The champagne had scarcely stopped flowing before United switched their attentions to the David Allan Shield final and the prospect of a double celebration in 3 days. A purple middle period to the game saw United home after a tricky start and a rather low key closing stage. Groats the holders of the competition made a bright start to the game making the early running and were nearly gifted a lead in 7 mins when Gray failed to gather a Larnach corner but he had his full back Harrold to thank for saving his blushes as the ball was cleared away. Larnach was inches away minutes later cutting inside on to his stronger right side and shooting from 20 yards as United really found the opening period hard going their distribution an option taking questionable at best and down right slack at worst. Slowly they started to get things moving and Lewis Harrold similar to Larnach rattled the advertising boardings behind Williamson’s net from the edge of the area. Cumming was to prove a useful outlet throughout and he outstripped Harrold before driving a ball into the near post that Gray gathered with Bremner and McNab closing in on the keeper after quarter of an hour. United had a great chance to open the scoring after 20 mins when they broke 3 v 2 with Petrie but the midfielder delayed his pass far too long and eventually played Allan offside, But the tide was turning and United made the breakthrough after 22 mins good link up play down the left between Manson and Harrold saw the ball squared to Lee Sutherland who bent in a fine shot from 20 yards that Williamson stopped but could not hold and Darryn Mackay netted his second goal in as many games bring his total to 8 for the season. United were now by far the better team and with the willing running of Allan proving too hot to handle for a Groats rearguard that were breached again on the half hour mark with a goal that was simplicity itself a Gray byekick was topped on by Mackenzie allowing Allan to race clear and poke the ball past the advancing Williamson to double the advantage. Groats were rocking now and with less than 10 minutes left in the half the game should have been out of sight Darryn Mackay in a sweeping move released Allan down the right he outstripped the defence before squaring for Manson who seemed all he had to do was tap into the empty net but dropped to his knee as the ball flew high over the bar. Yet still the tide flowed towards the Groats goal as again Allan caused havoc this time down the left he cut inside and teed up Petrie who seemed to have made perfect connection only for Stewart to make a vital block on the penalty spot.
Wick Groats 0-2 Pentland United
United roared out the blocks in the second half and only a miraculous block on the line from Martin Sutherland saw him repel a beautiful Jamie Mackenzie volley from a Ross Allan corner. The Dunnet side seemed camped in the visitors box as they forced a series of corners in that early period. Slowly however the balance of play evened out as United seemed to tire and Groats started to gain confidence. On the hour mark substitute James Mackay did well cutting inside Manson and Harrold before firing in a shot from 18 yards but Gray flopped gratefully on the ball on the edge of his 6 yard box. Mid way through the half Groats same closer when Gray came to collect a cross from Hughes only to be heavily challenged by Stewart Ross, ref Munro saw no infringement meaning Grant Steven had to bail his keeper out clearing the loose ball from the edge of the 6 yard area. United had now set themselves out to defend in a 5-4-1 system with Farquhar finding the work levels up top rather demanding shall we say although the big striker was winning the ball and holding on to possession attacking options around him were limited and Groats were now hemming United in. With just under 20 mins left a nasty collision between Grant Steven and Graham McNab saw striker spin off the big centre back and into the advertising hoardings but he quickly recovered after treatment. Although Groats were holding a distinct territorial advantage they continued to struggle to breakdown the resolute United defence. When James Mackay did break through the line up against keeper Gray his touch took him away from goal and when he lost his footing the minor claims were quickly dismissed by referee Munro. The final real effort came from Hughes who showed great feet to step in from left and lash a shot in on Gray who touched the ball away for a corner.
Wick Groats 0-2 Pentland United
1. M Gray 2. G Mackay 3. L Harrold 4. G Steven 5. G Macleod 6. D Mackay (J Mckechnie 85) 7. L Sutherland 8. J Mackenzie(c) 9. M Petrie 10. D Manson (R Begg 78) 11. R Allan (T Farquhar 71)
Subs Not Used
View from the goal
An outstanding effort from the guys to win their second trophy in 3 days it wasn’t the same high quality/ high tempo affair as the league game but once we got going the middle section of the game was very easy on the eye and what can I say about the defending methodical and really well organised. I said in the closing comments of the previous game that it had been a difficult season in so many levels we lost two pillars from the club in Duncan and Nicky but we have shown tremendous unity and spirit to win two trophies, the league against all the odds. Rather fitting that Ross should notch the second goal and I am sure both his family and he himself enjoyed that. Just a final message to all our supporters both local and around the world thank you very much for your support albeit in messages or shouts from the sidelines it really does make a difference. I think we can take a little time now to reflect and enjoy the success but also to remember those no longer with us who would have been in the middle of those celebrations given the chance. Until next year……………..