Penicuik Athletic striker Aaron Somerville reckons manager Johnny Harvey can’t afford to leave him out of their starting XI in next weekend’s East of Scotland Cup final after he came off the bench to bag a double to get them there.
Somerville was gutted not to be handed a starting place against Dundonald but he used that disappointment as motivation to make an instant impression when he was introduced at half-time with team-mate Ryan Baptie.
The duo combined to full effect just three minutes into the second period when left-back Baptie’s corner kick was headed in at the front post by Somerville.
Penicuik then turned on the style in a 3-1 success with Somerville netting another header to complete his brace and reach 50 goals for the club, which added to the opener from Arran Ponton in the first half.
“The boys were on suicide watch after the Nitten game [Fife and Lothians Cup semi-final which Penicuik lost on penalties],” said Somerville.
“It added that wee bit of spice to it and made us want it more. We know Dundonald are a good side, but the boys showed appetite and we deserved it. It was a couple of headers from me; it’s not like me. I like the wee run to the front post, I scored one like that against Bo’ness last Wednesday. I should have had more, to be honest, I’m critical of myself. I felt I could have had four or five. I won’t beat about the bush, I wasn’t happy not to start, but it’s the gaffer’s decision, although I don’t think he can leave me out the final now.
“Me and Ryan talked about it at half-time. When Ryan is on the ball I just know where he is going to put it and we linked up well.”
Somerville was part of the Penicuik side which shocked Super League champions Bonnyrigg Rose to lift the Fife and Lothians Cup two years ago and he’s desperate to get his hands on another trophy when they face Tranent at Prestonfield on Saturday.
He continued: “What a day that was, and hopefully we can do it again for the club. Beating Bonnyrigg a couple of years ago was sweet and Tranent will just be as hard a game. We beat them 1-0 a few weeks ago but they are a good side. We’ll turn up and we’ll see what happens.
“You work hard all year and I feel the boys and the club deserve a bit of silverware.”
There was little to separate either side in a cagey opening period as passes went astray. Neither goalkeeper was tested until Penicuik No.1 Kyle Allison prevented a certain opener for the visitors on the half-hour mark as he got down to his right to stop Barry Sibanda’s effort.
Penicuik went in front six minutes later with their first real chance. Lumbert Kateleza and strike partner Andrew Sinclair combined well down the right side, before the latter chipped goalwards as visiting keeper James Lennox rushed out to narrow the angle.
The ball landed to Ponton at the back post and he lashed a strike high into the net.
Harvey’s men were soon celebrating No.2 just minutes after the interval when Somerville headed in Baptie’s in-swinging corner.
The hosts were beginning to turn on the style with Dundonald looking vulnerable every time the home side got forward.
It was soon three as Scott McCrory-Irving’s pinpoint delivery into the area saw Somerville leap to head in over Lennox.
Somerville should have wrapped up a 20 minute hat-trick but he scooped the ball over the bar from Ponton’s cross.
The visitors gave themselves a slim chance ten minutes from the end when Lewis McKenzie headed in Archie Campbell’s cross, but the home side would see the game out comfortably.
Penicuk boss Harvey reckoned their second-half showing was the perfect warm-up for Saturday’s final.
He said: “Semi-finals are just about getting the job done; it’s not too much about performance, it’s more about the result. In the first half we didn’t do what I asked them to do, but in the second half we carried out the gameplan to a tee, I thought we were excellent.
“I thought in the first half an hour of the second half is as good as we have played for some time. We flustered them because we were so at it. I’m buzzing about next week and it’s the least the boy deserves; no team deserves it more than they do.”
Penicuik Athletic: Allison, Forbes, Williams (Baptie), Hume (MacDonald), Young, Connolly, McCrory-Irving, Jones, Sinclair (Somerville), Kateleza, Ponton.
Dundonald Bluebell: Lennox, Walton (Gray), Drummond, Durie, Hendry, Wedderburn, Moffat (Meikle), Campbell, Smith, Kay, Sibanda (McKenzie).