Tranent Conjour Up Late Winner To Lift Cup

Tranent Juniors 1 Broxburn Athletic 0

Report by Gordon Baird
With the final heading towards a penalty shootout, KENNY FISHER conjured up a top class effort, fit to win any game, and sent the Fife & Lothians Cup back to Forresters Park for the first time since 1939. In truth the winner had looked on the cards for the last fifteen minutes as Tranent created chance after chance. With a bit more poise in front of goal, the Belters might well have won far more easily.
After a fairly even first half, when Broxburn looked the slicker side without creating many chances, the West Lothian side dominated the early part of the second period, pinning Tranent back. However, as the game became increasingly more open, it looked like there would be only one winner, and so it came as no real surprise when Fisher grabbed the goal.
Tranent Juniors and Broxburn Athletic have not enjoyed Cup glory for many years, so the Final of the Conservatory Converters Fife & Lothians Cup was a huge opportunity for both sides to end the Cup famine and give their supporters a taste of success. Super League side Broxburn Athletic have beaten Bo’ness United, Edinburgh United, Newtongrange Star, Kirkcaldy YMCA and Bathgate Thistle on their way to this year’s final. Premier League Tranent Juniors have seen off Newburgh, Dalkeith Thistle, Super League champions Kelty Hearts and local rivals Musselburgh Athletic – Dalkeith and Musselburgh on penalties.
The sides met in the D J Laing East of Scotland Cup as recently as May when Tranent triumphed on penalties after a 2-2 draw, so it promised to be a close match despite the sides playing in different divisions. Broxburn finished just inside the top half of the Super League while Tranent finished fourth in their division after a slow start. 
The kick off was delayed for 15 minutes to let the huge crowd into New Victoria Park, on what was a perfect evening for football and the atmosphere created was perfect for a Cup Final.
Broxburn started brightly and won a corner in the first minute. Anderson fired the ball across and Gribben hooked his effort just over the bar. Tranent went straight down the other end and Kayne Patterson brought out a save from Wallace. Tranent won a couple of early corners but they came to nothing.
The next chance fell to Athletic and after a good run by Locke, who cut in from the left wing, Anderson fired in a shot which Pucko saved well. Next a searching run by Anderson gave Cole a chance to cut the ball back into the area,  but there was no one on the end of it. It had been an even first ten minutes with chances at both ends.
After fifteen minutes, Fisher created a chance for himself but his chipped effort fell just beyond Wallace’s far post.
Athletic were moving the ball around quickly but it was from a corner their next chance game – with Miller nearly getting on the end of Anderson’s cross. Next Gribben tried a shot from well out but it was a wasted effort. Half way through the half, Christie got his head to a Miller corner for Tranent but he didn’t make a clean connection and the ball went over.
Tranent created their best chance after twenty four minutes. Watters cleverly  chipped the ball forward and Kayne Patterson got on the end of it, but Wallace made a good stop to keep the game scoreless. Tranent were not moving the ball around quickly enough and Broxburn looked comfortable at the back,  whereas the Athletic’s passing was much slicker.
With thirty two minutes played Broxburn had a great chance. The speedy Anderson broke on the left and then cut in across goal. His effort looked like it was going in at the far post,  but Pucko pulled off a fine stop. Broxburn were beginning to dominate now and push Tranent back and Tranent’s Todd was yellow carded  Anderson sent a free kick over the bar with five minutes to the break before Gribben had a shot from inside the box well stopped by Pucko.
Tranent were happy to get in on level terms at the break, as after an even first twenty minutes, Broxburn had looked the more dangerous side.
Half Time   Tranent Juniors 0 Broxburn Athletic 0
Neither side made a change at the break. Tranent started the second half brightly winning an early free kick which Watters nearly got on the end of and a corner, but Broxburn soon began to dominate the play, with pace on the break and Tranent were being pushed back into their own half. Broxburn won a number of corners but Todd and Kerr were solid at the back and Pucko behind them, always alert to any through balls.
The game was being played in Tranent’s  half but after sixty three minutes Tranent showed they were still in the match. Fisher put in a dangerous cross and Miller headed just wide when he should have scored. It was a warning to Broxburn. A minute later Kayne Patterson shot over. Tranent then replaced Jamie Paterson with Murray and the fresh legs gave them a real lift.
After sixty eight minutes the substitute had a great chance. Miller put in a fine cross but Murray put his first time effort wide. A minute later Anderson put in a cross at the other end, but Gribben put the headed chance over. With twenty minutes remaining, Tranent tried a different tactic with a Kayne Patterson nearly getting in the end of a long ball.
Locke tried a shot for Broxburn which Pucko gathered at the second attempt. Tranent replaced Watters with Manson adding pace and width. Pucko was called into action again, racing from his goal to reach a through ball before Locke. Next Linton headed over from a corner for Broxburn.
The game was very open now and Tranent’s Miller put a terrific effort just wide from range when the ball broke to him following a Manson run. Tranent were now dominating the game and with ten minutes remaining Todd headed over from a Miller corner kick.
A minute later Kayne Patterson should have given Tranent the lead but headed wide from a great Wojtowycz cross – it was bad miss! Fisher then created an opening but despite the crowd screaming for him to shoot he chose to pass and the chance was lost.
Broxburn then withdrew Gribben and introduced McNaughton. Broxburn were fighting a rearguard action now with Tranent looking dangerous every time they went forward and in the ninetieth minute FISHER struck the winner. Manson broke on the left with pace. He slipped the ball inside to Fisher, who set himself before curling the ball low beyond Wallace into the far corner – a fabulous finish. There was very little time for Broxburn to respond and in truth they had been hanging on for the last 15 minutes.
Tranent deserved the win and showed once again that they have a squad of real potential with a great team spirit. They were all heroes on the night but Pucko in goal was calm and assured behind Todd and Kerr at the back. Kayne Patterson was always an out ball willing to run all night and Miller added a touch of quality. Fisher got the winner with a classy finish and showed the value of a genuine goal scorer. Murray and Manson made an impact from the bench.
Broxburn didn’t let themselves down but lacked a cutting edge and tired badly in the closing minutes. Wallace was solid in goal and the defence stood up to Tranent’s pace well.
Broxburn’s season is over and they can now think about their next Super League campaign. They lost out to Tranent in both local cups and to eventual winners Glenafton in the Scottish Junior Cup, but they enjoyed a good season.
Tranent now look forward to another cup final against Bonnyrigg Rose in the D J Laing Cup Final on Saturday. Again it’s a big ask for the Belters but they have a great chance against a Rose side who have played so many games in the last weeks of a tremendous season. Creamery Park , Bathgate is the venue and 2.30 the KO time.
A word about the refereeing team. They went unnoticed which surely suggests they did their job really well and got the big calls right.
Tranent Juniors: Pucko, Christie, Wojtowycz, Todd, Kerr, Jamie Patterson, Miller, Hawkins, Fisher,  Kayne Paterson and Watters. Subs:  Smith, Murray, Manson, Fiddler, Smeaton.

Broxburn: Wallace, Gavin, Cole, Purves, Paterson, Linton, Scott, Miller, Locke, Gribben, Anderson  Subs Richards, Baptie, Downie, McNaughton. Sub: Donoghue.

Referee: Peter Stuart Assistants: S Wilson & J Gall. 4th Official: I Snedden.

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