Wednesday 7 June 2017, 19.15, New Victoria Park
The final of the Fife and Lothians Cup between Tranent Juniors and Broxburn Athletic.
You wait all season for a visit to the home of Newtongrange Star, then two come along at once.
After attending the play-off game between Newtongrange Star and Forfar West End at the weekend, it was a quick return to New Victoria Park for the Fife and Lothians Cup Final.
Having seen both teams come through their respective semi-finals, with Tranent beating Musselburgh Athletic on penalties and Broxburn winning convincingly at Bo’ness United, both teams would have fancied their chances of some silverware.
East Premier League side Tranent Juniors went into the final as underdogs against their Superleague opponents, but they had already beaten them, on penalties, in the East of Scotland Cup Quarter Final. (Tranent would play the winners of Musselburgh Athletic and Bonnyrigg Rose, in the final of that competition. That semi was being played on the same night as this game and there were a few in the crowd checking their social media for updates on how that was going.)
Tranent had knocked out several Superleague sides in the cup competitions and to reach the final of both was quite an achievement for a side who hadn’t won anything in 40 years. Indeed, they hadn’t won the Fife and Lothians Cup since 1939.
Goalkeeper Craig Pucko retained his place in goal. He played his first game in the semi-final after being signed following a goalkeeping emergency at the club.
Broxburn had been very impressive in dismantling Bo’ness in their semi-final and it could have been more than the 3-0 final score, albeit that Bo’ness had a man sent off before the break.
Broxburn’s last trophy was the South Division title in 2006.
A big crowd filed into the ground to see who would win the trophy which meant the kick off was delayed for 15 minutes.
Broxburn won a corner in the opening minute. Anderson’s delivery came to Gribben who with his back to goal, sent a shot which went inches over the bar with Pucko motionless.
Kayne Paterson immediately had a chance at the other end, but Wallace saved.
A long ball forward in 3 minutes saw Gribben running into the Tranent box and go down. His claims for a penalty were ignored by the referee.
Locke played a dangerous ball across the face of the Tranent goal from the left in the fifth minute. Wojtowycz managed to see the ball out with Gribben in close proximity.
Tranent forced a couple of corners, but they came to nothing.
Locke went a run on the left for Broxburn in 8 minutes. He looked to have been tackled at one point, but managed to retain possession before playing the ball inside for Anderson. His shot produced a comfortable save for Pucko.
Broxburn made it to the by-line of Tranent in 10 minutes, but Cole’s cutback was too far in front of Gribben and the chance was gone.
In 16 minutes, Kayne Paterson looked to chip the ball into the Broxburn box for Fisher, but it was too far in front of his fellow striker.
A minute later and the two looked to combine again, this time Fisher playing Paterson in with just the keeper to beat, but the flag went up as he flashed his shot wide.
In 18 minutes, Anderson got to the by-line on the left, but his cross eluded his Broxburn teammates in the middle.
Anderson crossed into the Tranent box again in 20 minutes and his ball into the box found the head of Miller, who was clattered by Pucko as he headed over.
Gribben tried a snap shot at the Tranent goal from about 25 yards out in 22 minutes, but it didn’t unduly concern Pucko.
A dangerous ball into the Tranent box in 23 minutes from Locke on the right was turned behind by Gavin.
Up the other end in 24 minutes, Miller’s corner found the head of Christie, but under pressure he headed well wide.
A clever lobbed ball forward by Waters in 26 minutes gave Kayne Paterson a chance for Tranent, but a heavy touch allowed Wallace the chance to get out and block.
A mistake by Miller in 27 minutes gave Broxburn the ball in the Tranent half in 27 minutes. Anderson shot for goal, but Pucko saved.
Wojtowycz played a free kick into the Broxburn box in 31 minutes which saw Wallace fumble the ball under pressure. The keeper was given a free kick which looked a little generous.
Tranent had a free kick in their own half in 33 minutes and Wojtowycz backheeled the ball towards his goalkeeper so that he could take it. Gribben construed that the kick had been taken and took possession of the ball and fired it into the net. The referee wasn’t having it and ignored his claims that it was a goal.
Anderson broke down the left for Broxburn in 34 minutes and cut inside before swinging the ball into the box. Pucko parried it and Todd managed to whack the ball clear.
Todd was booked for dissent in 39 minutes after disputing the award of a Broxburn free kick about 22 yards from goal. There was a lot of debate about the merits of the decision, but it became null and void as Anderson struck it wide.
Broxburn finished the half strongly and were playing the game inside the Tranent half.
In 43 minutes, Locke latched onto a through ball on the left of the Tranent box, but the flag went up for offside as Pucko blocked the shot with his legs.
Just before half time Gribben played a one-two then passed to the feet of Locke inside the Tranent box. He went down, but was quickly back up again, although Tranent managed to get the ball away.
Broxburn had the better of the first half but Tranent were far from out of the game and were working hard. It looked like Broxburn needed a little more patience in creating chances. Tranent were closing down well and Broxburn often played balls into the box when another pass would have created more space and time for a cross.
Anderson crossed into the Tranent box in the opening minute of the second half and found the head of Miller, but he wasn’t allowed a free header by the defence and could only nod the ball down, which Pucko claimed.
A free kick by Wojtowycz into the Broxburn box from the right in 48 minutes was punched behind by Wallace. It didn’t look like that was what he had planned to do.
There were quite a few misplaced passes in the opening period of the second half, with both teams looking a bit nervous.
Locke burst into the Tranent box on the left in 52 minutes, but was halted by a fine Christie tackle to send the ball behind. Pucko punched the corner away.
Some good passing by Broxburn in 57 minutes ended with Locke playing the ball wide to Gribben. His cross into the box was cut out by Kerr.
A minute later, Anderson hit a great chip over the head of Tranent keeper Pucko, but Kerr acrobatically cleared the ball off the line to preserve his side’s clean sheet.
With 64 minutes gone, Fisher crossed into the Broxburn box from the left touchline and Miller rose well but headed narrowly wide.
A pass forward by Christie in 65 minutes was hit at goal first time by Kayne Paterson and wasn’t far wide of the Broxburn goal.
Christie had the ball on the right for Tranent in 69 minutes and put a great cross into the box where Murray volleyed inches wide.
A nice ball by Broxburn’s Gribben in 70 minutes released Anderson on the left and he returned the ball to Gribben inside the box, but his header was off target.
Locke cut in from the left in 71 minutes and hit a powerful shot at the Tranent goal, but Pucko blocked well and was up quickly to smother the ball. Locke was suffering from cramp after his run and shot.
A poor challenge by Scott on Kerr in 75 minutes saw the Broxburn player go into the book.
As the second half wore on, Tranent seemed to be getting stronger as Broxburn tired and were very much the team in the ascendency going into the final period of the game.
In 80 minutes, Linton had the ball for Broxburn in his own half and was hunted down by three Tranent players who eventually won the ball from him. Manson laid the ball into the path of Miller whose shot from around 24 yards fizzed narrowly wide.
Kayne Paterson burst into the Broxburn area in 81 minutes and a defender just managed to get a tackle in to send the ball behind. From the resultant corner taken by Miller, the ball was headed over by Todd.
It was all Tranent now and Wojtowycz cut the ball back from almost at the corner flag in 82 minutes which saw Kayne Patterson flash a header just wide.
As both sides began to prepare for a penalty shoot-out to decide the winners Tranent attacked in the final minute. Manson passed inside to Fisher who ran to the edge of the box and sent a curling shot past Wallace and into the corner of the net.
Cue pandemonium amongst the Tranent contingent in the ground. Fisher raced off to the corner flag chased by several of his team mates. Miller ran to the covered section on the opposite side of the pitch. Both took their tops off in celebration.
Before play restarted, the linesman advised the referee that Miller had taken his top off and he was booked. This seemed particularly mean spirited, especially when at least two on the other side of the pitch, including the scorer had theirs off but didn’t seem to be penalised. I doubt any of them cared too much.
The final whistle saw a pitch invasion by several Tranent youngsters. And some who looked old enough to know better.
A great win for Tranent who got stronger as the game went on. A game too far for Broxburn who looked a shadow of the side who won the semi and tired badly as the game went on.
Kerr was outstanding at the heart of the Tranent defence and Fisher and Paterson up front were a real handful. Broxburn’s Linton seemed to have more time on the ball than anyone else in midfield in what was a fast paced game.
Not the greatest of finals, but nobody in maroon cared about that as they lifted the trophy.
Full Time: Tranent Juniors 1 Broxburn Athletic 0
Tranent Juniors: 1 Craig Pucko, 2 Alexander Christie, 3 Craig Wojtowycz, 4 Jamie Todd, 5 Guy Kerr, 6 Jamie Paterson (Murray 66), 7 Ben Miller, 8 Lewis Hawkins (Fiddler 90), 9 Kenny Fisher, 10 Kayne Paterson, 11 Thomas Waters (Manson 74). Subs: 12 Darren Smith, 14 Joe Murray, 15 Stephen Manson, 16 Lloyd Fiddler, 17 Neil Smeaton.
Broxburn Athletic: 1 Connor Wallace, 2 Grant Gavin, 3 Darren Cole, 4 Craig Purves, 5 Frazer Paterson, 6 Michael Linton, 8 Craig Scott, 9 Alexander Miller, 10 Nicholas Locke, 11 Darren Gribben (Richards 84), 12 Keiran Anderson. Subs: 7 Scott Richards, 14 Ryan Baptie, 16 Darren Downie, 17 Scott McNaughton, Gk Shaun Donoghue.
Referee Mr Peter Stuart