Arguably, the two best footballing sides at this age level faced up to each other for the fourth time this year at Goathill Park recently with Stornoway United securing their first silverware at under 18 level since 2009 in a thrilling 2-1 win against Ness.
Although the fiercest of rivals for a number of years, there is a mutual respect between these two squads and it was a shame that Ness were forced to field a weaker side due to the loss of a couple of key players due to injury.
The United manager on the other hand had his full squad available for the first time this season.
This however, didn’t detract from what was an excellent final. Numerous chances, several goal mouth scrambles, superb goalkeeping, tough tackling and extra time, this game had it all.
The game started at a frenetic pace which did not let up until the final whistle with the good sized crowd that turned up being given full value for their money.
United began the game well with midfield duo Calum ‘Dola’ Morrison and James Gunn dissecting the Ness defence with pin point passes on several occasions but last ditch defending continually thwarted United’s front line.
As the first half wore on, Ness started to settle with Ali Morrison particularly strong in the middle and the pace of James ‘Titch’ Morrison and Sam Macsween began to test the back line of United along with goalkeeper Jack Maclennan.
The two teams continued to trade punches throughout the half and eventually the deadlock was broken when Titch turned his marker and neatly slotted the ball home from a tight angle just before the break to put Ness in front.
Again United took the initiative at the start of the second half and pushed Ness back but despite the sustained pressure the Ness defence of Calum Vann, Donald Gillies, Innes Macdonald and Ryan McCafferty remained resolute.
Although Ness threatened on occasion much of the game was now being played in the Ness half and it was clear that they were beginning to feel the effects of several of their squad members having played games during the week.
The inevitable United equalizer came from a Eoghain Macphee header which was re-directed by Kevin Flower into the net. With further chances going to waste the game went into extra time.
United continued to press, but in turn Ness remained dangerous on the break. After ten minutes Mark Morrison scored the decisive winner when he capitalised on a defensive error in the centre of the park and deftly chipped the outrushing keeper.
Overall it was a pretty even game but the honours went to the team who created more clear cut chances and with a little more composure in front of goal should have scored more.
Connor Macdonald played a blinder between the sticks for Ness and he was unlucky not to get the Man of the Match award which went to Titch Morrison.
Thanks to all those from the junior league who volunteered on the night. Special thanks to the referee, Chancy Macleod, along with linesmen Magnus Johnson and Dave Smith. Malcolm Macdonald presented the trophy to winning captain Caz Macphee.