Was it the blustery conditions at Ochilview, Stenhousemuir or was it the nerves of playing in a national cup competition semi final ??
Whatever the reason, there were numerous goal scoring opportunities that were passed up in this SSFA Under 15 Cup semi final for both teams
Both goalkeepers were excellent and it was Forth Valley who edged through in a tight match to secure their cup final place.
The opening exchanges displayed what was to follow with near things at both ends.
Ayrshire SFA had the blustery wind in their favour but it was Forth Valley who took the lead after 15 minutes. Full back Callum Simpson ( Graeme HS) got forward and delivered a back post cross. Sam Metcalfe ( Wallace HS) knocked the ball goalward and Jack McAllistair ( Alloa Academy) made sure knocking the ball over the line to put the home team ahead.
Ayrshire responded well and home keeper Thomas Elvin ( Bannockburn HS ) pulled off a great double save to keep his side in front. Firstly he tipped a great shot from Callum Penman ( St Joseph’sAcad) on to the bar and when Dario Viviani ( Grange Acad) headed the rebound goalwards Elvin then clawed the ball away while lying on the ground. Remarkable!
In 30 minutes the same two attacking players combined but Viviani’s effort slipped just wide.
Ayrshire keeper George O’Connor was in good form at his end of the park.
Next, Fraser Bryden ( Grange Acad) created a chance for himself but missed the target with his shot.
Half time arrived with Ayrshire scratching their heads and asking why they were not ahead never mind level.
The second half saw Forth Valley on the front foot which indicated just how difficult it was to play in to the wind.
Spencer Moreland (Wallace HS) shot over then Marc Kilgannon (St Modan’s HS) and Jamie Auld (Lornshill Acad) brought the best out of keeper O’Connor who kept his side alive.
Ayrshire were always dangerous and had the ball in the net from a long range effort only for the match referee to stop play to award them a free kick from the edge of the box.
Claiming that advantage should have perhaps been played the visitors also questioned why the offending defender stayed on the park.
The free kick awarded came to nothing.
Viviani missed another half chance for Ayrshire but after 57 minutes Forth Valley scored again.
Moreland showed great control and passed to Auld who controlled the ball, turned and shot almost in the one movement to score low in the bottom corner.
Home keeper Elvin passed the ball our carelessly but recovered his mistake with a great low save.
Viviani hit the bar and Elvin again saved well as Ayrshire kept looking for a goal. Forth Valley defended well.
As full time drew nearer Forth Valley gained control and saw the game out for a 2-0 win in an action packed game.
Both teams shared a generous handshake at the final whistle of a well contested and sporting game.
Forth Valley now await the winners of the West Lothian v Glasgow Schools FA semi final while Ayrshire headed home wondering how they didn’t score in this tie.