When Lanarkshire took a deserved early lead in this deciding Group 3 encounter it looked like they were on course to win a qualifying spot in the SSFA National Under 15 Trophy. A short corner routine from the visitors was defended poorly and a back post header gave them a lead after only ten minutes at Ochilview, Stenhousemuir on Wednesday 21st November.
Lanarkshire maintained their lead until half time and while the home team gradually found their rhythm with some improved play it was Lanarkshire who were ahead at half time in what for them was a must win game.
Forth Valley responded to a firm half time talk and the team coaches made two tactical substitutions and one for an injury.
There was an almost immediate difference and they quickly grabbed an equaliser. Sam Metcalfe ( Wallace HS) who was a substitute in the first game at West Lothian and he came on to score in that game. This time he was on from the start and it was him who netted a good equaliser following an excellent first touch to beat the defender before slotting home.
Jamie Auld ( Lornshill Academy) was a half time substitution and he made a big difference. His pace, strength and determination was making it tough for Lanarkshire and his efforts brought about a goal that gave Forth Valley a 2-1 lead.
Lanarkshire, however, were not going away easily and they equalised quickly. A free kick from 25 yards out was touched on and much to everyone’s surprise in the home defence the ball found the net. It was all to play for with the score at 2-2.
Forth Valley were now playing much better and they took the lead when Jack McAllister ( Alloa Academy ) fired in a spectacular shot from just inside the box.
The home team then gave themselves some breathing space when another substitute, Kyle Connelly ( Dunblane HS ) ran through to slide in the fourth and final goal of the game.
The game was played in sporting fashion and was excellently controlled by Referee Tom Cavanagh and his assistant referees.
The 4-2 win for Forth Valley sees them top the group and they now face Aberdeenshire at home in the Quarter Final.
Lanarkshire’s defeat means that a good but frustrated side is eliminated as West Lothian qualified as group runners up. They will now play Edinburgh.