The Marshall Cup final looks to be a “David vs Goliath” scenario, as J Clenaghan League champions Dundee United SC take on bottom side Arbroath Lads. DUSC will be looking to end a remarkable season on the highest of highs, while Arbroath are looking to produce one of the shocks of the season and take home the silverware.
Ahead of the final, YFS caught up with Arbroath manager Les Bates and DUSC boss Steve Maloney to find out about their preseason aspirations, roads to the final and their previous meetings.
Here’s what they had to say:
Arbroath finished their Diamond Jubilee Cup group campaign with two wins, which earned them their spot in the J Clenaghan League.
Manager Les Bates admits that the league format has been tough for his players. He said, “In my own opinion the league is too small with only 14 league games to our season, the method behind it of dividing the teams was correct but we would prefer more league games.
“Our aim was to be as competitive as we could with our small squad whilst learning the huge step up from seven-a-side to 11-a-side.”
Arbroath have thrived in the cup competitions this season, with a 9-3 win over Dundee West Reds and a 5-3 win over Broughty Panthers securing their place in the final.
Bates is delighted with how his side have played in the cup. He said, “Our best form has come in the cup.
“The Dundee West game, despite the score, was a hard game and the team had to work hard for that win as was the game against our good friends Broughty Panthers, the game was end to end but we held it together to reach the cup final.”
With only one win in the league this season and two defeats in their previous meetings with DUSC, Bates knows his side will have to be at their best to bring the cup back to Arbroath.
He said, “We go to the final looking to give a good account of ourselves, if the team can produce a performance on the day and we try our hardest then I’ll be pleased with that.
“Our two worst performances of the season have come against DUSC. We have had our moments against them but some reason we haven't played well against them, we hope that changes in the final.”
Ahead of their big day, Bates had this message for his side.
“Go out and express yourselves on the field, enjoy it but work hard for the team. You should all be proud of yourselves for making it to the cup final.”
Dundee United SC
After a strong showing in the Diamond Jubilee Cup group stages, Dundee United SC found themselves in the J Clenaghan League. From their they went from strength to strength, clinching the league title with a 3-2 win over Newtyle.
Manager Steve Maloney explains how his side have exceeded all expectations this season. He said, “This has exceeded our expectations this year, as we originally set out to simply find our feet in 11-a-side.
“We didn’t have many friendlies before the season started and wanted some consistency, which is something we still need to achieve.”
DUSC’s run to the final started with a 5-2 win over Brechin, before they defeated St Andrews Colts 6-2. Maloney admits that their run to the final hasn’t been as straight forward as the results suggest.
He said, “The scores probably flatter us, as both games were very tight, and we were behind in both games. The St Andrews game it was actually 2-2 with 10 minutes to go before we finally rallied together.”
Despite 9-3 and 9-1 wins in their two previous league meetings, Maloney knows that Arbroath can cause them problems in the final.
He said, “Arbroath are a steady team and despite our wins, we will certainly not be taken anything for granted. Our players know they can play good football, but this is a cup final and things are different.
“In recent weeks we have not dealt great with pressure as we were looking for another win to clinch the league.
“The cup final is a pressure game and a worry for us. But hopefully with the league now secured, we can relax a little and enjoy the occasion.”
Ahead of their big day, Maloney had this message for his players, “We know we play some great football at times and to be able to come away from the final successfully we need to work hard as a team and give the opposition respect.”