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The conditions were treacherous at times at Forrester High School; high gusts of wind combined with snowfall could have meant postponement, but nevertheless the under 19s League Cup clash between Salvesen CFC and Currie BC went ahead. The extra challenge of coping with the weather could have been an unwelcome distraction for the players, but both teams managed to deal with the conditions and provide an exciting spectacle for all those watching as they fought for a semi final place in the competition.
In the early stages of the game the home side were keen to make their mark on the game and they were almost gifted an early lead when Salvesen’s Daniel Brown stole the ball off the Currie centre-half only to fire a shot straight at goalkeeper Grant Steele.
After seeing some long range efforts sail over their crossbar, the away side decided to take the initiative and began playing some intelligent counterattacking football. David Gebbie picked up the ball in the middle of the park and slotted a neat ball through the defence to put in Ewan Castle. He must have thought he was through on goal but a last-ditch tackle by Salvesen’s Jamie Clunie prevented him from shooting.
Currie continued to break when retrieving the ball, and just 10 minutes later their efforts were rewarded as they took the lead in the twenty-third minute. It was the link-up play between Gebbie and Castle again that led to the goal, the former slotting the ball though to striker Castle who coolly slotted home.
Salvesen were to keen to respond however and straight from the restart they pressed forward in search of an equaliser. Shaun Williams found some space on the left flank and delivered a cross to Alexander Paget who rose above his man, but only to head the ball wide of the near post.
The home side continued to pile the pressure on and won a number of set-pieces in quick succession. The first was a corner, whipped in by Jak Townsley, which met the head of defender Bruce Gorrie, only to graze the top of the bar. Following this Salvesen won a free-kick just outside the 18 yard box. Williams stepped up to take it and produced a good save by Grant Steele who did well to anticipate the ball despite the high winds.
The conditions almost did enough to create a Salvesen equaliser. A goal kick from Cameron McCulloch ended up deep into Currie’s half. The defence struggled to get the ball away and a mix up between Steele and his centre-back gifted Williams the ball. However, the Currie goalkeeper made amends seconds later making two quick saves in succession from the Salvesen striker.
In the fourtieth minute a controversial red card was given to Salvesen’s Alexander Paget after he and a Currie player were involved in an off the ball incident following a challenge. Their heads came together and the referee judged Paget to have gone to headbutt his counterpart. Salvesen, already a goal down were going to have to come from behind with ten men on the pitch.
Currie immediately wanted to take advantage and after clever work on the flank from Fraser Butler they won a corner and it was here they extended their lead. The initial ball into the box wasn’t dealt with by the Salvesen defence and allowed Gareth Horn to poach the ball in past a stranded McCulloch.
Half Time: Salvesen CFC 0-2 Currie BC
Just 5 minutes after the restart Currie looked to have put the game to bed. Salvesen had more men forward chasing the game and so were exposed at the back. It was two versus two as Butler brought the ball forward to draw his man in before playing the ball into space for Murray Dobie to run on to. He broke from his marker and poked the ball past the onrushing keeper.
The tie looked to be over as a contest but Salvesen, on home turf, weren’t going to give up so easily against the odds. After good work in midfield from Townsley they won a free-kick on the edge of the box. It was taken short to Brown who unleashed a powerful strike which left the keeper stranded. The ball could only find the base of the post however and was cleared.
Another good corner from Townsley brought about a way back into the game for Salvesen. Jamie Clunie made a good run into the box and leapt high to head in at the near post. The momentum was now firmly with the home side as they looked to get back into the game.
Only 3 minutes later Salvesen reduced the away side’s advantage and pulled another goal back. It was their turn to show some counterattacking flair and they hit Currie on the break; the instrumental Williams hit a precise pass through to Brown and he made no mistake, holding off his man to fire home.
Currie were beginning to look more and more fragile and began making careless errors, gifting the home team possession. In the eighty-eighth minute Salvesen must have thought they had equalised. After good work down the right hand flank the ball broke to the edge of the box to Johnathon Dede who struck the ball first time only to crash against the crossbar.
Salvesen were really turning the screw, piling more and more pressure on, determined to take the game to extra-time. They were adamant a penalty should have been given in the dying embers of the game as a ball into the box hit the hand of a Currie defender. No penalty was awarded however despite player appeals.
Despite the late onslaught from Salvesen, Currie managed to hold on to win the game 3-2. They now go through to face Hillfield Swifts in the semi finals of the cup.
Full Time: Salvesen CFC 2-3 Currie BC
Rankin Laing, coach of Salvesen, said: "I thought in the second half we were all over them. Despite the sending off I think we could have taken it to extra time with a bit more luck."
Colin Macbeth, coach of Currie, said: "We always get a tough game against Salvesen so I'm pleased with that. We made it harder than it should have been in the second half."