Beechwood FC 14s produced a fantastic team performance to be crowned winners of the Paladin Cup, with a 3-0 victory over Arniston Rangers at New Dundas Park, Bonnyrigg.
Arniston Rangers started the day top of Division Three, with Beechwood 17 points behind in fourth. That made Arniston favourites going into the tie, but Beechwood rose to the occasion to go 2-0 up after 27 minutes through Charlie Hogg and Benjamin Afshar.
They had to soak up a fair bit of pressure as the game went on, but they stood tall and Daniel Findlay scored another fantastic goal with 12 minutes left on the clock.
Findlay registered the game’s first shot on goal in the first minute after a productive run by Afshar, and then Rangers’ Cameron Catterall tried an unorthodox route by flicking the ball over his own head with his back to goal, but it came back off the crossbar.
The ninth minute saw the net being hit for the first time. Afshar created it with a dangerous delivery from a corner which proved too difficult to defend. The ball fell for Hogg who was ready to pounce.
Afshar got one of his own to make it 2-0, dribbling through to find the net with a low strike.
The pressure was ramped up by Arniston in the lead up to half-time and in the last eight minutes of the half they had four chances on goal.
Catterall nicked the ball off a defender but Rory McGeogh was out quickly to block and Euan Donaldson’s follow up was held by the keeper. McGeogh made a save with his legs after Catterall had won the ball in similar circumstances.
Benjamin Templeton joined in with his keeper in making a terrific blocking tackle to prevent Catterall after a high ball into the box by Denim Power.
It was indicative of the defending on show from Beechwood and it continued into the second half as Arniston continued to look for a goal.
They were restricted to shots from outside the box and one from the outside of Mark Ramsay’s boot was held by McGeogh.
A quick passing move involving Ramsay and Jack Jameson ended with Power having a go but again they couldn’t find the breakthrough.
They finally managed to get closer in when the ball fell to Donaldson right on the edge of the box and he quickly hit a snapshot but again found McGeogh in the way.
A determined looking Donaldson then got in front of a defender to meet Jameson’s cross with his instep but his nemesis blocked his route to goal again.
Beechwood remained a threat on the break and Afshar slipped a pass to Findlay whose shot looked like it might dip in but it just cleared the goal.
They did not have to wait much longer for the third though as Findlay hit his next one perfectly into the top left corner, having turned smartly on Niles Kinder’s ammunition.
Donaldson tried the spectacular with a free kick from 30 yards which drew another save from McGeough and a lovely flick round the corner from Ramsay gave Catterall a chance but his shot was saved as Rangers’ frustration continued.
Arniston Rangers: Kai Dobbie, Dylan Akkur, David Bills, Andrew Brannan, Kye Brown, Cameron Catterall, Kieran Cockburn, Euan Donaldson, Andrew Henderson, Jack Jameson, Cameron Miller, Denim Power, Patrick Ruthven, Aidan Winnik, Mark Ramsay
Beechwood FC: Rory McGeogh, Lewis Carey, Benjamin Templeton, Niles Kinder, Tristan Low, Lewis Kerr, Ruari Westwood, Matthew Darrington, Benjamin Afshar, Daniel Findlay, Oliver Findlay, Dylan Mawjee, Craig Ranger, Achile Keita, John Bailey, Charlie Hogg.