Battle of the ages for inaugural Docherty Cup

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All eyes were on Ropework Park on Hogmanay as Lochgilphead Red Star under-15s took on a motley crew of coaches, parents and older siblings in the inaugural John Docherty Memorial Cup players versus parents football match.

Before kick-off both teams gathered around the centre circle for a minute’s applause in memory of the late John Docherty, a founding member of Lochgilphead Red Star Football Club.

On a heavy, waterlogged pitch both teams started sluggishly as they found their footing and the run of the ball. Possession was won and lost in midfield and occasional forays into the opponent’s half were made – but nothing to trouble either keeper.

The deadlock was broken after 17 minutes, with a precise cross from Neil Russell for Keiran Caskie to head the ball home for the Parents. It wasn’t long before the oldies were two up as Iany Philips’ looping free kick found a path through a ruck of players into the back of the net. The Parents looked to be in control of the game when David MacInnes found himself in space, but was denied when his shot trundled to a halt in a puddle on the goal line.

The Players fought back as Fergus MacInnes pounced on a loose pass, but his shot was tipped round the post for a corner. As the youngsters continued to apply pressure, they were finally rewarded when Kyle Danson headed home an inviting cross from Zander McKenzie.

Buoyed by their goal, the Players were on the hunt for a second before half-time and their chance came with a thunderous shot from Zander McKenzie from just within the 18-yard box. Parents’ goalkeeper Blair Urquhart appeared to defy gravity, parried the ball to safety and maintained the slim one goal advantage going into half-time.

The pace accelerated in the second half and the Players equalised after a great passage of linking play between Callum Green, Logan Philips and Murray MacDonald before Zander Stewart calmly rolled the ball into the corner of the net.

Suddenly on the back foot, the Parents’ experienced back line of John Caskie, Gregor Brown and Keith Blair soaked up the pressure. Riding out the storm, a spell of possession suddenly saw George Curran squeeze a shot under the Players’ keeper to put the oldies back in front.

And then came controversy. The Parents scored at the near post after the ball appeared to cross the by-line but referee Jimmy Litster waved the appealing Players away making the score 4-2.

It wasn’t long, however, before the Players got one back, as the tenacious Cameron Lewis nicked the ball off the Parents’ keeper and coolly slotted the ball home, making it 4-3 with 15 minutes to go.

Chasing the equaliser, the Players pushed forward, exposing themselves to the counter-attack. Valiant defending by Jae Caskie and Colin Cameron and a string of superb saves by the Players’ goalkeeper Struan Urquhart kept the Players in the game but they were living dangerously.

Then – disaster for the Players. As they pressed too high up the pitch, the final goal came from a perfectly-weighted cross field pass from Kieran Caskie which found Ruaridh Green tearing down the left wing. He side-footed the ball past the despairing keeper to make it 5-3 to the Parents.

Red Star under-15s coach for the day Keiran Blair said after the game: ‘The final score didn’t really reflect the game. We’d have beaten them if it was on astro. Next year will be on astro.’

Coach for the Parents, Iany Philips, was unable to comment as he needed to catch his breath.

Man of the match went to Gregor Brown.

The Red Star under-15s coaches and players thank everyone who came out to support the teams and generously donated £153 for Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland.


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Neil Russell for the Parents heading the ball wide from a corner. no_a02DochertyCup02