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St Johns Lions roared into the next round of the Scottish Cup on Sunday 28th against local rivals, Blue Brazil, in a match where the finishing skills of the home side were the “mane” attraction.
It was cold, threatening rain, and the sky was such a flat shade of grey you would have been forgiven for thinking this was life inside a Tupperware box. Despite the inclement conditions a decent crowd had gathered at Kirkcaldy’s Windmill Park for this local derby cup clash, the rivals separated by a single point at the top of the league.
The Lions kicked off and immediately sprang into action, scoring on their first attack, Shaun Ramsay firing high into the net after Declan Whyte had been thwarted by the Brazil ‘keeper Blair Penman in their first attack.
The early setback didn’t seem to affect the Cowdenbeath boys too much, and for 15 minutes or so the game zipped along in the middle third of the pitch with lots of good, close control and passing to feet, with good displays by Aiden Lindsay and Mark McKenzie in blue, and Christopher Macher and Ryan Stewart in the green of St Johns.
It was Ryan Stewart who set up St Johns' second goal on the 21 minute mark, playing a lovely weighted pass through the centre of the Brazil defence, releasing Jack Metcalfe, who drove towards goal and slipped the outrushing ‘keeper to put the home side 2 up.
Nine minutes later it was 3-0 when Robbie Hogg was allowed too much space in midfield, and he fired a long range effort into the bottom corner of the possibly unsighted Blue Brazil keeper’s net. Mark McKenzie and Callum Smith tried to haul the Cowdenbeath boys back into the game, combining well on the left, and Callum was unlucky when none of his team mates could react quickly enough to a wonderful mazy run and cut-back, St Johns Ryan Stewart instead clearing the danger.
On the stroke of halftime the home side made it 4-0, Blair Penman in the Brazil goal unlucky to spill a shot from Christopher Macher to the feet of the lurking Declan Whyte, who slotted home to surely put the tie beyond the boys from Brazil.
Half Time: St Johns Lions 4-0 Blue Brazil
Early 2nd half exchanges saw the Cowdenbeath boys seemingly renewed in spirit, and they took the game to their local rivals but alas lacked the bite required, too often their final ball simply finding the feet of an opponent, rather than a team mate in an attacking position. And so it was only 4 minutes after the interval that St Johns extended their lead with another fine long range effort, this time from Hamish Milne, although the Brazil keeper may have been distracted by the attentions of Jack Metcalfe, foraging for scraps, or poaching as we used to call it!
There were still flashes from the visitors, Cameron Macaleavy and Callum Smith showing good touch, control and creativity, but not surprisingly they were sitting very deep as a team now, making it difficult to break out and inviting St Johns in.
It was with a certain inevitability then that the Kirkcaldy boys added a sixth and final goal on the hour, Christopher Macher slotting home as the ball fell to him following an attempted clearance by the Brazil defence. This was a miserable day for the boys in blue, and their trials were brought to an end 10 minutes later at full time, having escaped further injury.
St Johns were worthy winners on a day when they could perhaps have scored more. With only a point between these two sides in the league the Blue Brazil must count this as an off day. I’m sure they will regroup and get on with things again, but the Lions intent is clear – they’ll look to maul whoever is next up in the cup!
Full Time: St Johns Lions 6-0 Blue Brazil