Scarva come out on top of thrilling panto-style game. Oh yes they do!

There were no beanstalks, glass slippers or sleeping beauties at Scarva Park but in the midst of panto season there was a match every bit as entertaining as an outing to the pantomime.

Scarva’s Reserve team claimed a thrilling 4-3 win over Red Star Reserves, having been twice pegged back before sealing the points.

The reserves benefitted from the addition of first team players who were available after their game was postponed and with those additions, they were dominant for the opening 75 minutes.

David McCabe picked out Andrew Boyce on the edge of the Red Star Reserves penalty area and he skipped effortlessly past his marker before delivering an inviting cross that was steered into the visitors’ net by Wes Baird.

A second goal for the hosts arrived before the half-time interval. Right back Mark Baird sped down the right flank and passed to Greg Douglas who drilled his shot unerringly into the net.

The gulf between the sides might have been greater by the time the first half ended. A Mark Baird shot struck the crossbar and a goal was ruled out for offside. At the other end Alan Hammond reacted sharply to push away a dangerous Red Star shot.

Scarva’s second string constructed a series of flowing moves that carved the visiting defence apart in the second half but too often the finish failed to match the quality of the approach play. Alex Hammond was desperately unlucky when he turned smartly and drifted past his marker before unleashing a superb low shot that crashed against the post.

The hosts were sailing serenely to victory with around 15 minutes to go when Red Star struck twice in as many minutes and suddenly Scarva were in choppy waters.

They regained the lead when, after a sublime series of passes involving Danny Cullen, Greg Douglas and Andrew Boyce, the ball fell to the feet of Neil Anderson and the central midfielder curled the ball majestically into the top corner of the Red Star net from outside the area.

An astute pass from David McCabe unlocked the visiting defence but the keeper saved brilliantly from Greg Douglas and then Red Star made it 3-3 with an outstanding shot.

There was still time for more drama. Alan Hammond saved bravely at the feet of an onrushing Red Star player and at the other end Greg Douglas headed just wide.

Finally came the goal that secured a victory the home team richly deserved on the balance of play. Neil Anderson’s raking pass found Andrew Boyce on the left wing and he drilled the ball low across the Armagh side’s six yard box where substitute Matthew Millar showed his customary cool in front of goal by firing the ball into the net.