Amateurs: Lochend’s late rally secures Cairns Cup

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Lochend recovered from going a goal down in the final to beat East Calder United 3-1 and lift the Cairns Cup at Ainslie Park.

Premier Division 2 champions Lochend were strong favourites against their relegated opponents, but the final proved a competitive affair.

The first piece of real action came after 11 minutes. Lochend No.9 Graeme Cole received the ball just inside the box but the target man dragged his shot wide of the post having gone one-on-one with the East Calder goalkeeper.

A few minutes later, Paul Donlon had to clear the ball off the line as Lochend threatened from a corner.

East Calder had their first chance on the half-hour. A ball was played over the Lochend defence with Brian McPhillie lurking with intent. The forward hit the ball on the volley first time, but his effort went several yards wide of the far post.

The rest of the first half was fast-paced but no team had a foothold on the game. Both sides resorted to long balls and crosses from deep which the rearguards of both dealt with comfortably.

The second half was a much more entertaining affair with East Calder opening the scoring.

On 52 minutes, left-back Graeme Bishop played a free kick on the left from inside his own half towards the 18-yard box and the ball wasn’t dealt with by the Lochend defence.

The ball fell at David Murray’s feet and – after tricking a defender with a shimmy – he struck the ball home low and hard from around 14 yards.

On the hour mark, it was nearly 2-0. A move developed through the middle and Mark Manderson saw a gap to play Scott McGreggor into the right side of the box.

The attacker only had Lochend stopper Chris Robertson to beat but hit a powerful drive straight at him and the chance was gone.

Aside from that, there were few clear-cut chances for either side and, truth be told, East Calder were the dominant team, winning every 50-50 and containing Lochend in their own half for most of the time.

The tide started to change, however, after 70 minutes. Lochend striker Cole went close with a shot over the bar, then Kevin Milne should have scored with a header.

Milne made amends just a few minutes later, though. An identical corner from John Robertson came in from the right and, instead of his header going over the bar, this one hit the back of the net with force as he bulleted it home to equalise.

Lochend then took the lead with ten minutes left. A ball was floated over the defence and with the ball still airborne, Cole ran to meet it and clipped it across the box. Stuart Smith connected with a thumping drive to score from a few yards out.

A few minutes later it was 3-1, when a mix-up between East Calder No.  Ross Harvie and a defender allowed the ball to spill at the feet of Craig Robertson, who finished first time to seal a league and cup double for Lochend.