Rudhachs Win the Jock Stein Cup
Point 1 – 0 West Side
Jock Stein Cup Final 12/6/15
After seven long yea/r/s without a trophy the sight of Stuart Flower and Donald ‘Spike’ Smith lifting the Jock Stein Cup, following a 1-0 victory over West Side, was a tremendous one for all Reds players, management, committee and supporters alike.
The Jock Stein Cup was the last trophy to be won by Point FC in 2008, when they beat Ness 3-2 in a thrilling final, and whilst this final will certainly not go down in that category, this will matter not one iota to anyone connected with Point.
The sides had met twice already this season with the Reds running out 3-1 winners at Garrabost in the opening game of the season, while West Side certainly got their revenge in with a 7-3 thrashing of Point in the Highland Amateur Cup on a night where the Rudhachs abject performance was only matched by the awful weather.
The final was played in almost perfect conditions on a calm, mild summer’s evening although the Goathill Park, like most on the island, was still suffering from the poor early summer weather we have been experiencing.
A large crowd had gathered to this eagerly anticipated final and following their earlier meetings, were expecting to see plenty of goals as both sides are very strong up front, with the Reds having netted 50 goals in their first 14 matches of the season.
Club captain Stuart Flower, who had been injured in the previous match, was gutted to have to sit out such an important game and he joined long term injury victims Andrew Murray and Scott Campbell on the sidelines. Influential centre forward Stewart Munro, working offshore, and young defender Angus MacDonald, on a school trip to Barcelona, were also unavailable for selection.
The opening few minutes were understandably cagey with few noteworthy moments as both defences were giving nothing away, snapping into tackles before any of the forwards could get into their stride.
West Side had more of the possession and territory in the first quarter and came closest to scoring when a nice turn by last year’s top goalscorer Innes Iain Morrison saw him break through the middle and shoot narrowly wide from the edge of the box. This was to be his only sniff of goal in the match as he was expertly shackled throughout by Elliot Rudall, who was playing at centre back for the first time this season, in place of the injured Flower.
Duncan Hunter had a fine run down the left wing, leaving his marker for dead, and broke into the box but his cut back was cleared to safety.
Both sides forced a couple of corners apiece but the delivery each time was found wanting and the defending team cleared with ease.
On the half hour mark a long floated Ally Gillies free kick found Elliot Rudall leaping highest at the back post but his header narrowly passed the post. This combination would come to the fore later in the match.
At the other end West Side wide man Ali ‘Barvas’ MacLeod was crudely blocked by Alec Lamb who became the first player booked.
The remainder of the half passed without much incident so the Reds went into the half time break at 0-0 and confident that with some small improvements and their strong bench that they could go out and bring the cup back to Point.
The Reds were given a massive fright in the opening minute of the second half as Ali ‘Barvas’ cut in from the right wing before unleashing a tremendous left foot shot that flew over Point keeper Alex Wright and crashed off the cross bar.
The West once again had the better of the opening exchanges in the second half and the reds backline had to deal with a couple of dangerous crosses from both wings.
Point gradually started gaining more possession and were getting more control of the midfield with Donald ‘Spike’ Smith being the key to this with his cool head and accurate passing. A real captain’s performance from Smith who was having one of his finest display’s in a red shirt against his former teammates.
With twenty minutes remaining Point made a couple of changes with Ruari Miller and Alexander MacDonald replacing Daniel MacLeod and Hunter respectively.
With just fifteen minutes remaining Point took the lead. A long diagonal free kick from Gillies was launched beyond the back post, where Rudall outjumped West Side keeper Peter MacAskill to nod the ball back into the danger area where Andrew ‘Mowgli’ MacLeod reacted the quickest to nod the ball into the corner. For the Reds bench and supporters this all seemed to take place in slow-motion as we all watched the ball head towards the net, before everyone erupted with joy as Mowgli’s arrival on the scene signaled a mini pitch invasion.
The injured Alec Lamb was soon replaced by Donald Gillies at left back and Stephen Campbell replaced Sam MacSween who succumbed to cramp after another tireless shift up front.
The expected West Side onslaught never materialised as every Point player stood up and won tackle after tackle, header after header as they felt the cup within their grasp.
The nerves were jangling for the Point contingent and they twice had their hearts in their mouths as first Rudall and then D Gillies came close to putting the ball into their own net.
The final whistle was greeted with huge cheers from all the Rudhachs present and the players finally could celebrate a long awaited trophy.
The man of the match award went to Andrew ‘Mowgli’ MacLeod who is having a great first season with the Reds after crossing the Broadbay divide.
Men of the Match: Andrew for his goal, the whole of the defence for keeping a clean sheet, Spike for an outstanding match, basically everyone!
Moment of the match: Time stood still when Andrew headed the ball goalwards.
Moan of the Match: We won so no moans, although the cup took an age to get presented as the microphone ran out of batteries. Poor Stu and Spike were left chatting to the ball boys for 5 minutes while waiting to lift the cup.
Final thoughts: Our Honorary Chairman Murdo ‘Biodan’ MacLeod was unable to attend the match as his wife Dolly sadly passed away that week. Deepest condolences go to Biodan and his family from all at Point Football Club.
Also get well soon to Murdo’s good friend and fellow ‘Grumbly’ John ‘Tonkan’ MacDonald who also missed the final due to illness. Get well soon Tonkan.