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Author: Rob McCarry
The opening game in Group A pitted Perthshire league champions Letham Tangerines against Lanarkshire’s Gow valley and it was immediately clear that this would be a clash of two evenly matched teams.
Gow had the better of the early going with shots from Lee Stubbs, Jamie McDonald, Jack McDonald and Scott Thompson all peppering the Letham goal but Tangerines ‘keeper Ben McKenzie was equal to all efforts with particular praise reserved for his save from Darren Wilsons shot inside the box which was tipped onto the bar from point blank range where it bounced twice before going behind for a corner.
Letham were generally limited to attacks on the break and, aside from one snapshot from outside the box by Craig McGlashan, never looked like breaking the deadlock in the first half and the opening period ended goalless.
Half Time: Gow Valley 0-0 Letham Tangerines
Perthshire’s finest started the second half in a much more positive fashion and the majority of the play was concentrated in the middle of the park. Gow were still pressing hard and making good use of the ball but they would be hit on the break in stunning fashion when a corner in from the right was pounced on by McGlashan who shot though the defenders legs and under custodian Kieran Craw to give his side the lead.
Any hopes of holding on for a win would soon be dashed though as Gow's Luke Curry did superbly well to control the ball on the by-line before lifting the ball into the box where an unmarked Stubbs nodded home from yards out to bring the teams level.
Delirium soon turned to despair for Letham despite having scored first as Stubbs found himself free at a corner with only minutes to go and as the defence turned to watch him drilled his shot goal wards form twelve yards leaving McKenzie no chance and giving hi side the lead for the first time.
That would be how it ended despite Letham’s best efforts although it would have been a different story had captain Shaun Williamsons header from point blank range had not flown inches past the post at the death. In the end Gow were worthy winners in this opening match and could look forward to their next game with three points in the bag.
Full Time: Gow Valley 2-1 Letham Tangerines