Sadly someone had to lose this breathless end-to-end Ayrshire Schools Cup Final at Dam Park. In the end it took something special to separate the sides, and it arrived two minutes from time, courtesy of a spectacular Sean McLeod free kick and hat trick to secure the trophy for Marr.
It will have hurt Greenwood to lose in this fashion, but they will reflect on a match in which they gave their all until the very last, and which was lost to a fine strike, rather than to the lottery of a penalty shoot-out.
The game began at a frantic pace, which kept up for 90 minutes. Marr were immediately on the front foot, as midfielders Craig McGuffie and McLeod sought to dictate the play in the Greenwood half.
McGuffie had a couple of early shots as Marr continued to press, and sure enough they were rewarded with an opener on nine minutes. A free kick was awarded 30 yards from goal, and McLeod gave us a first sight of his dead-ball expertise, crashing the ball past Smith to give Marr the lead.
Marr had a spring in their step, with McLeod, McGuffie and Jamie Martin making all the early running, and could have added to their advantage four minutes later as Evan Maley shot wide.
It took Greenwood until 20 minutes to find their feet, having weathered the early storm. Ben Black and Mark Curragh provided a good platform up front, with Black forcing a save from Matthew Ellis from close range. Two minutes later Curragh had his side level.
A corner from the left was half cleared to the Greenwood striker, lurking inside the area, who made himself space to shoot through a crowded box and into Ellis’ far corner.
Greenwood surged forward with confidence as the game now raged from end to end. Curragh and Black’s runs were proving tricky for Marr’s defence to track. Daniel Storrie almost restored Marr’s lead on 28 minutes, and McGuffie had a go from a long-range free kick which crashed against the crossbar two minutes later.
Chances came and went for both sides as an action packed half came to an end, with Curragh and Black coming close for Greenwood, and Storrie shooting just wide for Marr. The sides went in level but somehow having scored just two goals, as players and spectators got a chance to catch their breath.