Penicuik Athletic YFC Reds rounded off an impressive season with a 3-1 victory over Gala Fairydean Rovers Colts 15s in the Division 3 League Cup.
After a disappointing campaign last season, the cup success caps a remarkable turnaround for team, who are second in Division 3 and only just behind league leaders Dalkeith Miners CYP 15s.
Coach Grant Sandison said: “I’m absolutely delighted for the boys. Every one of them has been superb from the start of the season. They have made great progress in a really short space of time as last year we where struggling down the bottom end of the table and a year on they’ve won the League Cup and are sitting nicely in the league.”
New Dundas Park played host to the final and Athletic took the lead with six minutes on the clock. Cailean Ryan whipped a corner from the left into the area and Michael Robertson sent a powerful header into the goal from four yards out.
Athletic continued to press as Gala struggled to assert themselves early on. By the tenth minute, they’d doubled their lead and deservedly so. Lewis Allan received the ball out wide and he played it to Robertson, who fired under the body of Gala goalie Kyle Cockburn.
At 2-0 down, Gala piled forward from the restart, desperate to turn the cup final around. It almost paid off as, minutes after conceding, Gala went close when Sean Curran’s header was cleared off the line by Greg Livie.
It was the beginning of a decent spell for the side from the Borders. They had another good opportunity when the ball fell to Declan Bell in the Athletic box but, with little time to pick his spot, he hit the ball straight at Athletic goalie Robert Stevenson.
Gala kept pushing and were eventually rewarded as they pulled a goal back in spectacular style. Captain Sam Cockburn saw Stevenson off his line and from all of 35 yards he lobbed the Athletic keeper with an immaculate long-range hit.
Athletic composed themselves once again to see off the Gala pressure to half-time. When they got going after the break, they were in control once more, finding a third goal to kill the game off. Jake Grandison raced forward from the left of the field before lacing the ball into the bottom-right corner past the outstretched fingertips of Cockburn to make it 3-1.
Athletic continued to dominate throughout the second half. Grandison tried another strike from outside the area but Cockburn saved well with his knees to deny the midfielder. Then, not long before full time, they went close again. Allan sent a low ball into the box from the left flank to Robertson and, after he saw his shot blocked, Ryan could have steered the ball in but, from four yards, he couldn’t quite make contact to net another for his side.
Nevertheless, Athletic were comfortable and they held on to be crowned deserved winners.
Gala Fairydean Rovers Colts 15s: Kyle Cockburn, Matthew Johnston, Robbie Johnston, Darren Boggs, Josh Third, Lee Macrae, Luis Mendoza, Martin Smith, Cammy Finlayson, Declan Bell, Sam Cockburn, Scott Stoddart, Daniel Cairnie, Josh Lamb, Sean Curran, Lewis McGill
Penicuik Athletic YFC Reds 15s: Robert Stevenson, Jay Boyd, Lewis Allan, Jack Forrester, Cailean Ryan, Cameron Quinn, Jake Grandison, Rhys Mackenzie, Zak Galmiche, Josh McDonald, Michael Robertson, Jamie Rose, Ryan Wood, Greg Livie