Amateurs: West End United AFC book League Cup final spot

West End United AFC were short of six regulars and their manager was an unused substitute

West End United AFC were short of six regulars and their manager was an unused substitute

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West End United AFC booked a place in the final of The Sunday Morning Group League Cup after a 3-0 win over Tranent Amateurs at Meadowmill.

Lee Watson’s team have enjoyed an excellent campaign, having taken the Sunday Morning Division at a canter, winning 16 of their 17 league fixtures and drawing the other.

Tranent Athletic finished top of Group B and they started strongly, Stewart Hood crossing to the back post and Alex Stewart powering in a header which went wide.

Sean McAllister then seized upon a slack pass back to threaten for West End but his shot was deflected wide for a corner.

Tranent’s delivery from the wing was causing some early concern for the West End defence, but, once in possesion, they were quick to counter-attack.

However, Steven Godsell’s outfit continued to look the more likely to score, John Brash had a shot held by Steven Syme after recovering from an earlier head knock.

Stewart was showing his aerial prowess and he once again came close to breaking the deadlock with a header from an Alexander Varndell cross.

After the half-hour mark, West End started to impose themselves more and both Gary Craig and Scott Sutherland had distance shots, without failing to trouble Stewart Ferrier in goal.

Stewart was then cautioned for a late tackle on Paul Lindsay before McAllister sent a shot inches over from a James Spence lay off.

Both sides continued to press in the second half and West End took the lead on 68 minutes with a goal right out of the top drawer as Spence directed a powerful drive into the roof of the net after the Tranent defence failed to clear their lines properly from a corner.

There was almost an equaliser minutes later when Brash’s header from an Andrew Doran corner was clawed away by Syme who once again was a stand-out in goal for West End, rushing off his line on a few occasions to thwart attacks.

The second goal arrived on 79 minutes and it was a decision which riled the Tranent players. Stewart Hood was adjudged to have made contact with Spence inside the area and the referee awarded the spot kick.

On close inspection, the contact appeared minimal with both players going for the ball and despite the furious protestations of Tranent keeper Ferrier, Kenny Burns was confident enough to comfortably direct his penalty down the middle.

The game was finished as a contest on 85 minutes when Craig slipped the ball into the path of James Ketchen who finished well, before Spence sent a header over Ketchen’s cross.

West End will now face Broxburn AFC at Newtongrange tomorrow (10.30am kick-off) following their 3-2 win over Burgh Vale and Watson was delighted to see his squad reach the final.

“We had six bodies missing today and hopefully a lot of the guys who were missing today will return for the final, but we utilised the squad that we had and it speaks volumes for the guys who had to step in at the last minute,” said Watson who was an unused substitute himself.

“We’ve had a great season with some really impressive results, but Tranent didn’t make it easy for us and we know the final will be tough, but we can look forward to it now.”

West End United: Steven Syme, Jonny MacKenzie, Kevin Dunn, David Penrice, David Robertson, Scott Sutherland, Paul Lindsay, Sean McAllister, Scott McCluskey, Gary Craig, James Spence, Kenny Burns, James Ketchen, Lee Watson.

Tranent Amateurs: Stewart Ferrier, Stewart Hood, Daniel Black, John Brash, Bruce Cunningham, Daniel Davie, Andrew Doran, Blair Glynn, Andrew Paterson, Dean Saxby, Alex Stewart, Alexander Varndell, Robert Leishman.