Star ‘A’ CYP won the SERYFA under 16s Division 2 League Cup, after beating Leith Athletic 4-3 after a penalty shoot-out at Newtongrange Star Ground.
With the scores level at 1-1 after extra time, a perfect display of penalties from Star ‘A’ ensured that they added a cup win to their Division 2 title.
Leith went a goal ahead in the first half through Dylan Edmond but Jack Irvine equalised for Star ‘A’ to take the game into extra time.
Extra time came and went without a goal for either side, however Leith would have taken the spoils had it not been for more heroics from defender Cameron Mackie. This time, Shaun Miller’s shot struck against the right post and Mackie cleared the ball off the goal line – twice.
In the final minute of the match, Daryl Wallace’s shot from the right side of the penalty area was tipped wide of the goal by Leith keeper Gavin Stewart.
A perfect set of Star ‘A’ penalties from Irvine, Dylan Smith, Michael Kierkowski and Connor Wyllie finally saw off the unfortunate Leith Athletic team, as Brandon Meikle and Max Ketchen failed to score from the spot despite both players good performance throughout the match.
Star ‘A’ coaches Mike Klein and Eric Scally were delighted with the victory and praised Leith Athletic’s approach to the game. Klein said: “It was a good game and a good advert for the community. It shows the hard work put in week to week by both teams. It could have gone either way in the end. It was a close game and both teams would have deserved it.
“We’re delighted with the season. We’re champions and to get the cup as well was excellent. The boys have worked hard for the past four years and have made progression every season.” Scally added: “It went to penalties but there are no losers today. Both teams were a credit to the game.”
Star ‘A’ had the first scoring opportunity in the second minute, but Ryan Wright headed the ball left of goal after a corner. Four minutes later, Wyllie’s shot from the right side of the penalty area was saved by Leith goalkeeper Stewart.
Leith had a chance to open the scoring in the 15th minute. Dylan Tait’s shot from the edge of the penalty area flew narrowly past the right post, after Lewis Knox’s good pass into his feet.
On the counter, Star ‘A’s Josh Elliot forced Stewart into a good save with a shot from the edge of the penalty area.
Elliot went agonisingly close to scoring 12 minutes later. After breaking through the Leith defence, his first attempt was blocked by Stewart and his rebound header was caught by the grateful goalkeeper.
Leith took the lead on the verge of half-time with a spectacular goal. Edmond powered the ball into the top right corner of the net from 20 yards.
After a slight dip in tempo at the start of the second half, Star ‘A’ equalised in the 55th minute. Irvine volleyed the ball into the right side of the net from eight yards after Wyllie’s well placed cross from the right by-line.
Star ‘A’ nearly took the lead eight minutes later after a brilliant Ben Smith cross fell to Wallace. The substitute failed to control the ball in a goal scoring position and Stewart gathered the ball at his feet.
With nine minutes of normal time remaining, Leith’s Ketchen tried to score a spectacular winner, but his 30 yard low free kick bounced inches past the left post.
Every person in the ground thought that Leith had nicked the victory deep into stoppage time. Ryan Philip’s shot from the right of the penalty area was deflected onto the right post. With the ball bouncing high, defender Mackie managed to somehow head the ball off the line twice in succession.
Leith Athletic coach John Gavin said: “We were very unlucky to lose. We had a few clear-cut chances that we did not take and a couple of injuries took their toll at the end of the game.”
Star ‘A’ CYP: RafaJozwak, Ross Scally, Gareth Fleming, Ryan Wright, Cameron Mackie, Josh Elliot, Ben Smith, Michael Kierkowski, Connor Wyllie, Jack Irvine, Calvin Clark, Dylan Smith, Greg Caw, Kevin Klein-Woolthuis, Daryl Wallace, Aidan Sim.
Leith Athletic: Gavin Stewart, Dylan Edmond, Mark Reynolds, Ryan Philips, Thomas Davidson, Lewis Knox, Shaun Miller, Connor Merrilees, Max Ketchen, Kyle Mackay, Dylan Tait, Brandon Meikle, Michael Doctor, Jason Sutherland, Andrew Bird, James Harvey.