West End Hold On To Win Super League Place

Newtongrange Star 1 Forfar West End 0 (Agg. 2-3)

Report by Gordon Baird

Despite being beaten on the day, Forfar West End held out comfortably to win the Super League play off on aggregate, and will take their place in the McBookie.com East Super League next season. The Angus men went down to a single goal defeat, but despite being under pressure for long periods, never looked likely to lose by the two goal margin that Newtongrange required to take the tie to a penalty shoot out. Forfar always looked in control of their own destiny and Star ran out of ideas long before the final whistle.

The visitors won three corners in quick succession but they couldn’t work Amos. After fourteen minutes Hart had a shooting chance but again Young made the saving tackle. There was fully a quarter of an hour played before Star managed a shot at goal – Flynn with a shot on the turn.  Star then won a couple of corners but the West End defence coped comfortably with them.

Forfar had a good effort after seventeen minutes when Petrie headed a cross agonisingly wide. Half way through the half, Star’s Flynn send a free kick straight at Burns in the visitor’s goal. Moncrieff then had a great effort well saved by Burns, but Star were starting to find a few holes in the visitors back line.

Both sides won corners but neither could produce a goal threat. However, West End did nearly get a goal from a corner when Stirton headed a Ramsay kick beyond Amos, but agonisingly just wide of the far post.

Star’s’ Lander put a snap shot wide after thirty seven minutes, but the opening goal was only five minutes away. FLYNN got on the end of a cross from the right and volleyed home spectacularly past a helpless Burns. Star just about deserved their lead at the break as West End had fallen out of the game to some extent, but the home side were far from convincing.

Neither side made a change at the break and it was Star who won an early corner, but it came to nothing. West End’s first effort of the second period was a shot on the turn by Ramsay, but it was comfortable for Amos. Star had a half chance when a Martyniuk free kick nearly found O’ Brien, but he couldn’t quite reach it. Referee Duncan Smith then yellow carded two Star players in quick succession.

Star produced a fine attacking move on the left which nearly found Lander but, again he couldn’t quite get to the ball. Star were dominating but not creating clear cut chances. With seventy eight minutes played, West End created a few half chances. Firstly, Andrew Walls had a shot blocked and then Petrie couldn’t quite reach a Ramsay cross. West End introduced Ireland for Petrie with twenty minutes remaining. The heat and the pace of the game was clearly taking its toll.

Star created a chance after seventy one minutes, but the ball hit Lally rather than him having a shot. Two minutes later Star’s Young got his head to an O’Brien corner, but his effort was a tame one. Star had a penalty claim waved away when Moncrieff went down in the box, but the referee was right on the spot. A feature of the second half had been the number of yellow cards being handed out although it was never a dirty game.

After 83 minutes, Forfar sub Ireland had a good run on the right but wanted too long to get his shot away. A minute later Star’s Murray send a ferocious effort over from over 25 yards! West End introduced Reynolds for Callum Walls as time ran out and he was nearly played in after good interplay between Ramsay and Ireland.

Star were pushing forward as the minutes ticked away, but it was West End who looked the more dangerous side on the break. Star had run out of ideas and didn’t really look like scoring and West End saw it out comfortably.

Forfar deservedly take their place at the top table and clearly came with a game plan and carried it out well. They were solid at the back and in Ramsay have a leader on the park. Hart ran himself into the ground up front and was a constant threat.

Star will be disappointed after nearly staging the great escape but have some decent young players. They will find the McBookie.com Premier League very tough with so many local teams and Derby matches but they have the summer to regroup. Martyniuk and Murray were their best on the day.

Newtongrange: Amos, Murray, Martyniuk, Hamilton, Moncrieff, Young, Lally, O’Brien, Lander, Flynn, Bracks. Subs: Cook, Connell, Wright.

Forfar West End: Burns, Stephen, MacDonald, McKenzie, Rae, Stilton, Petrie, Callum Walls, Hart, Ramsay, Andrew Walls.  Subs: Reynolds, Ireland, Crichton, Fraser, Smith.

Referee: Duncan Smith. Assistants: Mark Rennie & Emmanuelle Hingant.

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