Sunday 17 July 2016, Swan Cup
Game number two of the day in the Swan Cup and it’s the final between hosts Tranent Juniors and Berwick Rangers Under 20.
Tranent Juniors are currently in the East Premier League. Founded in 1911, the pinnacle of their existence was winning the Scottish Junior Cup in 1934–35. They were also runners-up to Yoker Athletic in the 1932–33 final after a replay.
Gary Small is the current incumbent of the Tranent managerial hotseat. Formerly the assistant manager at Haddington, he became the club’s third manager in a year when appointed in February 2015.
Small was quick to get his own team last season and stamp his own philosophy on them and they won the East Region South Division last year to gain promotion to the East Premier League. He has strengthened his squad for the new season and has signed former Hibs, Rangers and Dundee midfielder Kevin Thomson, who is only 31. Quite a coup. The club have also signed Guy Kerr and fellow defender Eck Christie from Musselburgh Athletic and centre-back Jamie Todd from Preston Athletic. “The Belters” have high hopes of a successful season.
My second viewing of Berwick Rangers Under 20s in pre-season after they were unfortunate to lose by a goal at Whitehill Welfare. The Berwick development team feature in two tournaments this weekend, with another side playing in Rosyth. This means a number of trialists feature today.
The same three officials as used in the first game, with the referee swapping with one of the linesmen.
Going for a pleasant lunch in a local café took longer than expected and we missed the first 15 minutes or so of the 3 o’clock start, but it was clear that the tackles were flying in pretty quickly. No malice in them, but it was certainly competitive.
The first real effort we saw involved Tranent’s Watt holding the ball up well in 33 minutes and laying it off to Conlon, who sent a curling effort narrowly wide.
Berwick’s Scott played a great ball down the right in 38 minutes to Conroy, and from a tight angle and with no support, he shot for goal, but it was too close to Wood who gathered comfortably.
There weren’t too many opportunities to score in the half, but it was a decent enough game with both teams putting in a lot of effort and Kyle Scott had been spraying some impressive passes around the field.
Among the half times subs was Tranent’s keeper, who is the son of former Hearts striker John Robertson.
Just 5 minutes into the second half, Berwick took the lead. Conroy played the ball through to Paterson who struck the ball past the outrushing Robertson.
In 59 minutes, Tranent’s Smith sent McMillan scampering off down the right. He shot for goal, but it was always curling away.
Tranent’s Christie and J Paterson left a bouncing ball to each other in 72 minutes and Conroy had a chance, but his effort was too high.
With 74 minutes gone, Hawkins picked out Murray on the edge of the box and he hit a low shot towards Berwick’s goal that Allan did well to push away. As play developed, a chance fell to Hunter, but the keeper was there again.
Berwick’s substitute in 76 minutes saw Stephen Scott join his identical twin Kyle on the pitch.
A quick break by Berwick in 77 minutes gave S Scott an opportunity, but Todd made a good saving tackle to stop the danger.
A minute later Tranent came forward and K Paterson found McMillan on the left. He came forward and in the act of shooting, was blocked by a tackle.
S Scott hit a great strike at goal in 80 minutes, but Robertson held the ball well.
In 86 minutes as Tranent started to come forward, I asked the linesman standing in front of me if there was extra time if Tranent equalised. He told me that it went straight to penalties. Hunter then crossed into the middle and McMillan rose at the back post to head into the net for the equaliser. I got a knowing look from the linesman.
Straight from kick off, Berwick put together a great move with K Scott passing to number 16, who squared it to S Scott, but he somehow put the ball wide of the post.
Up the other end immediately as Murray ran onto a through ball and rounded the keeper, but number 15 got back to clear for Berwick.
In the last minute, K Paterson took the ball along Berwick’s by-line and cut the ball back for Hawkins, but Allan saved his side footed effort.
In injury time, Berwick almost won it when the ball fell to S Scott 6 yards out but Robertson somehow managed to save with his feet.
Another good game and probably a fair result, but a winner was needed, so it was onto penalties. There seemed to be a bit of a rush on at the end of 90 minutes with a table put in the centre circle for the trophy presentation and one of the nets taken down before the shoot-out had even started.
McMillan scored for Tranent, Number 16 sent Berwick’s first high and wide and over the wall behind the goal.
Knight scored for Tranent, Anderson scored for Berwick.
J Paterson scored for Tranent, Ingram scored for Berwick.
Hawkins scored for Tranent, K Scott scored for Berwick.
K Paterson stepped up to win it for Tranent and made no mistake.
For the second time in six days I saw Berwick’s under 20s side being unfortunate. Even with all the trialists, they looked a good side. Tranent look in good shape for the new season and will only get stronger with Thomson still to come into the side.
The big strong defender at number 6 for Berwick was very solid and S Scott and goalkeeper Allan were also impressive. For Tranent, Hunter and K Paterson both played well and Smith was excellent in defensive midfield. Maybe Thomson won’t get in the team.
Full Time: Tranent Juniors 1 Berwick Rangers Under 20 1. (Tranent win 5-3 on penalties)
Admission: £4 (which included both games).
Tranent Juniors: 1 Connor Wood (Robertson 45), 2 Alex Christie, 3 Ryan McKenzie (Knight 61), 4 Chris Gordon (Hawkins 45), 5 Lloyd Fiddler (Todd 45), 6 Darren Smith, 7 Hamish Hunter, 8 Sean Conlon (McMillan 45), 9 Joe Murray, 10 Daniel Watt (J Paterson 45), 11 Kayne Paterson. Subs: GK Liam Robertson. 12 Kenny McMillan, 14 Lewis Hawkins, 15 Jamie Paterson, 16 Dean Knight, 17 Jamie Todd.
Berwick Rangers Under 20: 1 Grant Goodfellow (Allan 45), 2 Ewan Herriot, 3 Trialist (12 45), 4 Trialist, 5 Trialist, 6 Trialist, 7 Kyle Scott, 8 Kieran Ingram, 9 Ryan Conroy (S Scott 76), 10 Regan Graham (Anderson 45), 11 Ally McDonald (16 45). Subs: 12 Trialist, 13 Stephen Scott, 14 Ethan Anderson, 15 Trialist, 16 Trialist, 20 Stuart Allan.
Referee: Simon MacLean.