Leithen Rovers 2
West Barns Star 1
WADDELL CUP FINAL
KENNY PATERSON reports from Stow
LEITHEN Rovers captain Colin Smith inspired his side to their second trophy of the season.
Smith set up the first goal and scored a delightful second as Paul Graham’s team overcame the memory of the previous week’s Beveridge Cup final hammering to lift the Waddell Cup.
Rovers were severely tested by their Dunbar opponents, who hit the woodwork three times, and manager Graham, who has vowed to stay on at Victoria Park, was ecstatic with the result.
He said: “West Barns had chances in the first half, but I think we played some good football in the second half and maybe we were a bit fitter than them.
“To win two cups and finish second in the league is not a bad season considering we had to make a lot of changes to the squad this year.”
Star had scored 27 goals in four games on their way to the final, and looked a match for Rovers from the off.
Winger Keith Tait is a skilful player and his inviting cross in the eighth minute only just evaded striker Daryl Fraser.
Two minutes later, however, Alan McMath was denied by a goal-line clearance by Neil Anderson.
Much like the weather, West Barns had a deluge of chances midway through the half.
Andrew Thorburn then did his best impression of David Beckham, with two free kicks hitting the bar and then being well saved by Rovers goalkeeper Mark Wilson.
Wilson again produced the goods to deny Craig Smith when clean through before Dean McGinty took over the free kick duties, only to hit the bar again.
The highly-rated Leithen stopper was almost caught out on 62 minutes when his clearance fell to Anderson, but the defender’s 40-yard shot at an empty net curled wide.
Two minutes later and Rovers took the lead.
Smith, who has attracted interest from East of Scotland League clubs, evaded West Barns’ offside trap, and, unlike other footballers at Border Amateur level, kept his composure well to slide a pass across for McMath to tap in from two yards.
Star pressed, but their high defensive line was exposed again on 83 minutes as Smith played a pass through the backline and ran onto the ball himself, before cutting inside to sidefoot past keeper Kevin Archibald.
West Barns deserved credit for not giving up and Fraser struck the post with a 20-yard effort before Cameron McIntyre fired home an injury-time consolation effort.
Leithen Rovers: M. Wilson, C. Borthwick, G. Rathie, R. Gibb, A. Laurie, C. Smith, D. Scott (S. Burton 87), G. Shortreed (A. Jackson 84), C. Hope, A. McMath and P. Shearlaw.