Jeanfield Swifts gave a heroic performance on the pitch at Luncarty, beating a strong Letham Tangerines side 2-0 in honour of one of Perth’s own heroes, Barry Stephen. The Barry Stephen memorial cup has been conducted across Perth & Kinross throughout the last decade to commemorate Lance Corporal Barry Stephen who lost his life in the Iraq conflict in 2003.
Both teams involved did service to the occasion, resulting in entertaining and hard fought performances at each end of the pitch. The game was a very even affair with both teams making chances and having good passages of play. However, it was Jeanfield’s incisive finishing which won them the day and indeed, the cup.
The match-up began with great energy, especially from midfield. Letham were arguably on top for the first few minutes, with some very positive runs being made by number 7, Tyler Green and some impressive hold-up play by Craig McGlashan. Despite this forward-thinking play, the Tangerines couldn’t find a clear way through Jeanfield’s stalwart defence and as a result, were restricted to long distance shots. The Jeanfield midfielders and forwards did their fair share of defensive duties as well, effectively halting much of the good play executed by Letham.
This strong defensive showing eventually resulted in Jeanfield Swifts living up to their title, hitting Letham quickly on the counter. After some interesting midfield play, the ball fell to Jeanfield’s Mark Peebles on the outside of the box. Peebles controlled the ball well, before unleashing a wildly swerving shot, which sailed into the net past Letham Keeper Shaun Ormsby, who had been playing well, but no keeper could have kept out this pacey strike.
The opening goal midway through the first half, caused the game to open up considerably and the initial midfield battle was transformed into a more end-to-end affair. The referee was involved more in this part of the first period of play, with free-kicks being given to both sides. One Letham free kick came straight off the training ground with the ball being cut back and then struck first time in an attempt to find a way past the Jeanfield wall.
Both of the sides played some high intensity, fast-paced football towards the end of an evenly matched first half.