Haddington Athletic have made it a debut season to remember after edging out West Lothian 4-3 to lift the Anderson Cup at Ainslie Park.
The Edinburgh East side, in what is their first season as an amateur club after making the step up from Under-21 last year, have surpassed expectations as coach Raymond Daniel explained. “We have achieved more than we could have hoped for. We have a really young squad after coming up from the Under-21s last year with a couple of 18 and 19-year-olds. I think we deserved it in the end as we tried to play football but West Lothian made a good effort to come back into it.”
Haddington romped into an unassailable lead in the first half courtesy of Blair Aitken’s double before Ross Rollo netted a third to put the East Lothian outfit firmly in command at the interval. However, West Lothian were handed a lifeline only minutes into the second half when they were awarded a penalty that Scott Forret coolly converted.
Rollo then grabbed his second of the evening to make it 4-1 when he smashed a shot into the back of the net after a great cross from the right. Joe Hutchison then ran through on goal and showed great composure to finish and offer hope for West Lothian before Nick Galloway’s own goal made it 4-3 in the dying minutes.
Sandys close in on crown
Sandys recovered from the heartache of defeat in last week’s East of Scotland Cup final to move closer to the Premier Division 1 title with a 3-1 victory over nearest challengers Edinburgh South Vics at Saughton.
With so much at stake for both sides, these 90 minutes proved to be a frantic battle.
David Aitkenhead put Sandys in front in the first half and they were 2-0 ahead just three minutes later when James Reilly gathered Liam Todd’s pass deep out on the left side and the No. 9 cleverly put it through Thomas Lowrie’s legs before firing beyond Graeme Lennie and into the back of the net.
Ryan Moore then rattled the bar for Vics before Crease looked certain to add a third for Sandys until Ballantyne intervened on the goalline.
Lennie then tipped Michael Osborne’s thunderous volley from 25 yards onto the crossbar to keep his side in contention as an eventful first half was brought to a close. Osborne hit the crossbar for a second time after the break before Vics pulled a goal back through Paul Murray’s neat finish from eight yards after 57 minutes.
Despite pressure from the hosts, Robert McKenzi tucked away a penalty to give Sandys a vital three points.
Mayfield & Easthouses clinched the Lothian East championship title after a 1-1 draw against Danderhall MW at Danderhall Recreation Park.
Visitors Mayfield only needed a point to secure their second consecutive promotion and will now look forward to testing themselves in Premier Division 2 next season. Mayfield’s Robert Hogg said: “It’s a fantastic achievement. We have now gone two seasons unbeaten in the league. However, credit to Danderhall for putting up a good fight for the whole season.”
Danderhall, needing to take all three points to snatch the title from their opponents, went ahead within three minutes of the first whistle when Andrew Todd got on the end of a Grant McMillan cut-back to steer the ball in from six yards.
However, Mayfield wrapped up the championship when Dougie Morrison equalised with ten minutes remaining as the striker’s effort was deflected in at the near post.
Danderhall have also earned promotion to Premier Division 2 next season after finishing runners-up.