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Return to the YFS SYFA South East Region Cup Finals Match Centre (coverage of all finals)
The final of the three South East Region Cup finals on the Saturday at New Countess Park in Dunbar was a very one sided affair, with Jordan McGraw taking the headlines, scoring 4 of his side’s 5 goals against Hillfield Swifts. The match was end to end up until the point McGraw scored his first goal. 4-0 at half time, Hillfield attempted to mount some sort of a comeback early in the second half, but it just wasn’t to be their day.
Hillfield started the brighter of the two sides, and Dylan Wilkinson lofted a free kick into the heart of the Victoria penalty box, but keeper Fraser Richardson claimed the ball well in amongst the crowd of players.
Pinball in the Hillfield penalty box, and Victoria almost snatched the lead. Kieren Watson almost able to poke the ball into the net, but big centre half Alistair Brown cleared the danger for Hillfield.
The deadlock was soon broken, as Victoria did take the lead. A wonderful cross from the right hand side from Jordan Frame, met the head of Victoria striker Jordan McGraw, and number 99 Dale Mason in the Hillfield goal could do nothing about the bullet header. Both sides evenly matched so far in this match, and Victoria grabbed the first goal. 1-0 Victoria.
Hillfield had a great chance to equalise straight from the kick off. Joshua McGonagal fired a 25 yard free kick over the bar and out of the ground onto the grass banks behind the goal.
Hillfield striker Wilkinson received the ball on the left hand side of the box, and he twisted and turned and cut in and out to shake off two defenders. However, he lacked support and attempted the shot from a very tight angle. Easily saved by Richardson.
The match was a very end to end spectacle, and Victoria at this stage could have doubled their lead. Frame on the right hand side again, whipped in a great cross, but there were no takers.
Hillfield’s talisman Wilkinson was causing the Victoria defence so many problems. He broke clear of Andrew Fraser, and appeared to be brought down inside the area, but the referee waved away his claim. From my angle, I felt it was a definite penalty.
On the counter attack, Jordan McGraw doubled his and Victoria’s lead. A ball over the top from Michael Walczowski into the feet of McGraw who’s finish was composed and he made it 2-0 to Victoria.
Their 2 goal advantage quickly became 3. Hillfield lost possession of the ball from their kick off, and Walczowski was on hand to play another great ball over the top of the Hillfield back 4, from McGraw to complete his first half hat-trick. He waited and waited for Mason to commit himself and he calmly finished into the bottom corner of the net, to make it 3-0 to Victoria.
Hillfield tried to find a quick response, and they almost did. Wilkinson was played in by Jack Matson, but Richardson was out quickly to get a touch on the ball and divert it inches wide of his post. A fantastic save by the goalkeeper, who has been rarely troubled in the first half.
If the game wasn’t over at 3-0, it definitely was at 4-0. Not McGraw this time, but he was the provider for Darren Cooke’s wonder strike. McGraw cut inside from the right hand side, and layed the ball off to Cooke, and Cooke unleashed a cracking right foot swerving shot into the top corner of the net. An absolutely brilliant strike from 25 yards out. A very comfortable 4 goal advantage for Victoria, who have took control of this game from the minute they scored their first goal.
The front two for Hillfield of Sam Glancy and Dylan Wilkinson were trying ever so hard to find a way back into the game for their side. Both players were attempting to find space for shooting opportunities to test Victoria keeper Richardson, who has only had one save of note to make so far. More a spectator than a player in all honesty.
Hillfield won a free kick to the right hand side of the 18 yard box, around 25 yards out. Euan Munro took the free kick, and it nestled safely in the arms of Richardson. A fairly comfortable save for him to make, the only consolation for Hillfield that it was a shot on target, and they forced a save out of Richardson.
Half Time came at the wrong time for Victoria, who were in complete control of the match. Half time gave Hillfield a chance to regroup and for their coach to give some words of wisdom to his players to mount a possible comeback.
Half Time: Hillfield Swifts 0-4 Victoria FC
Victoria were first to have a go in the second half. Lee Jack fizzing in a cross from the left hand side, passing the front post marker, but cleared for a corner by Brown. The corner was taken by Lee Jack, right “into the mixer” as they call it. Almost a fifth for Victoria as Andrew Laird fired over from 6 yards out. The ball came at him at such a pace, but he should have finished it. He fell to his knees with his head in his hands, looking at the ground in disbelief.
Hillfield centre half Brown took it upon himself to launch an attack for his side. A powerful run of around 60 yards ended up in him firing a very fierce shot just over the bar. Unlucky was Brown, he the centre half, almost, showing his strikers how it’s done.
Victoria almost make it 5-0, and Jordan McGraw could’ve grabbed his fourth goal. He cut inside from the left hand side, took a touch to set himself, and his curling shot crashed against the top of the bar and to Hillfield’s relief the ball was out of play for a goal kick.
McGraw did find his fourth goal soon after he rattled the bar. Niall Fitzpatrick played in McGraw and he took one touch and curled the ball into the far corner, past the helpless Mason in Hillfield’s goal. Not much of a celebration from McGraw, but I suppose scoring 4 goals in a major cup final isn’t much of a big deal.
With the game wrapped up, and cruising at 5 goals to the good, Victoria were reduced to 10 men. Niall Fitzpatrick saw red for an off the ball incident, which appeared to be a kick in the midrift of a Hillfield player.
It just wasn’t to be Hillfield’s day atall, as they had all sorts of bad luck. Players falling over their own feet, tripping over the ball, hitting fresh air shots. It isn’t nice seeing any team fold in a cup final, however credit goes to Victoria, they have taken their chances.
The Final whistle did eventually go to signal the end of what seemed to be a very long second half. Victoria took firm control of the match from the minute they scored their first goal, with Jordan McGraw putting in a man of the match performance with his 4 goals, and setting up Darren Cooke for the other. A very good day for Victoria, but a hard one to take for Hillfield.
Full Time: Hillfield Swifts 0-5 Victoria FC