Sunday, 19 July 2009

Jags On The Spot

East Kilbride Thistle v Alloa Athletic
Friendly, Tommy McGrane Cup, Final
Sunday 19th July 2009, kick-off 3.30pm
Showpark, East Kilbride

Now for the main event, the final of the Tommy McGrane Cup to be contested by Alloa Athletic and hosts East Kilbride Thistle. Both triumphed yesterday by three goal margins against Petershill and Ayr United U19s respectively. Sunshine welcomed the two teams onto the pitch and pre-match photos were taken, the Wasps kitted out in their Portugal style away jersey and the Jags in their usual black and white stripes. Alloa fielded a more youthful side than their previous match with highly rated striker Greig Spence leading the line with the experienced Brian 'Carrots' Carrigan.

It was youngster Hugh Kerr who opened the scoring early on, continuing from where he left off after bagging two against Peasy in yesterdays match. He was slipped through on goal approaching from the right wing and he slotted under the advancing 'keeper. Alloa seemed to be dominating the play and possession early on but it was the Jags who had the best chances, missing a simple diving header at the back post and producing a fine save from the young Wasps goalie. A bit of magic brought about the equaliser, Steven 'Dunga' McClung playing a neat one-two and passing it into the bottom corner, similar to the superb goal he bagged against the young Honest Men. The first bookings of the tournament were dished out, three in fact, all for foul language seemingly.

The second-half was the half of missed chances, by Alloa, first up was an almost inch perfect own goal lob by an EK defender, but it was headed off the line. Youngster Spence then had a near post effort well saved and 'Carrots' close range follow up was deflected over the bar. Spence then had another great opportunity, this time heading off the upright from a corner kick delivery. Late on young substitute striker was played clean through, but yet again Johnny Murdoch, the Jags 'keeper produced a fine save to send the final to a penalty shoot-out. The first match of the day provided the first penalty shoot-out I'd seen in the flesh for well over a year, a bit like buses for me with two in the one day.

There seemed like no missing from the spot as both sides found the net with each of their first six attempts. Finally one of the Alloa kids missed the target but the following Jags spot-kick was wonderfully saved. The EK 'keeper proved to be the hero in the end by saving the next Wasps effort, then the winning penalty was converted meaning the Jags would be crowned as winners of the Tommy McGrane Cup. The full penalty shoot-out can be viewed below.

The Wasps will now continue their preparations for the season ahead in the SFL Second Division, hoping for an improved campaign after successfully fighting against relegation last season. Most of the youngsters on show today will be keen to gain more first team action or perhaps even going out on loan for experience. The Jags will be hoping to push for promotion, and will continue with their superb youth and community work. I've really enjoyed the weekend of football and will hopefully be back again next year when the Jags hope to retain their trophy.

Photos that I've taken throughout the weekend can be found here, and the video of the penalty shoot-out can be found on YouTube. Again the Alloa Athletic website has a report on the match which contains photos also.

Result: East Kilbride Thistle 1-1 Alloa Athletic, East Kilbride Thistle won 7-6 on penalties

East Kilbride Thistle: Murdoch, Sangster, Russell (McGhee), Kelly, Hefron, Jordan, Ballantyne (Paris), Williamson, McClung, Watson (McKenna), Fooley (Struthers).
Alloa Athletic: Hall (Thomson), Anderson, Philp, Duncan, Feenan, Barker, Kerr, Carroll (Thomson), Spence (Clark), Carrigan (MacKenzie), Stevenson (Caven).

East Kilbride Thistle: Steven McClung
Alloa Athletic: Hugh Kerr

Attendance: unknown

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