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Southside took to Dam Park for the second time in as many weeks for another WOSYFL Cup Final. Looking to stop them on their quest for victory on another bright Ayrshire day was Valspar FC. The league winners would have to settle for a less impressive win than the previous week against Tass against this brave Valspar outfit, who sat 5th in the league; Southside in the end won 3-1 thanks to a Roy Barr hat-trick and eventually rose their game to see the tie out in control.
The game kicked off amidst a fantastic atmosphere in the Dam Park stands as both sets of teams brought huge following with them. Perhaps this added pressure on the players, particularly during the opening exchanges which were very tense. Both teams tried to attack as the game went from end to end but with neither side really throwing many players forward or looking dangerous in the final third.
The first clear cut chance of the game fell to Valspar and they took it with aplomb to fire ahead. David Laird managed to get on the end of a dangerous corner to shoot his side in front after 13 minutes.
The game had been fairly even so far and Southside set about trying to find an immediate equaliser. The skilful Scott McLean was put through two minutes after the opening goal but he sliced his shot wide from fourteen yards out.
Southside didn't give up their though and began to find their feet in the match. While applying the pressure, David McClelland got on the end of a long throw and found himself in range of goal - eight yards out. He shaped to shoot but a well-timed block deflected McClelland's shot over.
Southside continued to press and were keen to use their prowess from set pieces; this was proved so on 22 minutes when Roy Barr grabbed the first of his three goals. A dangerous corner was swung into the box and the striker was first to it and he struck home in decisive fashion for the equaliser.
Despite the goal, neither team looked clinical enough to go on and claim the crucial goal. At times both sides looked a bit tentative on the ball but entertaining football was still there to be seen, if only in glimpses.
The next goal would be pivotal to the direction of the game and both teams seemed to sense this. Having that winning mentality though, it was Southside who were able to find the opening and once again it was that man Barr who got the goods. Half an hour had passed when Barr was again the sharpest off the line in a race to the ball from a corner and duly tucked the ball past Valspar goalkeeper Michael Miller.
The game livened up slightly after that, with a couple of chances in the last 5 minutes of the half. Robert McMillan was tasked with a free kick on the edge of the area and his effort looked to be going in but for Southside goalie Craig Spiers' fantastic save to tip the ball over the bar.
Southside had an opportunity of their own too after some neat work on the perimeter of the box between Barr and McLean allowed the former to cut it back for his strike partner but McLean missed the target, firing over from seven yards out.
Tha was all the action for the fist period, with chances being sporadic and the tempo of the game just bubbling below the surface, rather than being on fire like both of these teams are capable of. Neither team had really asserted their dominance although Southside had probably had a bit more of the action; that was why they were in front, albeit marginally.
Half Time: Southside FC 16s 2-1 Valspar FC 16s
The second half started much brighter than the first and it would continue so for the next 15 minutes. The first incident of note was Valspar being denied claims for a penalty after only five minutes into the second period.
Southside were up the pitch and attacking within moments of that event but Valspar were spared when McLean had a shot blocked on the line. In the next attack, a superb save from Miller in the Valspar goal was all that denied Blair Anderson from close range. This kept the hopes of a Valspar comeback alive despite them being really under the cosh for a period of 5 minutes.
However, those hopes were disspelled not too long after the heroic save and again it was Barr causing the problems. Grant Forbes' effort was well saved by Miller but Barr was lurking dangerously and was able to profit from the rebound, volleying in to make it 3-1 and give his team mates some breathing space.
It was after this that the game's tempo started to slow a little for almost 10 minutes. Neither side were really bombing forward. With half an hour to go, Southside seemed content with 3-1 while Valspar were struggling for some creativity and impetus to get their comeback started.
There was a real lack of chances but not due to a lack of trying. The game became more of a battle than a show, certainly in comparison to last week's final. Valspar remained determined however and continued to plug away and began to apply more pressure with 15 minutes to go. Unfortunately they just couldn't find that crucial opening and on occasion were left exposed at the back for a Southside counter attack. The defence remained solid though and kept the scores at 3-1.
The game had lost much of its life by the 85th minute, with Southside keeping things simple and keeping Valspar at bay despite their pressure. The last chance of note in the game fell to Callum Haymarch who was unlucky to see a shot drift wide in the dying embers of the game. Moments later, Haymarch was sent off for a rash challenge that meant the game died out at an even slower pace.
So, a deserved win for Southside, who grabbed the goals when it mattered - largely thanks to Roy Barr's contributions and striker's instinct. Valspar put up a great fight and on another day they might have been able to grab another goal that could have kickstarted their own comeback. As it was however, Southside were the ones who completed their own comeback and went on to lift the cup. The previous experience of winning that Southside had was perhaps the biggest difference today, but Valspar can be happy with their efforts.
Man of the Match: It has to be Roy Barr. Not only did his hat-rick win it for Southside today, he never stopped running and was a constant thorn in Valspar's side.
Man of the Match: It's hard to pick out a Valspar player as all of them put in a lot of effort and played quite equally well. However, since his goal was a great piece of attacking instinct, I'm giving the award to David Laird. He contributed a lot more as well but his goal was almost the start of a winning dream for Valspar.