There were more sub-plots than a Shakespeare play, but ultimately Leithen Rovers proved too strong for a depleted Stow side, writes Kenny Paterson.
Two brothers (Hagen and Jordan Steele) going head to head, the final game of Craig Lowrie’s career in amateur football and an attempt by Stow player/manager Paul Young to win his first cup, made for an intriguing match-up.
But Paul Graham’s men were deserving winners of the Forsyth Cup, despite Young scoring surely the goal of the season from inside his own half.
Manager Graham said: “It has been a long, hard season so it is great to round it off with some silverware.
“I have spoken to five or six players for next season and most of the existing squad are staying, apart from Lowrie. Credit to Craig, he has been a real servant to Leithen Rovers among other clubs. He is a real class Border Amateur player.
“We want to build for next year, and get back among the silverware again.”
For Young, there was frustration but also pride at his side’s showing.
He told us: “It definitely wasn’t a 5-2 game. There is still a lot for us to be proud of and we achieved our main objective, which was to get promoted to Division A.”
With five players suspended, Stow struggled from the off. However, Leithen needed a favourable decision from referee Bruce Crockatt to open the scoring, as the whistler ruled Kevin Rutherford had brought down Hagen Steele in the penalty area. Steele despatched the spot kick and on 32 minutes Alan McMath proved he is still a clinical striker as he capitalised on a James Kerr error.
But Stow showed plenty spirit to fight back, firstly through Martin Gibson’s coolly taken goal and then, on the stroke of half time, Young volleyed home from just inside his own half.
Yet, Stow were only on level terms for 10 minutes before Ross Forrest, headed in Hagen Steele’s corner. Ten minutes from time McMath headed beyond goalkeeper Tom Kerr. And a minute from the end, sub Mark Hanratty was sent clean through to make it five.
Leithen Rovers: C. Watson, D. Paterson (R. Bailie), G. Rathie, C. Lowrie (R. Forrest), C. Borthwick, D. Stewart, T. Fleming (S. Quinn), A. Brunton, H. Steele, A. McMath (M. Hanratty), D. Thomson.
Stow: T. Kerr, K. Rutherford (G. Cleghorn), J. Kerr, D. Henry, D. Leckie, J. Wilson, P. Young, J. Runciman, J. Steele, M. Gibson (G. Smith), J. Crawford (G. Thomson).