Gordon 4 Hawick Legion Rovers 1
Gordon player/manager Craig Livingston had a big smile on his face at the end of this Sanderson Cup final at Yarrow Park on Friday evening.
The former Gala Fairydean and Selkirk ace had every reason to be smiling, for not only had his side won the Sanderson Cup for the first time in their history, he had also became a dad for the first time. Just days earlier his wife Gemma had presented him with a baby daughter, Cara. Livingston was a happy man and quite rightly so.
Gordon more than deserved their triumph at the end. However, recently promoted Gordon had a real battle on their hands in the first half, for Rovers, who were reduced to ten men just past the half hour mark, due to the dismissal of Stuart Marshall for hand ball, gave as good as they got.
Expressing his thoughts on matters Livingston said: “We were very nervous to begin with and it took us time to settle down. It ended up being a good win for us though and it was achieved by a great team effort.
“That’s the way it has been all season for us as everyone has been working for each other. Hawick will feel hard done by in having had a man sent off in the first half but they never gave up and battled hard to the finish.”
Rovers began in an enterprising manner and Liam Lawrence came near to scoring in the opening minutes in hitting a Chris Dunne cross just past the post.
Gordon then showed what they had to offer and Hawick keeper Kevan Miller pulled off the first of many excellent saves when spreading himself to block a Stuart Ramsay effort.
With 16 minutes gone the Berwickshire men broke the deadlock. Ramsay floated over a cross from the right which was bulleted into the net by the head of Steven Kinghorn.
After Miller had saved well from Gavin Brown and Kevin Utterson in rapid succession, Rovers equalised in the 26th minute. On being fed by a Jordan Caldwell pass, Chris Graham sprayed the ball to the feet of Stefan Laidlaw who fired home.
Within minutes of this Gordon regained their lead. Running onto a long ball from the back, Livingston rounded Miller and shot goalwards. There was to be no goal though for Rovers defender Stuart Marshall kept out Livingston’s net bound effort with his hand. Indeed he made a save that any goalkeeper would have been proud of.
Marshall was red carded and Alan Jackson slotted away the resultant penalty.
Ten men Hawick came rallying back and following a long Caldwell throw in, Lawrence hit in a shot that appeared goal bound until cannoning off the legs of Gavin Brown.
With both sides showing plenty of endeavour and commitment the action continued thick and fast and in the 60th minute Gordon added to their tally. Jackson notching his second goal of the match in beating Miller with a sweetly struck drive on meeting a Livingston cut back.
In the 66th minute Gordon struck again. Taking a corner kick after Miller had thwarted Utterson in diving to tip a Gordon front runner round the post, Gavin Brown swung over a ball that curled and sailed over the line. Caldwell ended up heading the ball into the net in attempting to clear but a goal had already been scored.
A lot of the sting came out of the game after this. Hawick finished with a late flurry though during which the Gordon keeper, Leighton Henderson, who was playing his last game before hanging up his boots, pulled off an absolutely cracking save when twisting himself in mid-air to push away a Luke Cooper shot.
Rover’s goal scorer Stefan Laidlaw said of the final: “I thought we were the better side for the first half, even after going down to ten men. In the second half however being a player short, we started to tire and began to chase the game. We gave our all though and you can’t ask for any more than that.”
Gordon: L. Henderson, G. Redpath, R. Purves, G. Brown, E. Brown, N. Burrows, S. Ramsay (C. Connor), A. Jackson (R. Chapman), K. Utterson, C. Livinsgton, S. Kinghorn (J. Bell).
Hawick Legion Rovers: K. Miller, S. Marshall, J. Caldwell, J. Dalgleish, C. Dunne (G. Marshall), R. Cairns, P. Cooper, C. Graham (L. Cooper), L. Lawrence, S. Laidlaw (C. Caldwell), J. Shankie (D Hope).