Monifieth and Pitfour will contest both of this season’s U15s cup final. Monifieth have taken the G Taylor League by storm, with only one defeat all season. Their last two outings have seen them beat Pitfour 7-2 (This preview was written before last Sunday’s fixtures) and a 9-0 win over the only side to beat them this season Dundee West.
Pitfour have been the victims of their own success this season, with their national cup runs and the winter weather leaving them with 17 games to play over the next five weeks. Despite that, they have been the side to beat in recent years, and with four trophies left to play for, they will be hoping to add more silverware to their trophy cabinet.
Ahead of the final, YFS caught up with Pitfour manager David Allan, and Monifieth boss Andy McCafferty to find out about their seasons so far, their roads to the finals and some of their potential match winners.
Here’s what they had to say:
Few teams have known the success that this group of Pitfour players have had over their football careers. 2016/17 saw them complete a domestic treble, and manager David Allan admits that last year’s success has brought more pressure this season.
“It has been challenging, especially this season as we know that as defending treble winners, teams will look to raise their game to make things tough for us.
“Whilst we have won all our games in the league so far, we have been pushed hard in a few of these games. Fortunately, we have a very talented squad of boys who know how to win games.”
Pitfour’s run to the final began with a 7-1 win over Montrose before beating Celtic Boys 4-1. A 4-3 win over Broughty Panthers in the semi-final saw them into the season’s showpiece event, and Allan was pleased with how his side navigated a tricky set of fixtures.
He said, “We have played pretty well in all these matches in patches however against Celtic they were very much in the game to the end and the score line flattered us.
“Broughty again in the semi was a tough game with us racing in to a 3-0 lead early on. However, to Broughty’s credit they fought back hard in the second half and we were glad to hear the final whistle, edging them in a seven-goal thriller.”
Pitfour are yet to take on Monifieth this season, but with four fixtures against each other over the next eight weeks, Allan is expecting a tough test.
He said, “They have performed extremely well this season so far and we expect very tough games to come. We have six games in hand over them in the league but need to win them all to get in front of them.
“At the moment, it looks like a four-horse race to the title with Monifieth, Fairmuir, Dundee West and ourselves all aiming for top spot. We all have to play each other at least once so whoever can accumulate the most points over these games should take the title.”
Ones to Watch
Andrew Allan – The defender scored twice in last year’s Dundee West Anniversary Cup final and has lead his side to four clean sheets in the league this season.
Dylan Wright – Wright is the engine in Pitfour’s midfield, with four goals to his name. A strong tackler with an eye for a pass, he will need to be at his best to help Pitfour lift the cup.
Ally Alcorn – This has been another sparkling season from Alcorn, who already has 30 goals to his name in all competitions. He scored and set up his side’s other two goals in last season’s Dundee West Anniversary Cup final and will be hoping to fire Pitfour to another piece of silverware.
Allan is hopeful that his side’s cup final knowhow will give them the edge in the final.
“We know that Monifieth will be a tough team to beat in this final as they are the current league leaders.
“However, we have played three finals over the last two seasons at North End Park and won them all. Hopefully this will stand us in good stead when play them.”
Monifieth were runners up to Dundee West in the 2016/17 Watson McInally League, and have thrived in the top flight with only one defeat in 15 matches.
Manager Andy McCafferty believes that his squad’s belief in one and other have propelled them to the table’s summit. He said, “I don’t think there have been any occasions this year where I have had to question the boys attitude or application to the games we’ve played.
“Some performances have been better than others, but the work-rate has always been there and has been key to some good performances so far this season.
“The whole approach of the team and coaches is that every week is a team effort.”
Monifieth’s cup run started with a 4-3 penalty win over Riverside before an 8-0 win over Carnoustie. Their place in the final was secured with another 4-3 penalty win, this time at the expense of Fairmuir. McCafferty was delighted with how his side navigated these ties.
He said, “Two wins on penalties in the earlier rounds of the cup shows just how competitive the league has been this year.
“I don’t think we played at our best in either of the games against Riverside and Fairmuir, however the boys are a very determined bunch having played together over a number of years and I think that determination shone through in both those games when we managed to win such tight games.
“A special mention has to go to our goalkeeper Thomas Welsh who has saved some very important penalties this year and not only that, has made vital saves in many games this season.”
Monifieth are yet to face Pitfour, but McCafferty is full of respect for the side that have dominated domestically over the past few seasons.
He said, “Pitfour are an excellent side and definitely the team to beat locally with some top players and an excellent coach."
Ones to Watch
Thomas Welsh – Welsh was the hero as Monifieth ousted Fairmuir in the semi-final, with a fine performance during the 80 minutes before producing the goods in the penalty shootout. With seven clean sheets this season, and two penalty shootout wins, Welsh is a keeper at the top of his game.
Aiden Lorente – Lorente has been in red hot form this season, with over 20 goals from midfield. He was on target when the sides met in the league and will be hoping to add to his tally and bring home the cup.
Arran Ferry – Ferry needed just two minutes to score against Pitfour when the side’s met in the league. The striker has scored goals for fun this year and Pitfour will be well aware of the problems he can cause them.
Ahead of the final, McCafferty is working to make sure the occasion doesn’t get to his players.
He said, “Whilst the boys are looking forward to the cup final, the main thing for me is that they work hard as a team and give their best on the day.
“We will treat it as just another game of football, hopefully played on a great pitch and if they can go out and pass the ball well, they have the ability to do well in the game.”