Consolation League Cup Final
Saturday 8 June
Whitburn Juniors 4-2(HT: 2-1) Dundee North End
Whitburn: A Wilson, Griffin, M Wilson, Nicol, Brass, M Russell(R Gunn 69), Liddell, G Gunn, McQuillan, Thomson(Tomaszewski 85), Duncan(Taylor 76), Subs: Tinning, D Russell
Dundee NE: Ferrie, Gibb, Blair, Ballantine, Lunan, Smith, McArtney, Devine, Milne, Thomson(Sutherland 62), Rigden(McLellan 62), Subs: Scrimgeour, Smith, Stewart
Whitburn had neither Reece Boyle nor Grant Hamilton available for this Consolation League Cup final so went with a central defensive pairing of Geg Nicol and Gary Brass. They got off to a quick start playing some great football which pinned Dundee in their own half for the first 8 or so minutes and the pressure paid off when Andy McQuillan fired them into the lead with a shot from a tight angle. Whitburn kept up the pressure and in the 14 minute Martin Russell set up Darren Liddell who took a touch but blasted his shot over the bar. A minute later Reece Duncan went on a good run and got a decent shot away which the keeper held. 6 minutes later Liddell was again put in, this time by McQuillan, but he was well tackled as he was about to shoot and the ball went to safety. Having hardly been in the game, Dundee got an equaliser as a misplaced pass in midfield found an opponent who put in a through ball which Kevin Milne rushed onto and slotted past Andrew Wilson. Andy Thomson then played a prominent role – the first a shot from a tight angle which went just wide of the post and then with 7 minutes of the half to go to go he robbed an opponent in midfield and put McQuillan who unselfishly squared to Darren Liddell who, in turn, slammed the ball into the net to give the Burnie a 2-1 lead at the half.
The second half started well for the visitors as McArtney twice received possession in the box and saw one shot blocked and another saved as, obviously, their management team convinced them that they could still win. This looked to become forlorn in the 11th minute, however, as one of their players was pressurised and chose to play a long pass to his keeper from the halfway line. Unfortunately for NE Neal Ferrie caught the ball, was booked and Whitburn were awarded an indirect free kick 8 yards out. The ball was touched to Liddell whose shot got through the wall and came off Andrew Ballantine before hitting the net. There was a little doubt as to whether the shot was on target or was diverted in – the consensus in the crowd was the latter. A moment of madness/controversy occurred with 15 minutes to go when NE suffered a double ordering off both for double dissent and both revolving around a foul on McQuillan by Paul Lunan. Lunan was first to go as he twice questioned the referee’s decision and McArtney followed him seconds later as he also protested too vehemently twice in a stunning show of indiscipline. 5 minutes later Liddell had a shot deflected wide and 3 minutes after this sub Dewi Taylor squared to McQuillan who got his second from a shot that Ferrie fumbled just over the line. With a three man advantage it looked as though Whitburn would add to their advantage but amazingly it was the visitors that netted next when sub Paul McLellan’s corner was headed in at the near post by a stooping Ryan Smith with 5 to go – this after his free kick had been deflected for the corner. With 3 to go Liddell had a shot which came off the top of the bar after good a combination by Nicol and Taylor. The three man advantage became two in the 89th minute as Iain Griffin had to go off with blood streaming from a cut in his head. Into injury time McLellan had another free kick blocked for a corner but Whitburn defended this one better and the ball was cleared. Almost on the final whistle superb interplay between McQuillan and Taylor ended with a Ferrie save to deny the former.
In the end it was a shame that the game ended with Dundee NE three men short as it made Whitburn’s job more straightforward than it might have been – as witnessed by their second goal. Nevertheless, it was encouraging that Whitburn finally won a trophy after 17 years and that they did it by playing some wonderful passing football! Man of the match was named as Gary Brass playing in an unaccustomed position – well done to him!
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