Just when I thought the 2010/2011 season was dead and buried, along comes one more game to give it one last bolt of life. The game was in Scotland, or Barrhead to more precise, and it was the semi final of The Evening Times Cup Winners Cup between Arthurlie and Irvine Meadow. There was nothing else better to do on a Saturday in June, so it was north of the border I pointed the car. I wasn't the only one who thought this and there were lots of familiar faces in amongst the crowd.
The Cup Winners Cup is an end of season tournament for the West Juniors and it brings together the different league champions (Irvine Meadow are the 2011 Premier Champions), district cup winners, sectional league cup winners and the West of Scotland Cup holders (Arthurlie are the 2011 winners).
Dunterlie Park is the home of Arthurlie and is absolutely fantastic. It has real character with the crumbling terraces and the fans being tight against the pitch. The club moved to this ground in 1921, when they were a Scottish League club, and it's doubtful if it's changed much since. If this ground was in one of the English leagues the Health and Safety namby pamby brigade would probably condemn it.
There was a very large crowd present today, i'd guess around the 700 mark, and none of them could argue they didn't get full value for their £5.
The 'Lie were a goal up at the break, with their only shot on target, thanks to John McLay's left foot effort. Medda had most of the attacking intent in the first half and the goal was completely against the run of play. There was a crisis at the break, off the field though, when the tannoy announcer had to inform the crowd that the pies had sold out. Shriek!
The second half however was far more even, and more end to end. Medda levelled the game through Michael Hughes and the same player looked to have secured the win, with just 10 minutes left, when he headed into an empty net after the home goalie came rushing off his line and got nowhere near the cross ball.
Arthurlie though refused to give up though and deep into stoppage time, the 93rd minute to be exact, Steven McKeown blasted home a loose ball in the Medda six yard box to take the tie straight to penalties (there is no extra time in this competition) and bring all the people who had left early rushing back into the ground.
The Arthurlie goalkeeper Neil Parry redeemed himself for his earlier mistake, saving 2 of the spot kicks, and this left Gary Arbuckle to slot home the winning penalty (it was 4-2 on pens, for the record) and send Arthurlie into Thursday's final against either Auchinleck Talbot or Shotts Bon Accord.
Once again another trip to watch a Scottish Junior game didn't disappoint and it was a great game (and ground) to end the season with. This is definitely it now, so thanks for reading my blog and i'll see you in July when we can start the whole process once again.
Enjoy your summer!