A STUNNING 25-yard strike from Sam Jones was enough to earn Loanhead MYFC 19s the Bob Bankier Trophy as they ran out 1-0 winners against AC Oxgangs 19s at Ainslie Park.
In a closely-fought final, the midfielder tried his luck from range with barely a minute gone, scoring what would prove to be the only goal.
Coach Peter Kay was pleased with the strike and impressed with his side’s performance across the 90 minutes.
“It was a cracker, aye, Sam’s good for that,” said Kay. “Over the course of the season you’ll see him score a few goals like that and tonight he’s done it when it’s mattered most.
“I’m delighted. We got the goal early on and I didn’t think that was going to be it finished. You see it quite often though, when a goal comes that early it can often decide a game. Oxgangs had a good spell after the goal but we rallied and in the second half I thought we were the better team. We had some chances to get another goal but we just couldn’t find it but one was to prove enough.”
Kay’s side didn’t take long to shake off any cup final jitters as Jones picked up the ball 25 yards out before sending it over the head of Andrew Dunnett in the Oxgangs goal and into the net.
It was the perfect start for the visitors but Oxgangs restarted the game looking for a swift response. With adrenaline surging, both sides began to battle hard in midfield, with some meaty challenges, as they looked to stamp their authority on the tie.
Despite their best efforts the home side couldn’t quite find an opening so soon after conceding and it was Loanhead who were next to come close. Ryan Porteous took a free kick from 25 yards that dipped over the wall but went narrowly over the crossbar.
With the game heading towards half time the hosts looked to attack from out wide through Jamie Hamilton but any crosses into the area were dealt with thanks to a combination of the Loanhead defence and keeper Ben Mackenzie.
Dunnett was then called into action twice in five minutes to deny Porteous. After saving a drilled effort from the edge of the box, the Oxgangs keeper kept out the central midfielder’s towering header with a save down low to his left.
After the restart, Oxgangs came out looking revitalised as they looked to make their mark on the game.
Murray Cockburn cut in the from the right-hand side before hitting an early shot from an angle but Mackenzie in the Loanhead goal was alert to the danger and held on to the shot.
Ten minutes later the hosts ventured down the right again in search of an equaliser. Lewis Temple broke into the box from the wing and looked to get a shot on target but Jack Fairgrieve did enough to block his effort.
With the clock ticking towards full time both sides were desperate to find a game-changing goal and Oxgangs had a great chance with five minutes to go. Hamilton sent a pinpoint ball from deep into the area to Gavin Reid but Mackenzie did just enough to put the No.10 off and he lobbed the ball over the bar.
With that moment gone, Loanhead proceeded to run the clock down as they saw out the game to become the Bob Bankier Trophy winners of 2015.
AC Oxgangs 19s: Andrew Dunnett, Murray Cockburn, Tom Embleton, Jamie Hamilton, Neil Middleton, Callum Berwick, Shaun Marshall, Sam Leslie, Lewis Murray, Sam Philp, Gavin Reid, Robbie Brown, Isaac Thomson, Campbell Stephen, Lewis Temple, Elliot Sked.
Loanhead MYFC 19s: Ben Mackenzie, Calum Smart, Liam Taylor, Jack Fairgrieve, Ross Currie, David Wright, Liam Matthew, Sam Jones, Ryan Weston, Darren McCraw, Connor Lawrie, Andrew McNeill, Michael Gray, Liam Higgins, Dean McCafferty, Michael Hutchison, Ryan Porteous, Lawrence Naismith.