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Salvesen CFC clinched the 3rd Division League Cup after beating Edinburgh South Reds on penalties in the final on Friday night. Salvesen found themselves 3 – 1 up at one point, after goals from Butters, Stein and McGarry looked to have ended the tie. Wright had scored for South, but going into the final ten minutes of normal time they still trailed by two. There was drama to come though, as Adams and Ritchie both scored to send the tie into extra time and then penalties. Salvesen eventually came out on top winning 7 – 6 to ensure they finish the season with a double, having already been crowned league champions.
With the sun shining, the game got underway and from the offset signs indicated a good game was in store. Inside the first ten minutes South’s Chris Buchanan had smashed the ball against the bar from a vicious free kick, before Sean Butters retaliated by skipping past two defenders and whipping a dangerous ball across the box. His cross narrowly evading onrushing teammates.
Minutes later it was Butters himself who broke the deadlock after two Salvesen shots were blocked inside the box and the ricocheting ball fell to the youngster inside the six yard box. Although he didn’t appear to make clean contact, he did enough to steer the ball past Brian Taylor in goal to make it 1 – 0.
Thomas Sirn then spurned a glorious opportunity to make it 2 – 0 after a botched clearance fell to him inside the South box, and totally unmarked he dragged his shot wide. Typical of the game, it was South who went on the offensive next, and an advancing Darren Samual had to be stopped by a superb recovery tackle from Dominic Foulkes inside the box.
But despite Foulkes’ effort, South did draw level on 32 minutes from a corner. A lovely glancing header from Charlie Adams was cleared on the line, but the clearance fell to Jordan Wright who made no mistake as he powerfully hammered the ball home, leaving Mark Napier no chance.
Adams again looked dangerous as he flicked a bouncing ball over his defender but was unable to evade the covering tackle as the defence came across and Arran Fraser then went on a silky run that saw him easily evade two challenges before just running the ball out of touch. But, the end to end nature of the game then saw Liam McGarry and Jay Brown try shots from distance. Both were good efforts, with Brown particularly unlucky to see his thunderous first time strike fly just over the bar before Adams, again, responded by turning three defenders inside out and releasing a shot that was well held by Napier at his near post to signal the end of the first half.
Half Time: Salvesen CFC 1-1 Edinburgh South Red
The first half had been entertaining but with only glimpses of true quality. The teams had look evenly matched and a draw was an accurate reflection of the game to this point. The tie was still very much in the balance as the teams lined up for the second half and it would have taken a brave soul to predict what was about to ensue at Saughton Park.
It took just six minutes of the second half for Salvesen to take the lead. Ryan Stein, who had already threatened going forward with a hooked shot, was found by a searching midfield ball that wasn’t dealt with by the South defence. Stein took a touch for control before tearing down on goal and blasting the ball past Taylor in goals. The sheer power behind the shot suggested he wasn’t too pleased about having missed his initial shot, despite it being a half chance at best. 2 – 1 to Salvesen.
Minutes later it looked like South’s cup dream was crumbling as Stein was hauled down in the box and a penalty was duly awarded. The young man took the penalty himself but was unable to get the better of Taylor, who flung himself low to his left and produced a great save to keep his team just a goal down.
Charlie Adams, who had looked dangerous all game, then flicked the ball over his defender with another delicate flick before volleying the ball goalwards but couldn’t test the keeper and the striker’s frustrations became all the more apparent soon after as Salvesen broke away and managed to get the two goal cushion that the penalty should have provided.
Liam McGarry easily out ran his marker after being released from midfield and fired a shot across goal from the left of the box. McGarry provided a great finish to a strong attacking move, and looked to have effectively ended the tie, giving his side a 3 – 1 lead with 20 minutes remaining.
South looked to respond through a Chris Buchanan free kick, but his shot flew over the bar before South found themselves under the cosh again. Jordan Benzie had to run the length of the park to keep up with his man, but that’s exactly what he did before making a crucial sliding challenge in his own box. Inspiring stuff from Benzie, and soon Josh Hurd was following the example as he somehow managed to head a certain goal off the line.
It was Salvesen’s turn to feel the frustration, as despite the two goal cushion they hadn’t managed to kill off South properly due to their resilience and persistence. And, they were to rue missed chances moments later when Charlie Adams went down under a challenge in the box. Despite contact appearing minimal, the man in black - Nathan Duncan - pointed to the spot and gave the penalty. Adams took responsibility himself and dispatched the spot kick confidently to the keeper’s right hand side. 3 – 2 with eight minutes of regular time to go.
Salvesen could feel the pressure mounting and tried to respond, winning a series of corners but they came to nothing as South clearly had their tails up and had found themselves energised after the penalty. Despite looking out of it after 20 minutes of the second half, they had managed to inexplicably haul themselves back into the tie and the comeback was complete with just a minute of regular time to spare. A looping freekick found Jack Ritchie in the box and the wide-man made no mistake as he sent the ball flying into the net to spark scenes of jubilation.
Ten minutes of stoppage time was played but neither team could find the winner and the referee’s whistle brought the game to a close with the score level, meaning extra time would have to be played.
Full Time: Salvesen CFC 3-3 Edinburgh South Reds
The first period of extra time saw both teams have strong chances. Salvesen’s Dean Howden found himself one on one with Brian Taylor and the goal gaping. But Taylor flew into the challenge and his tenacity saw him pull off a stunning save from very close range.
Buchanan firstly fired another dangerous free kick goalwards that required the careful attention of Mark Napier before, minutes later, firing a left footed shot just wide of the far post. Both were strong efforts but still the score remained tied. Adams continued to look dangerous and using his signature move to dink the ball over two onrushing defenders managed to work an inch of space for himself but was just unable to keep his scissor kick shot on target as the referee brought the first half to a close.
The second period of extra time was less intense than the first, and the teams looked to be showing understandable signs of fatigue. South had Thomas Sirn to thank after a timely interception prevented Jay Brown from connecting with the ball despite his foot already being in motion. The midfielder was unmarked on the edge of the six yard box and surely would have scored had Sirn not been on hand to intervene. Dominic Foulkes had a final chance through on goal but again Brian Taylor denied him to keep his side level and to ensure the prospect of penalties was realised as the game was brought to a close.
Salvesen scored their first penalty but South’s was saved by Napier, before Salvesen failed to score their second kick and South converted to draw the score level, again. Controversy was to rear its head moments later when a saved Salvesen penalty kick had to be retaken after the keeper had come off his line, Ross Watson showing composure to tuck his second attempt home before South scored their penalty to make it 6 – 6 with only the final takers still to go. Salvesen converted to the top right of the goal and while South opted to aim high as well, the ball blazed over the bar and Salvesen bore down on goal to celebrate winning the League Cup in very dramatic circumstances – football eh?
Final Result: Salvesen CFC 3-3 Edinburgh South Reds (Salvesen CFC win 3-1 on penalties)