Holders Hearts down and out.

Thursday 19th April 2012.

Semi-final Fife Cup.

Cupar Hearts failed to make it to the Fife Cup final for a fifth time in six seasons when they were defeated by league opponents Strathmiglo United. Cupar made some positional changes with their captain Charles Anderson on the side lines with a hamstring injury. Straight from the kick off Strathmiglo pressed forward and it was easy to see that Woods would be their danger man as he tested the Hearts ‘keeper in the first minute. In reply Iain Boylan saw his low drive cleared. Woods was soon threatening the Hearts defence again and his effort was put behind for a corner kick by Steven McEwan. Cupar Hearts managed to gain a couple of corner kicks after 10 minutes play but Barry Sibanda eventually headed over. The midfield was dominating the play and Hearts were struggling to keep possession. Cupar came close to getting the opener on 18 minutes when Barry Sibanda headed down from a Stephen Gilfillan corner but Gibson just managed to stop the ball crossing the line at the foot of the post. As the half wore on any efforts on goal came from distance. Leishman for Strathmiglo effort went wide then Iain Boylan for Cupar saw his strike go well wide. Just before the break Cupar’s Stuart Nicoll made a good run but his shot from long range was again wide.

The Hearts supporters were hoping for a much improved performance in the second half but they were to be bitterly disappointed as they watched their opponents being the more dogged and determined side. When Cupar Hearts did break forward they were too often caught offside. Stuart Nicoll fired another shot from distance over the bar and then at the other end a corner kick by Strath’s Wood caused panic in the goalmouth but the ball was eventually scrambled clear. One of Cupar’s better moves after 65 minutes involving Boylan and Gilfillan almost opened the scoring but Boylan finished the move by hooking the ball just over the bar. Cupar replaced Michael Reilly with Gary Reilly and his first involvement was a mazy run but his shot was just wide. Cupar Hearts again lost possession in midfield and Ivory took advantage when he did well to make space a fire a low drive from 25 yards in which Steven McEwan did excellently to turn around the post. It was from the resultant corner however that Strath would score what would be the winner. McEwan punched the incoming ball clear but only as far as Ivory at the edge of the box and his fierce drive was wickedly deflected into the top corner. With only 13 minutes remaining Cupar subs David Rintoul and David Simpson replaced Grant Fraser and Robert Crawford but play remained in the same vein. In the closing stages Hearts did find the net when David Simpson headed home only to see it deemed offside. Hearts couldn’t find a way through the resolute Strath defence in the remaining minutes and so it is Strathmiglo who deservedly take their place in the final.

Hearts: McEwan, Crawford, McInroy, O’Leary, Gilfillan, Halley, Nicoll, Boylan, M. Reilly, Fraser and Sibanda. Subs: Kane, G. Reilly, Simpson and Rintoul.