Gala Fairydean Rovers 0
Gala Fairydean Rovers player/manager Kevin Matheson bemoaned his side’s Beveridge Cup final showing in his last game in charge of the club.
Newtown thoroughly deserved their first Beveridge victory, and Matheson, who stepped down as co-manager with Colin Riddle at the end of the match, admitted Gala were second best.
Matheson said: “We didn’t turn up. The boys are good enough, but didn’t show it and they should have in a cup final.
“We were missing some experienced players such as our top scorer and player of the year Welsh Curran, but we should still have played better.”
Gala Rovers picked up the Beveridge Cup 12 months ago, but the renamed side is in a rebuilding process and failed to get close to silverware in any other competition.
Despite playing plenty of their trademark passing football, Rovers lacked any attacking threat, bar youngster Tommy Patterson who fired just over with a 25-yard free kick on 24 minutes.
Newtown slowly got themselves into the game, and after Russell Hunter’s toe-poke shot flew just over, the Villagers opened the scoring six minutes before half-time. A Matt Scott in-swinging corner was met perfectly by the head of Neil Macvicar from six yards out to find the net.
Shaun Hardie was forced off with an ankle injury at half-time, and were it not for a top save by Glen Murray, Gala could have been two down within a minute of the break as Newtown player/boss Gary Hastie’s effort was blocked.
Teenager Patterson forced Newtown keeper Jason Henry into his first save of the match on 50 minutes when he palmed away a fierce shot.
But it was Hastie who was to play a pivotal role in deciding where the cup was heading.
The former Gala Rovers striker showed why he was among the best finishers in the Borders with a well-timed header from a Russell Hunter cross on 65 minutes, and three minutes later he controlled and finished a Matt Scott pass with aplomb to find the bottom corner of the net.
Gala woke up in the closing stages with Craig Macdonald and Brad Lochrie forcing Henry into a couple of decent saves, but they could not even manage a consolation.
A delighted Hastie said: “I am really pleased with the performance against a good, young Gala side.
“They were missing a few experienced players in James Scott, Welsh Curran and Colin Riddle, but we still deserved the win.”
It was Hastie’s first silverware in his debut season, which has proved an interesting start to his managerial career.
“There have been plenty ups and downs, and I have certainly a new respect for all my previous managers after this year,” added Hastie.