Cupar Hearts 1-2 Balgonie Scotia 1896
Well deserved victory for determined Scotia.
Saturday 7th April 2012.
Fence ‘N’ Deck Cup 1st round.
In their previous meeting, at the beginning of March Cupar Hearts ran out comfortable 3-0 winners but since then the Scotia have remained unbeaten and this continued on Saturday when they overcame a depleted Cupar squad by the odd goal in three. Confidence was high at Duffus Park after Hearts put eight past Kettle United on Thursday evening. A goal glut for the hosts was never going to be easy on Saturday against a resilient opposing defence.
This opening round tie in the Fence and Deck Cup saw Cupar Hearts enjoy the lion’s share of the early possession and with just two minutes on the clock Michael Reilly put in an effort that just went wide of the target. David Rintoul forced a corner for the home side but it was well cleared by the visitors defence. At the other end a long thrown from Greg Spence presented Balgonie with their first opportunity but Ryan Thomson fired the loose ball over the bar. Cupar won another corner that was cleared only as far as Stephen Kane who fired goalwards but it was easily dealt with by Michael Eadie in the visitors’ goal. Iain O’Leary was the first of several players to enter the referee’s book following a late challenge on Steven Mcbride. The hosts were stunned on sixteen minutes when Mark Kerr fired a shot into the body of Stephen Kane and the referee declared the ball had hit his arm and duly pointed to the spot. Greg Spence dispatched his kick low into the net from twelve yards. Cupar Hearts responded with a nice bit of play involving Iain Boylan, Barry Sibanda and Michael Reilly with the latter having a shot that was deflected out for another corner and from the resulting corner Stuart Nicoll fired in a snapshot that was again easily dealt with by Michal Eadie in the Scotia goal. The Hearts pressure was rewarded on the half hour mark when David Rintoul played in a great cross that was headed home at the far post by the prolific marksman Barry Sibanda.
The game became stretched as halftime approached with play raging from end to end and the referee was required to flourish another couple of bookings. If anybody was to take the lead going into the interval it was going to be Cupar but they failed to make their pressure count.
Moments into the second half Iain Boylan fired in a shot that was only inches too high. The hosts were making all the early running in the opening stages of the second period forcing a couple of corners but they were unable to capitalise. On fifty eight minutes a slip by the Scotia defender let in Barry Sibanda who was left with a one on one chance with Michael Eadie but his finish was blazed wildly over the bar and Cupar started to worry that the failure to grab a second goal would come back and haunt them. David Rintoul had to be replaced by Greg Honeyman after he received a blow to the face. One minute later Balgonie made their opening change of the afternoon replacing Ryan Thomson with Michael Perrie and he proved to be the super sub they were looking for when he scored the winner. He latched onto a through ball and he finished perfectly from eighteen yards to the delight of the Scotia side line.
The Hearts supporters have seen their team play much better and today their finishing was poor .They fought for an equaliser right to the end but it failed to materialise and so it was Balgonie who advance to round two.
Team: McEwan, Crawford, O’Leary, McInroy, Kane, Nicoll, Boylan, Rintoul, Simpson, Sibanda and Reilly. Subs Halley and Honeyman.