CUPAR IS MAROON!

AM Soccer 0-1 Cupar Hearts

Friday 17th May 2019.

Fife Cup Final.

Cupar is maroon after Hearts held the Fife Cup trophy aloft for a fifth time in their history over local rivals AM Soccer.

All roads from Cupar led to Kelty last Friday night as over 400 supporters were in attendance to see the two Cupar teams, who were led out by mascots from youth teams in the community, battle it out to be crowned Fife Cup champions.

The opening stages were closely matched with AM edging possession and Jamie Leslie having three efforts in quick succession. But it was Lee Sibanda and his side who drew first blood on 13 minutes when a free kick from wide left was played in by Ryan Gray finding prolific marksman Barry Sibanda at the back post who side footed beyond Dale Wotherspoon in the AM goal.

Ryan Burchill looked to find an equaliser for his side with a shot from distance then Richie Lawson put a header wide. Gavin Wilson had to be alert in the Cupar goal to keep out a low drive on 19 minutes.

A foul by Hearts captain Sean Murdoch presented AM with a free kick but the ball was well gathered by the man in the Hearts goal.

Danger man Richie Lawson was starting to get himself involved in the action with a header from a corner that went over then tried his luck from a free kick but the effort was off target.

The half time whistle went with the Barry Sibanda effort separating the sides and Cupar knew that they had to maintain high levels of work rate if they wanted to keep AM at bay.

Cupar Hearts were forced into a half time substitution with Andy Wainwright, who required treatment shortly before the break, unable to continue and was replaced by Steven Pennington.

AM started the 2nd period on the front foot but the final effort from Richie Lawson was sliced wildly into the trees behind the goals.

Hearts responded with an attack of their own and some good play by Scott McKay released Connor Murdoch who looked to work his way into a good crossing position only to be denied by a good tackle.

If anybody was going to breech the resistance of the maroon backline that was being well marshalled by the evergreen Charles Anderson it was Richie Lawson who saw an angled drive sting the palms of Gavin Wilson and from the resulting corner, he put a free header wide.

Moments later Gavin Gray was only inches away after a great cross was flashed across the box and away to safety.

AM turned to the bench with a double change in search of inspiration as Jake Mitchell and Lee White replaced Ryan Buchan and Gavin Gray.

An excellent piece of defending by Steven Donaldson denied Barry Sibanda a possible game clinching 2nd goal as he looked to break free of two defenders on 70 minutes.

Then a magnificent cross by Martin Woods picked out Barry Sibanda and as the Hearts fans prepared to celebrate it was short lived as the โ€˜keeper produced a super point blank save.

Fresh legs were required for Cupar and youngster Craig Begg replaced Scott McKay with just over 10 minutes to play.

Hearts were doing well to frustrate their opponents and won a free kick 35 yards out that Barry Sibanda put narrowly over the top.

Time was fast becoming the enemy of AM who won a free in a promising position that they decided to play short but the resulting cross was overhit and away from danger.

As the game entered its 8th minute of added time Lawson played in one last cross that was gathered by Gavin Wilson to the huge relief of the massive loyal Hearts support.

And so, at the final whistle it was Cupar Hearts who celebrated and brought the trophy home and painted the town maroon.

Family connections run deep in the history of Cupar Hearts. The last time Hearts picked up the Fife Cup was season 2010-2011 with a 4-0 win over Kennoway Amateurs under the guidance of Robson Sibanda and last week saw his son Lee Sibanda lead his team to victory with the winning goal coming from his brother Barry Sibanda. This is the first time that a father and son have lifted the trophy, leading the same team to victory on separate occasions.

Cupar Hearts: Wilson, Anderson, S. Murdoch (c), Leadbetter, McColm, Gray, Wainwright, C. Murdoch, McKay, Woods and B. Sibanda. Subs: Pennington, Begg, L. Sibanda, Wells, Robson and Segerius.