Cup joy for ‘Phins!

The black and white army travelled in strong numbers to watch their local team compete in their first final after re-forming in 2009. Ninety plus Phins fans filled the grandstand along with the Fintray supporters and the atmosphere was electric.

With Bruce offshore, Allardyce returned to the starting line up to partner Gilbert up front. Both teams sat back during the opening passages of play, giving little away. A little nervous on their big occasion, Torphins tried attacking down the wings with Brown and D Cruickshank, winning a string of corners. But with the Phins not the most powerful in the air, they struggled to create any real chances from the set pieces.

Travers was causing a nuisance in the middle of the park with his good footwork and began linking up and feeding the strikers, leaving Michie to do the battling for the ball work.

On 7 minutes though, the black and white army were on their feet. Travers broke forward from the middle of the park, side stepping a couple of challenges before sliding a ball through to the pacey ALLARDYCE. The striker took a touch to the side before poking the ball past the Thistle goalkeeper and into the bottom corner.

The feel good factor was short-lived. Fintray attacked from the re-start and Geddes had to tip a shot by the post from a midfielder. The corner was swung in, curling all the time towards the goal and Geddes had to tip the ball over the bar for another set piece. This time the ball was swung into the near post where the tall strong Fintray forward knocked on with his head and his teammate unmarked, pounced to slam the ball into the back of the net.

A typical goal for Torphins, who always look nervous at corners. The goal livened up the Fintray fans and the Phins knew they had a fight on their hands in their final. Allardyce showed a little brilliance midway through the first half, controlling well from a long ball, chipping a defender, but his shot lacked conviction. Strachan and Mathieson were not letting much through their defensive line and Wright and Johnstone tried using their pace as much as possible, offering support to their midfield. But it was the little midfielder Travers that was pulling the strings for the Phins as they went forward looking to re-gain their lead. He fed Gilbert through who shot wide, D Cruickshank won a corner on the left and Torphins brought their big guns up from the back. However it was the smallest man on the park, TRAVERS, who ran to the first post and powered a header into the roof of the net.

On 40 minutes, Travers almost made it 3. Michie was fouled on the far right and Mathieson came forward to deliver. A deadly ball was again met by the head of Travers who could not believe his eyes as the keeper superbly dived to save with his fingertips.

The second saw not much good passing football from either side, however both teams were still giving it their all.

Fintray put the Phins under pressure in the first ten minutes with their centre midfielder keen to have a go at the defence. He did well to dodge a few challenges in the middle and seemed to be steaming down on goal, one on one before Johnstone, came sliding in and came away cleanly with the ball. Fintray looked dangerous at corners, but other than that, Geddes had little to do.

The Phins were not creating masses of chances, but they did manage to curve out a handful, that had the fans on their feet. Another D Cruickshank corner was swung in from the left and Michie met with a volley, but the ball crashed off the post. The midfielder was alert to hit the rebound, but again the keeper’s reactions were second to none to get low down to his right to retrieve the ball.

Another corner, shortly after was swung in by Michie, and Gilbert brilliantly flicked the ball with his right foot, but again the celebrations were cut short as the Fintray keeper acrobatically dived to tip the ball past the near post. The pressure was going to have to pay off eventually and the Phins finally increased the lead through star man TRAVERS on 70 minutes. D Cruickshank put a throw in from the left to Travers who found himself in acres of space and time. He played a neat one two with Allardyce, and unleashed a first time shot that looped over the keeper, who was rooted to the ground, and dropped under the cross bar into the net. The black and white army went mad, as Travers sprinted off to celebrate, grinning lug to lug. The players chased after the midfielder to praise him.

The hardworking Gilbert was replaced, to a standing ovation, by Mitchell, who moved into the centre of the park. Michie pushed out to the right and Brown went up front. With ten minutes remaining Fintray had nothing to lose, but the Phins never seemed to lose control. D Cruickshank was substituted for brother I Cruickshank and goal hero Allardyce was replaced by Thomson.

Johnstone and Michie combined well down the right, and on 85 minutes Michie’s cross found the head of the stretching Brown, but the ball went narrowly wide off the far top corner. Travers tried his luck again with a long range effort but the Fintray goalkeeper watched safely as it flew yards wide. At the death, Brown had a second chance to get on the score sheet. A long ball from Mitchell, flicked on by Brown, who then ran onto the ball, but his shot went wide of the near post.

The Phins were the stronger team on the night and fully deserved the victory that provided the club with a trophy in only its second year of reforming, which by any standard is a great achievement.

The players and management could not believe the amazing numbers of travelling support, who were absolutely tremendous on the night and thanked everyone who made the effort to come and watch.