10-man Maud defy odds to win Grill League Cup

This was Maud’s first ever Junior Cup final and with the weight of expectation hanging on them, plus the obvious talent in the Inverness team, this was always going to be a close encounter and so it proved.

Even in the first minute City’s Sanderson had a clear header but William Gatt in Maud’s goal held it fairly comfortably.

On 12 mites Maud, with a very strong wind at their backs, saw Kevin Simpson lay a cross into Zander Davidson and his first time folly from the edge of the penalty area was well saved by City’s keeper Young.

A couple of minutes later City pushed forward again, this time direct ball right throughout the middles of Maud’s defence to Miller but he was closed down by Bruce Davidson and eventually the danger was cleared for a corner, which was played right on top go the Maud defence but City’s Mason got in his header that Gatt did well to smuggle away and clear.

Another couple of minutes later saw the ball back up the other end where John WIllox had an effort following a free kick but again it was cleared by City’s defence.

On 23 minutes Bob Richie got the ball wide of the City penalty area, he did well to beat two defenders into the box and laid a great ball across into open space in the area but no Maud players were on hand to tap home a certain goal.

On 33 minutes City’s Miller again caused problems in the Maud defence when he ran through clear of the back four but Gatt made a great save and the ball was cleared.

On 35 minutes Murray Reid received a straight red card for an innocuous tackle that had both teams shaking their heads.

A couple of minutes later Maud should have taken the lead when Mikey Rae won the ball 20 yards from the City goal, he played the ball right across to Luke Barbour 10 yards from goal totally unmarked but he shot high and wide when he had the time to pick his spot.

Four minutes before half-time, however, Maud did take the lead when Willox took the ball wide right into the City penalty area, faced with four defenders he seemed to lose his footing but recovered to hit a fantastic shot acrossCity’s keep Young and into the far corner of the net.

The massed Maud support were in raptures. Just on half-time,however, City’s Miller again had an effort on goal and Gatt did well to keep it out and send Maud into half time one goal to the good.

With the wind at their backs and a player better off, City were always going to put lots more pressure on Maud for the second half in their search for an equaliser.

However despite plenty of possession, the first chance of the half fell to Maud on the hour-mark when, from a corner, the ball fell just right for Barbour to head home but it lacked conviction and Young easily held it.

A minute later City were level. again they had good possession on their wide right, it was played along Mauds 18 yard lie across to the left when it was immediately hit in low into the 6 yard box where Fraser was unmarked and had the simple task of finding the net.

Maud now had to find the resilience they showed in the semi final win over Culter, but with 15 minutes to go it looked like the dream of a first cup win was over when from a free kick, Sanderson got his head to the ball to put City 2 - 1 up.

With five minutes to go, Rae, who had found a lot of possession in the last 10 minutes, took the ball forward and hit a shot from 20 yards that only just missed the crossbar.

The best for Maud was about to come though. With more pressure on the City defence and only two minutes of normal time left, they conceded a free kick which saw the City penalty area packed with Maud players. The ball dropped high right on top of Young but was only knocked back out to Barbour on the edge of the box, his shot flew hight past Young and into the net for Maud’s equaliser.

With penalties looming City seemed to stop and from a Maud corner, two minutes into injury time, the ball was swung into the ball where a melee of players saw the ball bounce around until Willox finally got his foot to it to put in for a dramatic winner.

This was Maud’s first piece of Junior cup silverware and after being a man down and 1-2 down with 15 minutes to go, looked dead and buried.

But they showed tremendous fighting spirit to pull out a win that didn’t look likely until the 88th minute and was fully deserved. The only downside was the erratic officiating - as well as the dubious sending off the game produced 10 yellow cards which was more of a reflection of officials than either set of players as the game was just not that dirty.

However, Maud now proudly hold the Grill League Cup and their next match is on Saturday, at home to Culter in the Superleague with a 2.30pm kick off.

MAUD W.Gatt, B.Davidson, Reid, Arthur, K.Simpson, A.Davidson, Rae, Barbour, Ritchie, Willox, Duguid. Subs; Hall, Massie, Hendry, Clark, Leslie, Strachan, M.Simpson