Centenary Cup Final Alba Th. 2-2 (7-8 pens) St. Josephs
Centenary Cup Final
St Josephs 2-2 (8-7 pens) Alba Thistle.
Premier champions St Josephs won the Centenary Cup after a thrilling, end to end, contest against Premier 1 champions Alba Thistle at Fullarton Park. The teams could not be separated in normal time and it took penalties to finally decide the destiny of this competition.
Alba took the game to St Joes from the first whistle and their early endeavours were rewarded in the 9th minute when Davie Orr bulleted his header high into the St. Joes net. Alba continued to dominate but slowly their opponents started to get a foothold in the game and Dom ONeil equalised after 25 minutes with an opportunist goal after a mix up in the Alba defence. The game ebbed and flowed until we reached half time at 1-1.
Both sides started the second half determined to impose themselves on the game with first blood coming in the 52nd minute when Man of the Match, Ricky MacArthur, slotted home a disputed penalty to put the newly promoted Alba back into the lead. Again the game continued at a relentless pace with Alba looking to have weathered the storm until Kieran OBrien produced an audacious overhead kick to send the game to penalties.
This was a tremendous final which neither side deserved to lose. It was a great advert for the SAFL and it showed the quality of next years competition will be enhanced by the inclusion of Alba Thistle.
The penalties ended in an 8-7 success for St Joes and they rightly celebrated a fantastic double, a great achievement for the club and for manager Ajie McCall in his first season in charge. Great credit must also go to Alba manager Danny Walsh who will now prepare for next season in the knowledge that his team ran the SAFL champions so close.
Thanks go to Vale of Clyde who once again proved to be fine hosts.
Referee Gary Stephen was finishing his time as a ref in the SAFL after 8 years and he had a fine game, ably helped by his assistant referees, John Campbell and Decio Espinha.
Thanks also to all who attended the match and who helped create an atmosphere worthy of the occasion.