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A classic showdown at the Stoneyburn Juniors pitch saw Mid Calder Colts U15’s squad pick up an epic 4-3 victory over Armadale SC to lift the cup. The match saw a relentless attacking display from both sides and was contested until the very last gasp. The Colts will certainly have gone home feeling elated that they had come out champions after a final that will definitely be remembered.
After a delayed the start, the final of the WLAYFC Cup was certainly highly anticipated. It wasn’t just the fans arriving looking excited, with even the sun showing up to beam down on the proceedings. And with the goals that both teams had in store, neither fan nor sun could go home disappointed when the full time whistle sounded.
The match started quickly and furiously with Armadale SC taking the game to Mid Calder and keeping the ball in an attacking position. Grant Bell put the pressure on the Colts early with a dangerous cross and a long range effort, both coming in the first 2 minutes of the match.
And it was only 2 minutes after this that Armadale were rewarded for their quick attacking start. A classic quick break from midfield to attack saw a good ball looped into the box and met by a crashing Callum McGuire volley into the bottom left corner of the net. The cup final had already exploded into action after 4 minutes!
The Armadale pressure continued in the first 10 minutes, with Grant Bell again taking charge of the ball and firing several dangerous crosses into the area. It was a nervy start for Mid Calder and a second volley from McGuire was sliced just wide after 9 minutes. The determined tackling of Jack Hart was keeping the Colts together at the back following the Armadale goal.
All it can take to eradicate a slow start is one moment of magic. That’s exactly what happened for Mid Calder after 13 minutes of play when Mateusz Dobias won the ball in midfield and breezed past several players on the left side of the pitch. A cut in past the remaining defenders and cool bottom corner finish later and the match was level at 1-1.
Dobias inspired both teams to try their hands at midfield dribbling following his goal, trying to outsmart the opposition in the middle of the park. But the match took another twist on the 19th minute due through a deflection. An awkward bounce through the Mid Calder defence saw McGuire flying towards goal. A quick touch past Elliot Scott and the ball was again rolling into the net for 2-1 Armadale.
The match was firing on all cylinders, with the players moving end to end at rapid pace. The customary lull after a goal had never been considered by the two teams on cup final day and quite unbelievably, it was only a minute later before another equaliser levelled the match. Dobias, this time on the right side of the pitch, sailed in a long ball from way out. The keeper could hardly believe it as the long effort suddenly dipped into the top corner of the net to make to score 2-2.
Dobias was looking lethal at the beginning of the match and was one of the main reasons behind the furious start to the match. After 23 minutes, he was again in possession and was dribbling past several players. The defence stepped up to win the ball, but a pass found it’s way through to Christopher Jones who finished from close range to give Mid Calder the lead for the first time in the game.
Mid Calder certainly looked capable going forward as the half progressed and Robbie Rodgers was creating a lot of chances with an excellent display of long throws. With Connor Armitt also working his way into the box and having several attempts flash just wide, the Colts were looking to take charge.
But as the match reached the final 5 minutes of the first half, it was the run of Armadale’s Stephen Sinton which made the difference. Receiving the clever pass from McGuire, Sinton skipped quickly past his man but was brought down in the area. The penalty was given and when Bell stepped up, he made no mistake in converting the chance to level the scores at 3-3.
The match continued to go from end to end in the final minutes of the half, with Dobias looking dangerous for Mid Calder and Sinton doing the same for Armadale. McGuire may have snatched another goal at the end of the half, but a great save from Elliot Scott denied him. Scott certainly deserved the praise directed his way. Although he is generally an outfield player, it was he who bravely accepted the role between the sticks for the cup final after a goalkeeping crisis at Mid Calder.
The half time whistle brought an end to what was a high speed, thrill ride of a first half. Both teams looked enthusiastic at the football being played as they left the pitch to plot their next move.
Half Time: Armadale SC 3-3 Mid Calder Colts
The second half began with crunching challenges showing tow midfields ready to fight for control of the match. The first 10 minutes of the half saw Mid Calder still looking dangerous through Dobias and Armitt. Both players worked into the defence and applied pressure perfectly.
As ever in a final, you can never get too comfortable in attack. Armadale enforced this point with a quick break, Sinton releasing Corrigan down left side before the ball linked through to McGuire. Although his turning shot went wide, McGuire was still looking confident following his first half performance.
Both teams were edging forward in their own ways. After 17 minutes of the 2nd half chess match, it was Mid Calder who finally took back the initiative. A good creative build up from Sean Strachan saw him beat his marker before chipping the ball through to Dobias. Another quick flick past the keeper and it was Callum Smith who was there to header home and give the Colts an unbelievable 4-3 lead.
It was typical of the match that little over 5 minutes later, Armadale were facing an open net. A quick break past the defender and then the keeper from McGuire almost created another equaliser but his shot was blocked when several Mid Calder defenders leapt forward to block the shot and keep one hand on the trophy.
As the match passed the hour mark, Mid Calder certainly were not looking like relinquishing this grip on the cup. The linking football between Smith, Armitt and Strachan complimented the sweeping runs of Dobias brilliantly.
A final such as this would not have been complete without an inevitable late scramble. Armadale certainly looked formidable in attack as the match ticked towards the final whistle. Two minutes before full time and McGuire was again brushing past his man to drill a shot at goal. Another great save from Elliot Scott denied the equaliser.
McGuire’s final attempt at goal came in the 2nd minute of stoppage time as he hurtled after a long ball into the Mid Calder half. One quick touch into the air saw him loop the ball over two defenders to leave him one on one. The Colts held their breath as one and were delighted to see their stand in keeper rush out to make another fantastic block.
The final whistle sounded after a heap of late Armadale pressure, and the Mid Calder Colts finally grasped the cup. The unbelievable final had seen both sides seize the advantage with admirable attacking performances, both sides turning defence into attack at the flip of a coin. In the end, the Colts took the match just beyond their opponents and thoroughly deserve their new title as champions.
Full Time: Armadale SC 3-4 Mid Calder Colts
Grant Bell although the match had a lot of quick dribbling and counter attacks, it's still important to have a player ready to battle for the ball and take control in midfield. I felt Grant did a great job of applying pressure for Armadale. He won the ball well, played a lot of good passes and was very well positioned throughout the match.
For me, Mateusz Dobias was so dangerous throughout the entire match. He was capable running at the defence from any position and was good in front of goal when a chance came his way. He was vital in creating space for his team and openig up the opposition.