Leithen Rovers 2
SOUTH CUP FINAL
KENNY PATERSON reports from Netherdale
ALMOST a year ago, Leithen Rovers were thumped 6-0 in the final of the Beveridge Cup by a rampant Pencaitland side.
Although nowhere near as emphatic, Rovers’ victory last Thursday was still revenge so sweet Willy Wonka would have needed an appointment with his local dentist.
Winger Peter Shearlaw proved the match winner, with a penalty and then cup-securing strike finding the net five minutes from time, with both his goals set up by Alan McMath.
It appeared Rovers would be on the end of another hiding in the first half, but, as Rovers manager Paul Graham acknowledged, a glaring miss by Pencaitland’s Dean Woods when his side were 1-0 up, plus the intervention of Shearlaw and McMath, meant the cup returned to Innerleithen for the second year in a row.
Graham told TheSouthern: “In the first half Pencaitland were well on top and they could have been two or three goals up, but the turning point was Dean Woods hitting the post. At 2-0 down it would have been very difficult to have come back.
“I had a few stern words with them at half-time and knew they had it in them to do it. We upped the tempo and in the second half we were probably the better team.
“Peter steps up his performance for the big games. There was lot of pressure on the penalty, but he stepped up no bother.
“We have now won the South Cup three times in the last six years. I am very proud of the players and the club.”
Division A winners elect Pencaitland deservedly went in front on 12 minutes through Scott Sneddon’s close-range header, but Woods then had his own head in his hands when he rounded Leithen keeper Chris Watson only to somehow hit the post.
Rovers’ static backline looked vulnerable throughout, but held out to only trail by a solitary goal at the break.
Rovers certainly came out with more purpose in the second half, and they earned a penalty on 58 minutes when Pencaitland goalkeeper Karim Hassam clipped the heels of McMath.
After a lengthy delay due to Simon Philbin’s ankle injury, Shearlaw kept his nerve to stroke the ball into the bottom right corner.
Both teams looked set for extra time until McMath showed why he has earned the nickname Speedy by bursting past the Pencaitland defence and setting up Shearlaw to sidefoot home from eight yards.
Leithen Rovers: C. Watson, C. Borthwick, G. Rathie, C. Smith, R. Forrest, S. Swanston, D. Thomson, T. Fleming, P. Shearlaw (S. Leitch 90), A. McMath, S. Philbin (C. Hope 59).