Fountainbridge took the spoils in the LEAFA Sunday Morning League Cup Final with a 1-0 victory over Stables FC at Paties Road.
A solitary strike from man-of-the-match Bartosz Kasprzak proved enough to separate the teams in what was a very evenly matched contest.
There was little to choose between the sides early on, with cup final nerves causing a scrap for the upper-hand. Both outfits were determined to stamp their authority though, as a series of early tackles flew in.
It was Fountainbridge who struck the first blow with the first chance of the match on 25 minutes. After picking up the ball 25 yards from goal, Kasprzak produced a mazy run before his shot found its way to goal under the body of Stables’ goalkeeper Gavin Barclay.
Stables battled hard to make amends, with most of their play going through skipper Andrew Brown in centre midfield.
And it was Brown who produced their first half-chance on 35 minutes, but his right-footed strike was well blocked by the sturdy Fountainbridge rearguard.
Stables avoided a scare in the early period of the second-half and could have gone two behind. After a stramash in the penalty area, the ball broke to the feet of striker Willie McClintock, whose effort was blocked and cleared by Rory O’Connaire.
Stables should have equalised on the hour when they created their best chance of the match.
After a good run from Andrew Platt, the midfielder slipped a neat ball through to forward Ryan Kecheran. The front-man beat the offside trap, but his effort curled just wide of Otas Nikita’s left-hand post.
This seemed to spark some life into Stables as they began to move the ball with more fluency, working the ball wide to full-back Andrew Morris and wide-man Neil McGlade where possible. Morris in particular looked hungry to get forward and provide some ammunition for the frontline.
And indeed Morris continued to cause trouble for the Fountainbridge defence on 70 minutes. After a bursting run forward, the right-back was brought down on the edge of the penalty area but Brown’s resulting free-kick could not produce the equaliser Stables so desperately craved.
Shots at goal from both sides proved limited to say the least with neither goalkeeper having to make a save of any note. The play instead was mostly a midfield battle that saw plenty of meaty challenges involved.
Stables were proving the better side in the second period and could have drawn level on 75 minutes from a free-kick.
Referee Tom Wallace’s decision to award the set-piece caused some unrest amongst the heavily numbered Fountainbridge support, but they needn’t have worried as Stephen Dryburgh’s effort sailed wide of goal.
But Stables should have equalised soon after when the impressive Morris found himself through on goal. The energetic full-back looked set to notch a leveller for his side, but his strike flew past Nikita’s left-hand post, much to Fountainbridge’s relief..
John Gray’s men would eventually hang to secure their victory and, after the match, he expressed his joy at winning the trophy. “We had a game plan and I think it worked well. I’m really proud of the entire club, this has been five years in the making and we’re going to celebrate well.
“Next season we’d like to retain our trophy and challenge for the league.”
Fountainbridge: Otas Nikita, Ian Waugh, Johnny Mckenzie, Lee Davidson, Tam Irving, Paul Robertson, Bartosz Kasprzak, Bogumil Kaczmarek, Willie McClintock, David Robertson, Keith Alexander, Lee Watson, Graham Yorke, David Ceaser, Michael Palmer.
Stables FC: Gavin Barclay, Andrew Morris, Craig Kecheran, Rory O’Connaire, Gary Nichol, Kevin Leary, Neil McGlade, Andrew Platt, Ryan Kecheran, Andrew Brown, Stephen Dryburgh, Philip Carter, Ross Gibson, Chae Nicholson, Tony Ward, David Barclay.