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Antonine hold nerve to lift Scottish Cup after Tynecastle thriller

Antonine FC 3

Urqhart 57, Nixon 75, Nixon 108

Tynecastle FC 3

Small 33, G. Kerr 52, J. Kerr 120+2
  • Antonine FC 3-3 Tynecastle FC (Antonine win 6-5 on penalties)
  • Saturday, 24 May 2014
  • Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie
  • Under 17´s
  • TWS Scottish Youth FA Cup - Final

Kyle Brown | YFS South East Region Journalist
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | [email protected]

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Antonine Blacks defeated twice reigning champions Tynecastle on sudden death penalties after the two sides could not find a winner after regulation not extra time. The first half was a close affair, but Antonine goalkeeper Scott Wright saved Greg Kerr's nineteenth minute penalty. However, Ciaron Small fired Tynecastle ahead shortly before half time. Six minutes after the break, Kerr made amends after he fired in his side's second. A stunning free kick from Euan Urquhart halved the deficit, and then a header from Andy Nixon sent the game to extra time.
Nixon got his second goal of the afternoon in the second half of extra time. With the game into added time, Jason Kerr's late goal sent the game to penalties. After each team had scored all five penalties, Scott Wright saved the first sudden death penalty when he denied Mark Shiel. The pressure fell on Antonine's Calum Campbell to score the winning penalty in a Scottish Cup Final penalty shoot-out, which he duly rose to by sending the ball into the top corner and his team into cloud nine.
Everything was being made of the fact that the last three Scottish Cups had been claimed by one of these sides, and of course that these two teams had played each other in the 14s and the 15s finals. Antonine won the first meeting, and Tynecastle the second, who of course then defended their title against Clydebank last year.
Both sides had saw off strong opposition en route to the final: many people indeed argue that these two sides are still the absolute very best in Scottish youth football at the 1997 age group, therefore it was only fitting that these two sides were to meet yet again in a show case Scottish Cup Final.
They walked out at Airdrie's Excelsior Stadium to a loud support, with Survivor's classic 'Eye of the Tiger' also booming out over the stadium. Their was plenty of noise coming from the stands, particularly from the Antonine sides - this all of course only adding the grandeur of the occasion. Both sides had tasted victory in this trophy - the biggest trophy their is - prior to today and both teams now were now fully focused on reigning victorious as Scottish champions yet again. Of course though, there could only be one victor at full time...
Unsurprisingly, the opening spell of the game was neck and neck, with both sides playing attractive, fluent and attacking football. Tynecastle's Jason Kerr was the first player to register a shot on target inside two minutes, however Antonine goalkeeper Scott Wright held the ball well.
Up the other end, it looked like Antonine were going to take a six minute lead when Andrew Nixon bore down on goal, however David Henderson's last gap slide tackle prevented a sure goal.
Tynecastle midfielder Ryan Mayer came close to breaking the deadlock when he tested Wright with a fine curling effort, however the goalie produced an equally fine stop when by tipping the ball over the bar.
Nineteen minutes into the 1997 Scottish Cup Final the game got it's first real talking point when Tynecastle's Greg Kerr was tripped in the penalty box. Kerr dusted himself off to take the spot kick himself just as the Antonine fans began to chant the name of their goalkeeper praying for him to be their saviour... and the goalkeeper answered those prayers by indeed saving Kerr's spot kick! An opportunity missed for Tynecastle - and they knew it.
Up the other end, Antonine rallied on the back of that penalty save. Andrew Nixon even had the ball in the Tynecastle goal just before the half hour mark, but the offside had been raised in plenty of time.
Half time was near when Tynecastle broke the deadlock. A corner from the right hand side was floated in by Liam Thomson, and following a goal mouth scramble Ciaron Small was on hand to fire home at the near post.
A great time to get the opener as the referee soon after concluded the first half - and it was Tynecastle who were only forty-five minutes away from a third successive Scottish Cup victory.
The first half was a close affair, and the second was sure to be a nervy spectacle.
  • Half Time:
  • Antonine FC
  • 1-0
  • Tynecastle FC
The second half started exactly the way Tynecastle would have dared to hope for. Seven minutes into the second half, they launched a pacey counter attack. Going two on one against the Antonine defence, Small slipped in Greg Kerr and this time the striker found the bottom corner - leaving Wright with no chance and making up for his earlier penalty miss.
Deflated, some Antonine players were already sat on the turf, whilst other Tynecastle players jumped around knowing just how close they were at that point to lifting the National trophy.
As soon as the Edinburgh side commanded a two goal lead, it was halved again almost immediately. Winning a free kick right on the eighteen yard line, the ball was given straight to right-back Euan Urquhart who was under order to shoot. The referee blew his whistle to indicate he was happy for Urquhart to take the direct free kick but it seemed that Tynecastle goalkeeper Jamie Shiel was still lining up his wall. Seizing the initiative with both hands, Urquhart blasted the ball into the opposite top corner via the crossbar to pull one back for Antonine in magnificent fashion. Game on.
Nixon had a great chance to equalise four minutes after the Antonine goal: a cut back found him at the near post but he flicked his shot just wide.
However, Nixon wasn't to be denied his goal. With fifteen minutes remaining, he got on the end of a fabulous cross to head home into the far corner, leaving Shiel with no chance. Its fair to say that the Antonine support erupted, with even the manager conducting this choir. The chants of "Andy Nixon baby were louder now than ever."
A grandstand finish between these two rivals was surely on hand.
Antonine came the closer of the two sides to scoring, but both came in stoppage time: firstly, Nixon got onto a cut back but, at full stretch, foul only manage a take shot straight at Shiel. Then, the ball sat up nicely for David Seagrave who blasted the ball towards the top corner, however Shiel tipped the ball around the post - the ball striking the side netting did manage to give the illusion the ball had went in, but alas, it did not and we were headed for extra time.
A marvellous game on the big stage. Extra time loomed, and then perhaps the dreaded lottery of a penalty shoot out. That was a long way away yet, though. Tynecastle probably edged the first half in terms of chances and possession, and it was a similar story in the second half except Antonine were the side edging their opponents. The game was a thoroughly entertaining one so far, but it was all to play for in the additional thirty minutes.
  • Full Time:
  • Antonine FC
  • 2-2
  • Tynecastle FC

The first ten minute period of extra time was perhaps the most drab affair of the entire match so far. The only real noteworthy event was a Nixon shot from a tight angle diverted for a corner, which was then cleared comfortably. However, just as the whistle was being put in the referee's mouth, Antonine's Ryan Forrester jinked inside and sent a low rasping shot off the outside of the post. Close, but not close enough as they say.

Penalties must have been on everyone's minds by now. However neither team were settling for the dreaded spot kicks and they both played through extreme fatigue in attempts to try and find a winner.

Antonine winger Gary McMonagie had the first shot at goal in the second period of extra time within seconds of the restart; however he sliced his shot well wide.

Antonine took the lead three minutes into the second half of extra time. A driven cross met the losing boot of Nixon to fire Antonine into the lead for the first time in the game. Racing into the corner flag with team mates and substitutes in hot pursuit in celebration, the trophy was surely going to be decorated in black and white ribbons for the first time in three years.

Calum Campbell should have sealed victory when he found space at a corner - although he only succeeded in tamely diverting the ball straight at Shiel with his thigh.

And that miss proved costly. With the last kick of the Scottish Cup final Jason Kerr charged into the box and turned the ball home for 3-3. Managers, coaches, substitutes alike raced onto the pitch to celebrate the dramatic equaliser that sent the game to penalties.

So we had penalties. Nominating themselves as Tynecastle takers were Craig Kerr, Jason Kerr, David Henderson, Euan Graham and Liam Howell who all duly scored. Ruaindu Clark, Kieran Hughes, Euan Urqhart, Gary McMonagie and Sam Gallagher who likewise all scored. Into sudden death, and Scott Wright saved from Jason Shiel. The chance to be a hero fell to Calum Campbell, and the left-back made no mistake and slotted the ball into the top corner.

So the Scottish Cup was indeed ribboned in black and white. Commiserations to Tynecastle, they fought bravely and in the end were unlucky to lose on the lottery of penalties. As for Antonine, credit to them for even getting the game to extra time as they were down 2-0 to a side looking for their third successive Scottish Cup victory. And of course, credit to them for winning! An amazing match, an an amazing final and an amazing show, which was dramatic from first minute to last.

Final Result: Antonine FC 3-3 Tynecastle FC (Antonine win 6-5 on penalties)


Antonine FC
Tynecastle FC
1. Scott Wright
2. Euan Urquhart
3. Calum Campbell
4. Christopher Dooley (C)
5. Liam Deane
6. Aaron Graham
7. Ryan Forrester
8. Craig Cowan
9. Andrew Nixon
10. David Seagrave
11. Blair MacPherson
12. Ruaindu Clark
14. Sam Gallagher
15. Kieran Hughes
16. Brendan Luis-Mitchell
18. Gary McMonagie

Free kicks won: 15
Free kicks conceded: 20
Corners: 9
Shots on target: 10
Shots off target: 14
Headers won: 44
Tackles won: 24
Passes completed: 132
1. Jamie Shiel (Gk)
2. David Wright
4. Matthew Quinn (C)
5. Liam Howell
6. Joseph Walker
7. Jaimie Purves
8. Jason Kerr
9. Greg Kerr
10. Ciaron Small
11. Matthew Graham
12. Mark Shiel
14. Euan Graham
16. Ryan Mayer
17. Liam Thomson
18. David Henderson
19. Lawrence Naismith

Free kicks won: 20
Free kicks conceded: 15
Corners: 8
Shots on target: 11
Shots off target: 9
Headers won: 30
Tackles won: 44
Passes completed: 152
Star Player
Antonine FC
Tynecastle FC
Aaron Graham was the creative spark for the team, showing a superb range of passing.
David Henderson put in a superb performance regardless of where he played, showing excellent versatility.
Magic Moment
Antonine FC
Tynecastle FC
Take your pick: Either of Scott Wright's penalty save, the marvellous free kick from Urquhart or the celebrations in the aftermath of the two Nixon goals. Or of course, Calum Campbell's penalty that clinched victory. All contributed to an excellent cup final.
Jason Kerr's dramatic equaliser. Superb for the neutral - this game had twists and turns all the way right to the death.
Club Views
Antonine FC
Tynecastle FC

Video interview to follow.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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