Point retain Jock Stein Cup

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Point retained the Jock Stein Cup by beating Westside for the second year running in a fine night at Goathill Park.

The unbeaten League leaders were favourites before kick-off but returned home to Barvas without the cup that they have never won in their history, leaving them as beaten finalists six times in the Jock Stein Cup.

Point left triumphant after their eleventh success in the competition which was inaugurated in 1977. The early sparring in the contest did not inspire what turned out to be a healthy attendance with spectators on three sides of the ground. Point were competing for everything but it was the West that were looking more menacing.

The expected speed threat down the flanks by Ali “Barvas” Macleod and Martainn Shields was not apparent as they were well contained.

Ally “Wally” Maciver came close to diverting in a cross after quarter of an hour while free-kick expert Duncan Maclean fired over the bar from a position he is normally on target with.

Angus Macdonald then headed over his own bar as Point defied the increasing pressure the West were exerting.

Point came close from an Ally Gillies free-kick which Matthew Campbell got on the end of and his shot found Andrew Murray but he fired over the Goathill Road end crossbar.

Then in 24 minutes came the breakthrough for the boys in blue as Warren Mackay seized the ball after a string challenge on the halfway line and he raced down the right before crossi9ng to the tall figure of Ali “Barvas” Macleod who sidestepped an opponent before firing from 15 yards past the right hand of Ally Lamont.

Lamont made a fine one handed save to his left after Warren Mackay glanced a header from a left wing cross and then Scott Graham headed over a cross from Gordon Campbell.

West were well ahead on points in the first half as Point failed to penetrate the West defence throughout the half but then, just as the half was moving into injury time it was 1-1.

A deep cross to the back post was met by the tall Elliot Rudall who headed across and over David Smith and Andrew Murray was there to head into the goal inside the post.

Point resumed the second half with Ruari Miller replacing Donald “Spike” Smith but it was Westside who nearly scored in 49 minutes as Dan Macphail showed wonderful control to find Warren Mackay.

The striker killed the ball and looked remarkably cool but his side footed shot from 12 yards was curled onto the outside of the post with only the keeper to beat.

At the other end an Elliot Rudall free-kick was headed on by Ally Gillies and Scott Graham’s header only just cleared his own bar.

Young Harrisman Andrew Morrison came on for Matthew Campbell in 55 minutes but three minutes later it was 2-1 for Point as Alexander Macdonald, way out on the right, hit a left foot curling cross which evaded everyone, including David Smith and the ball nestled inside the far post.

It was evident for all to see that his left leg is as deadly as his father’s not that many years ago.

The flow of the game now changed with Point in the ascendancy. Ally Gillies had a free-kick held well by Smith and then Andrew Murray burst through the West defence but was prevented from scoring by some obdurate defending.

It was clear that the Siarachs had lost penetration up front while the Rudhachs had gained confidence and a third goal materialised in 71 minutes when Hugh Morrison hared down the left and his cross was deflected into the path of Andrew Murray who coolly slotted a low side foot finish from 20 yards.

West substituted Luke Mackay for Warren Mackay, then Conner Mackay for Martainn Shields as they tried to revive their challenge and just after a good chance went a begging.

Martin Smith came on for Gordon Campbell but much as they tried the Westside boys could not crack open a resilient Point defence.

The nearest to another goal came at the other end as David Smith played cat and mouse with the ball and a Point forward before clearing.

Alexander Macdonald came off to rapturous applause from the red section of the crowd and the cheers were louder when referee Calum Macleod blew the final whistle.

Match sponsors, W.J.Macdonald (Butchers) chose Elliot Rudall as the man of the match, a choice this reporter fully agreed with as he tamed the free scoring West strikers.

It was a quiet match for Innes Iain Morrison, a rarity for the talented lad.

Point

Ally Lamont, Steven Kettings, Matthew Campbell, Angus Macdonald, Ally Gillies, Elliott Rudall, Andrew Murray, Donald Smith, Alasdair Maciver, Hugh Morrison, Alexander Macdonald: Subs: Ruari Miller, Scott Campbell, Andrew Morrison, Andrew Mackay, Iain Mackenzie.

Westside

David Smith, Gordon Campbell, Duncan Maclean, Donnie Smith, Jonny Wallace, Dan Macphail, Alastair Macleod, Scott Graham, Innes Iain Morrison, Warren Mackay, Martainn Shields: Subs: Luke Mackay, Connor Mackay, Martin Smith, Shaun Macdonald, Iain Gillies.