KELTY is a long way to travel to watch two local teams battle it out in an end-of-season cup final, but the fans who travelled to Central Park to watch the final of the Peter Omand Memorial Cup were not to be disappointed.
All the ingredients for an entertaining evening of football were present – an immaculate playing surface, a cool but sunny evening, excited fans, a healthy rivalry between two local teams and a hunger from everyone involved to go home with the silverware.
From the first whistle, the bookies’ favourites would be Kennoway, a team which won the FAFA Premier title for an unprecedented fifth time and also added the Fife Cup to their season’s haul.
But it was the Toonies who made all the early pressure, probing the Kennoway defence and also disrupting their usual style of play.
Buckhaven also had the first real chance of the game.
A through ball split the Kennoway defence and allowed a strike on goal that forced a fine save from the Kennoway ‘keeper to turn the ball over the bar.
That seemed to bring Kennoway back to the reality that they were in a cup final and they started to play more of the linking, attacking football their fans have come to expect.
The Kennoway pace and passing were starting to cause problems for the Buckhaven midfield and defence, but they did enough to keep Kennoway away from the danger area.
It wasn’t to last, however, and the Kennoway pressure paid off after a ball was whipped into the Buckhaven box and found Matt Bilan, who headed past the caught-out defenders and into the back of the net to make the score 1-0 to Kennoway.
The goal settled Kennoway and stunned Buckhaven, forcing the Toonies to settle into a more counter-attacking game with the emphasis on stopping Kennoway adding to their tally.
Having taken a lead into the second half, Kennoway were keen to add a second goal and immediately turned up the pressure.
The pace of the Kennoway attack was starting to show as more and more Buckhaven players committed fouls and, on occasion, received yellow cards.
Kennoway’s best chance came as Marc Cramb went one-on-one with the Buckhaven ‘keeper.
Cramb knocked the ball past him to the line and cut the ball back into the path of Martyn Thomson, who knocked it into the back of the net.
However, the ball was judged to have left the field of play and the goal was disallowed.
Buckhaven took advantage of the Kennoway lapse of concentration with the decision and almost immediately split the Kennoway defence, allowing Eck Douglas to put the ball past the Kennoway keeper and tie the match.
It was all to play for now as neither team had the desire to finish the match by penalty kicks.
With two minutes left to play, it looked like penalties were a certainty.
But Buckhaven did not give in and won a corner kick late in the game.
The cross came in and the Kennoway keeper spilled the ball. The ensuing goalmouth scramble saw Buckhaven’s Danny Waters fire the ball into the back of the Kennoway net to put Buckhaven into a 2-1 lead.
Kennoway were not finished, though, and, as other teams have found out this season, should never be written off until after the final whistle has been blown.
But Buckhaven threw everyone behind the ball and held on to grab a hard-fought victory in the all-Levenmouth final.
Pictures by Voodoo Kitten Design and Photography.