were then presented with the first clear cut chance of the match. St Johnstone winger Ali McDonald was at his explosive best to show a clean set of heels to the Kirkcaldy defence, but his low effort was saved by the body of Shane Dempster, and the rebound trickled past the left post.
The boys in black and white went close again minutes later from a corner kick. Daryl Healy floated in an inviting delivery, which was bulleted narrowly wide of the post by Scott Russell.
Kirkcaldy looked dangerous at the other end and were counter attacking with pace and conviction whenever presented the opportunity. One of those breaks was brought to an end by a Dunfermline foul, giving Liam Brown a dead back opportunity for 25 yards. His effort beat the wall and was heading for the bottom left hand corner, before a strong save by the clenched fist of Franklin.
Johnston tried his luck from range again, which stung the palms of Franklin. Then it was Brown's opportunity for a second take - when he was presented with a free kick opportunity from a near identical spot to his first. This time there was nothing the Cowdenbeath FC goalkeeper could do, as the curled shot crashed in off the left hand post (click here to watch video of goal).
The goal gave Kirkcaldy a lift and they finished the half the stronger of the sides. Another Johnston effort from outside the box - this time after a half cleared corner - was plucked out of the air by Franklin. And the final opportunity of the half fell to industrious striker Callum Geddes, who latched onto a ball in the right channel, and lofted an effort narrowly off target with Franklin stranded.
Half Time: Dunfermline High School 0-1 Kirkcaldy High School
The second half kicked off with Dunfermline enjoying the wind advantage and clearly fired up to right the wrongs of the opening forty minutes. Six minutes after the break they were back on terms, thanks to a fantastic finish. McDonald was unable to pick out his man as he swept the ball in from the right, but the clearance only fell as far as Healy, who showed excellent technique to sidefoote home a volley into the right hand corner.
It was a test of character for Kirkcaldy and they responded in the best possible way. Johnston and Luke Binnington combined in central midfield and the run of Geddes was picked out. The forward showed excellent composure to drive past his marker and cheekily poke the ball into the bottom right.
The early second half drama wasn't finished there. A direct through ball into the heart of the Kirkcaldy defence and when it was misjudged, Euan Aitken pounced. The powerful forward engineered half a yard of space, before firing powerful shot which Dempster could only deflected into his own net.
It was now Dunfermline who had their tails up and they wasting no time setting about completing their comeback. Scott Hynd, Alloa Athletic's youngest ever first team matchday squad member, had the ball in the net just a minute later - but the linesman's flag had been up for some time and there was no complaints.
McDonald was next to go close for Dunfermline, missing the top left hand corner by a whisker with a powerful drive. The pressure continued and five minutes later Hynd had the ball in the back of the net again. This time he turned to celebrate but whilst the striker was mobbed by his team-mates, the referee and linesman were conferring with the end result being a Kirkcaldy free kick for a foul on Dempster.
Yousef Asam tried his luck from 25 yards as Dunfermline started to get ever more hungry for the winning goal, but Dempster was equal to his attempt. The Kirkcaldy goalkeeper couldn't get a touch onto an Aitken shot a minute later, but to his relief the effort trickled wide of the left hand post.
Having absorbed near constant pressure for the last fifteen minutes, Kirkcaldy gradually found their feet and got a foothold in the game. Brown was presented with a free kick opportunity, which missed the top right hand corner by a matter of inches. Just like in the first half, minutes after the near miss, the Kirkcaldy set piece wizard was given another chance from the same spot (click here to watch video of goal). The outcome was the same with the pink left boot opening up and sending the ball into the top left hand corner. The Kirkcaldy players went wild - having been under the cosh they were now minutes from a famous victory.
Dunfermline were stunned and threw everything but the kitchen sink at their opponents. The Kirkcaldy defence were unphased and on the counter attack, the icing on the cake was nearly applied. Geddes turned his marker inside out and hung up a cross for Connor Young. The substitute was ready to head home a certain goal, but Franklin came from nowhere to fingertip the cross to safety.
Just over a minute later, the referee's final whistle blew. An ecstatic Kirkcaldy set of players celebrated a cup victory that they will no doubt remember for many years to come. It was harsh on Dunfermline, but the only way Kirkcaldy could have won the match was through riding their luck or a piece of magic - and the boys in red had both. The final was an excellent advert for school football in Fife, and has set a hard act to follow for the other age group finals which will take place over the coming weeks.
Full Time: Dunfermline High School 2-3 Kirkcaldy High School