Depleted Cupar struggle against Star.

Saturday 12th May 2012.

Semi-final Scottish Brewers Cup.

At the Star of Markinch Cupar Hearts relinquished the chance of a cup final against Lumphinnans after being beaten by a solitary goal in the first minute of the second half. As holders of the Scottish Brewers Cup Cupar went into the game the overwhelming favourites and it was an uphill battle against strong wind in the first half. It was a scrappy start to the game and Hearts were enjoying the majority of possession. The first attempt on goal fell to the visitors but Iain O’Leary’s shot from distance was wide. A mistake by Cupar’s Charles Anderson let in Paul Laurie soon after but he failed to find the target. Cupar kept pressing but had Star chasing and harassing their every move. Barry Sibanda for Cupar was unlucky after 10 minutes of play with an effort near the back post then a minute later his teammate Tommy Halley should have opened the scoring with a free header from 8 yards but it flew wide of the post. Some strange decisions by the referee weren’t helping Cupar’s cause but despite controlling most of the play and coping with only a handful of Star Hearts attacks they failed to capitalise.

After the break the Cupar support were expecting it to be all one way traffic but they were stunned in the opening minute when Paul Laurie broke down the left and his cross found the unmarked Martin McConnell who fired in from 15 yards. Hearts immediately set about an equaliser but their finishing was poor and as the half wore on the supporters were left wondering if a goal would ever come. A blatant hand ball in the penalty area was waived away by the referee and left Hearts increasingly frustrated. Cupars two substitutes entered the fray with 15 minutes remaining but couldn’t make an impression. Cupar were pushing forward and left them wanting at the back and on a couple of occasion Paul Laurie found himself free to attack and could easily have put the game to bed but he squandered his chances. His defence stood firm and after a poor season Star Hearts can now look forward to a cup final appearance.

Cupar Hearts: McEwan, Halley, Anderson (c), McInroy, Gilfillan, Kane, Nicoll, Crawford, Reilly, Sibanda, O’Leary, Simpson and Rintoul.