Match Report: Barra v Point 22/08/15

By | 7 September

Penalty heartache for Rudhachs

Barra 1 – 1 Point (Barra win 5 – 4 on penalties)

Coop Cup Final 22/08/15

Last Saturday at Liniclate Barra won an absorbing Coop Cup final in the most dramatic of fashions. After equalising in the 88th minute, they went on to win the penalty shootout 5 v 4, thus becoming the first representatives from the Uist and Barra league to win the cup in its 20 year history. The game was almost an exact repeat of last year’s quarter final, when Barra equalised in injury time before again winning on penalties. For the Rudhachs it was a long journey home and a case of so near, but yet so far.

There was a stiff breeze blowing diagonally across the school pitch as Barra kicked off on a showery day. The opening stages of the game saw Point win a couple of free kicks in dangerous positions, although they were unable to make anything from them. The Rudhachs were having the majority of the play but either the final ball or good defending by Barra was thwarting their advances. Barra were relying on longer passes to James Davidson or Deej on the left wing. After 19 minutes a lobbed pass over the Rudhach defence led to Point’s right back Angus Macdonald barging into Deej’s back, sending the winger tumbling. Referee Steele had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, a penalty for Barra. The Barra centre half stepped up and hit the ball hard towards the left corner. Point’s legendary keeper Alex Wright was having none of it though as he sprung to his right and palmed the ball to safety. It was a tremendous save by the evergreen keeper.

Elliot Rudall was the next player to threaten a goal when his lobbed volley, which would have beaten most keepers, was tipped over the bar by the very tall Barra keeper. From the resultant corner the keeper tipped over Alexander Macdonald’s dangerous inswinger. Point were on top at this stage of the game, with Stephen Kettings playing well on the right, although the Barra left back was also having a strong match. Barra were struggling to get their main men James Davidson and Craig Ferguson into the match as Ali Gillies and Stuart Flower were both playing well in the Rudhach defence. At the other end the Barra centre halves were doing a good job of keeping Sam Macsween, Point’s goal machine, quiet. The net result was that there weren’t many clear chances being created.

After 24 minutes Alexander Macdonald fired in a low free kick which pinballed around the  box, being cleared off the line at one stage, before the Barra backline were able to clear to safety. Kettings then got away from his man and crossed for Sam Macsween. Macsween’s shot was blocked before ricocheting off Macdonald inches wide. As the half continued Barra began to threaten more and Davidson had a couple of long shots which Wright dealt with comfortably. Just before half time the Rudhach skipper Stuart Flower gave away a free kick on the edge of the box, but fortunately for him Davidson’s free kick was somewhat sclaffed and dealt with comfortably. On the stroke of half time Barra had a shot from the edge of the box deflected inches wide of Wright’s post.

Into the second half and again the Rudhachs started fast, Macsween having a close range shot blocked by a Barra defender. Rudall then had a shot just over the bar before in 58 minutes Point had another good chance. The ball was played through to Macsween who rounded the keeper before hammering the ball across goal. Once again Barra defended well and the Rudhachs were unable to make the most of the follow up. Barra began to play better for a time and Ferguson was beginning to find space in midfield, allowing him to show off his excellent ball control and dribbling skills. For the main part however, the Rudhach defence stayed strong and Gillies and Flower continued to impress.

After 70 minutes a long free kick for Point  looked to be heading out for a goal kick before Rudall jumped high at the back post and almost sneaked it home, but side-netting it was.  A rejig in the Barra team seemed to leave them with nobody on the left of midfield for a while, consequently both Kettings and Rudall  had opportunities to cross or shoot which were spurned. At the other end a Barra forward got away on the inside right channel, but Wright was there to palm round the near post.

As the game entered the last 10 minutes, Rudall broke away from a tackle and slipped the ball through to Alec Lamb, raiding forward from left back. Lamb took one look and hammered the ball goalwards. The Barra keeper should have saved it comfortably, but the ball somehow squirmed through his grasp before bouncing into the net. The Rudhachs were ahead but knew they would face an onslaught from the desperate Barra team, hoping to be the first team from down South to win the Coop cup. A couple of  minutes later Barra almost equalised. The Black and Reds got away down the right and crossed low. Davidson spun on the ball 12 yards out and sent the ball towards the corner, but there was Wright to not only save brilliantly, but hold on as the Barra forwards closed in. A minute later Rudall almost gave the Rudhachs a two goal cushion but his shot from 15 yards was just too high.

After 88 minutes, and with time running out, Barra won a corner on their right. The left back, who had shown good set piece  delivery all day, swung the ball in and there was Mish Macinnes, timing his run perfectly to head the ball in to the goal off the near post. Wild celebrations ensued from the Barra faithful, whilst Rudhach fans held their heads in hands. As injury time began, Stephen Kettings was penalised with a foul and gave the ref a bit too much lip, resulting in a straight red card. It capped a disappointing few minutes for the Rudhachs.

In the Coop Cup there is no extra time because of travel constraints and so it was that  the teams lined up for the dreaded shootout. Nine of the ten kicks were successful but it was heartache for the Rudhachs as top scorer Sam Macsween saw his kick saved. Craig Ferguson was the man tasked with winning it for Barra and he duly sent Wright the wrong way before being mobbed by most of Barra. The man of the match trophy went to Ali Gillies from Point, who defended well and showed good distribution from the back.

And so at the end of hundreds of miles of travel throughout the competition, it came down to one kick. It really is a game of small margins, and the feeling of delireum for Barra was in stark contrast to a feeling of despair for the Rudhachs. Congratulations Barra, Coop Cup winners.