LBC LOCHEND claimed victory in the LEAFA Centenary Cup Final with a 4-0 victory over Uphall Station under the floodlights at Ainslie Park.
A brace from Craig Hume was added to by strikes from Mike Smith and Craig Rankin to ensure a well-earned victory for the Edinburgh outfit.
Lochend assistant manager Ronnie Travers was surprised by the margin of victory. He said: “We kept the ball well in the first half and scored the goals at the right time. I thought it would be a tougher test with Uphall being two leagues above us, but the boys worked their socks off. We’re still in three cups and if we beat East Calder, we should win the league as well.”
The early period proved very evenly matched with both sides enjoying spells in possession and neither really gaining the upper hand.
Uphall though created the first chance of the match and they should have taken the lead on 15 minutes. An out- swinging ball from the right flank found wide-man Steven Flemming unmarked inside the area, but he fluffed his chance as he failed to execute an attempted volley.
Lochend began to click into gear and could have been two goals up after half an hour.
Firstly, Scott Coventry fired over from close range after neat footwork from midfielder Martin Cairney on the edge of the area. Then moments later, his strike partner Craig Rankin suffered the same fate after being played in by big midfielder Mike Smith.
Lochend were not disheartened by their missed opportunities and continued to take the game to Uphall, moving the ball slickly from back to front and they were rewarded for their good play on 35 minutes when they took the lead.
Cairney picked up the ball on the right wing and played a deft ball over the Uphall defence to find team-mate Hume, who beat the offside trap and showed great composure by rounding goalkeeper Robert Sinclair before slotting home.
Uphall continued fighting and were only denied an equaliser by the feet of Lochend keeper Dean Walker, after Flemming’s low drive from the edge of the area on 40 minutes.
Lochend should have doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time.
After a long pass forward, striker Scott Coventry knocked the ball towards Cairney, who unleashed a blistering volley that struck the Uphall crossbar, leaving goalkeeper Sinclair stranded.
Lochend continued their dominance after the restart and finally doubled their advantage in the early period of the second half.
After Coventry’s thunderous strike was superbly turned wide by goalkeeper Sinclair, Lochend were able to score from the resultant corner. Marc Lothian’s cross after a short corner found Mike Smith at the back post and the playmaker was able to turn the ball home from four yards.
The Edinburgh outfit could have put the game beyond all reasonable doubt on the hour mark, when Craig Rankin struck at goal, but the forward was again to be denied by Sinclair, who produced a string of good stops between the Uphall sticks.
Uphall were unfortunate not to be handed an opportunity to reduce their deficit, after Bamba Jobreth was brought down inside the area by keeper Dean Walker. After consulting with his linesman, referee Tom Wallace decided not to award the spot kick.
And the West Lothian players were hit with a sucker punch shortly after when Lochend made it 3-0.
After multiple efforts on goal, Rankin was not to be denied his cup final glory, when his curling left-footed strike found a way to goal, skipping up off the wet 5G surface.
Uphall seemed stunned by their impressive counterparts and indeed Lochend would complete the rout towards the end, when midfielder Hume slotted home his second of the evening for Jamie McCrindle’s men.
Uphall gaffer Stevie Clark made no excuses for his side’s performance, saying: “Lochend wanted the game more than us, simple as that. I always expect more, especially in a final, but I don’t think we turned up on the night.
“There’s a lot still to play for, but well done Lochend.”
Uphall Station: Robert Sinclair, Gary White, Chris Norris, George McGregor, Charles Wright, Keith Robertson, Lee Adams, Derek Drummond, Bamba Jobreth, Robert McGregor, Steven Flemming, James Wilson, Scott Curtis, Liam Whyte, David Muir, Barry Dunlop.
LBC Lochend: Dean Walker, Simon Riley, Colin Waddle, Lee Pyrkosz, Mike Smith, Marc Lothian, Martin Cairney, Crag Hume, Scott Coventry, Craig Rankin, Ean Gilhooley, Stuart Smith, Gary Low, Mark Boggie, Craig MacIntosh, Jamie Reynolds, Ronnie Travers.