Braves secured their place in the final of the Southern Counties Cup, with a dominant 6-1 win over Queen of the South on Tuesday evening.
At a warm and sunny Alliance Park, Ricky Waddell named one change to his starting line-up, with Greig Stewart entering the team for Jack Brown in defence.
“It was a well-earned victory today, good goals and it could’ve been more at the very start, as we started on fire”, stated Ricky Waddell post-match.
This attacking intent was visible immediately after kick-off and his side almost took the lead with just 10 seconds on the clock, when Jamie Watson cracked an effort against the underside of the bar.
However, Ricky Waddell’s team didn’t have to wait long to open the scoring, when Marc Kelly was bundled over in the box after 9 minutes. Our top scorer rose to take the penalty himself, and smashed the ball home down the middle, to give his side a deserved lead.
Despite our early dominance, our young visitors rallied impressively and found an equaliser just five minutes later. Queen of the South won a corner on the left, which was swung in and met by the foot of an attacker, before hitting the back of the net, after deflecting off Marc Kelly en-route to goal.
Despite creating a number of chances – with Jamie Watson coming close and Scott Forrester threatening from corners - the Braves failed to add a second goal and went into half time with the scores level.
However, this scoreline didn’t last for long…
In a four-minute spell from the 48th minute onwards, the Braves scored an unbelievable tally of three goals to take the tie away from Queens.
“You saw them become more of an assured team”, added Ricky post-game. “When they play with a bit more assurance about them - regardless of the score - with the confidence and assurance about them, they’re a good football team”.
The first goal of the half came from Jamie Watson, who bagged a well-earned first goal of the game after latching onto a cutback, with a cool finish.
The second arrived moments later, when Liam Craig ran onto a ball down the right, before unleashing a wicked strike to beat the keeper for his second goal in four games.
Instantaneously, Jamie Watson added his second of the game, to make the score 4-1 and effectively kill the tie after 52 minutes.
The game settled after this frenzy, but all the opportunities continued to fall for the hosts in the dying embers of the game.
Top-scorer Marc Kelly was next to score, swivelling at the edge of the box before dispatching an effort from 20 yards, giving the keeper no chance on its way to the back of the net.
With numerous goals separating the sides, both managers called upon their benches in the latter stages, with young Frenchman William Debreuil notably coming on for his first team debut.
With the full-time whistle looming, there was still time for Jamie Watson to secure his hattrick, after bagging his third and final goal with a slick finish in the 84th minute. This proved to be the final action of a well contested semi-final affair.
Over the piece, Braves could’ve scored even more than the six that they did, with many opportunities created throughout. Despite a decent spell of play for Queen of the South in the first half, the Braves ran away with the game, through their incredible flurry of goals in the second period.
We’ll now progress to play Dalbeattie Star, in a repeat of last year’s final, with revenge firmly on the cards for Ricky’s side.
“If we play to our capability, we can win any game at our level”, added Ricky, looking ahead to the final. “Dalbeattie will hold no fear, but of course you must respect the opposition. We beat them comfortably in the league last year, then they beat us in the final”.
“To finish the season on a high with a trophy would be great for the guys. We want the guys to finish with a trophy and win something, and that’s important to do as a club, a set of players and staff.”
That game is scheduled to be played on Saturday the 27th of May, but please keep posted for any updates, in the event that the game is rescheduled.