It took a stunning Rob Black penalty save to finally separate Burnhead Colts and Finnart AFC after a breathless League Cup final.
Headers from Burnhead’s Dylan Wilson and Michael Sweeney, late in each half, forced the game into extra time, and eventually penalties, following early strikes from Finnart’s Adam Benelkaied and Jack Mcilveen, which had put the boys, in bright pink, in a commanding position.
The first was a superb counter-attack; striker Mcilveen held the ball up well, finding Connor Mckenzie who played a lovely first time pass to Benelkaied on the edge of the box. A delightful turn saw him evade his marker and from there he made no mistake as he fired low past the helpless Black in the Burnhead goal.
It was no less than Finnart’s early dominance deserved; they were first to every loose ball in the middle of the park and they showed some delightful touches in and around the Burnhead box. Benelkaied almost doubled his tally for the match following some lovely link-up play between Mcilveen and Martin Scanlan, but when the ball found its way to him, six yards out, his effort was deflected behind for a corner.
But Finnart weren’t to be denied for long. A few minutes later some unselfish play from Scanlan saw him elect to square the ball across the face of goal when in shooting range. His pass found the unmarked Mcilveen who couldn’t miss from six yards out.
It seemed as though it was going to be a long afternoon for Burnhead, who had yet to have much of an impact on the game. However, their first opportunity at goal a few moments after Finnart’s second – Alistair Dewar forcing a good save out of keeper Paul Monaghan when played through on goal – seemed to spark them into life as they began to gain more and more of a foothold in the match.
Their efforts were rewarded five minutes before half time when an in-swinging Lewis Murdoch cross, from the left hand side, was glanced home off the head of Wilson, leaving the game finely poised heading into the interval.