Uphall deliver striking performance to lift Cup

UPHALL STATION clinched the Lothian and Edinburgh Amateur FA Blaikie Cup by beating Liberton AVU 3-1, with spectators at Paties Road enjoying an enthralling 90 minutes of football and some outstanding goals.

Both teams settled quickly after the kick off but it was ten minutes in before the first real threat was posed to either goal. Colin Lawson for Liberton AVU was forced into a tight position on the goal line, left of the goal itself, and cut back inside skilfully to create a shooting opportunity. His attempt was on target but Uphall keeper Steven Vannet blocked well to deny him the opening goal.

Five minutes later, Uphall bagged the opener. A long ball over the Liberton defence was latched onto by Bamba Jobarteh, who dribbled the ball inside the box and finished expertly. Graeme Lennie had no chance as the ball found the top corner with power and precision.

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Uphall continued to mount pressure on the Liberton defence and it paid off on 19 minutes. A headed clearance bounced perfectly for Lee Manderson to smash his half-volley into the net.

Liberton were unfortunate to concede such a breathtaking goal, but they fought back and again Lawson came close.

After that it was Uphall who came closest to scoring before half time. Liberton's goalkeeper Lennie slid in well to deny Robert McGreagor any chance of scoring and Jobarteh's header from a corner moments later was headed off the line at the back post. And, five minutes before the break, Gary White hit a speculative effort from just beyond the centre circle that only just went over the crossbar.

Two goals to the good, Uphall started the second half pressing forward again, but Liberton came back into it and 55 minutes in Lawson probably would have scored if not for the perfectly executed sliding tackle by George McGreagor.

Five minutes later though, he scored Liberton's only goal. The Uphall defence didn't deal effectively with a high ball and McGreagor capitalised, putting his shot beyond Vannet.

However, only a minute later, Uphall re-established their two-goal cushion. A free-kick in a central position from roughly 30 yards out was struck sweetly by captain George McGreagor. His shot hit the frame of the goal and eventually found the net. It was another marvellous goal by Uphall.

Uphall could have added a couple more goals to the scoreline. Lee Cruickshanks was one-on-one with Lennie and looked to have got the better of him as he put the ball beyond him. But, Lennie stretched well and tipped the ball away from Cruickshanks' feet in a show of top-notch goalkeeping.

Then, only minutes from the final whistle, a quick free-kick from Uphall saw James Hutton through on goal. He put the ball past the goalkeeper but his effort hit the post. The ball landed at the feet of Manderson for an easier chance but he squandered it and put the ball wide.

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Uphall Station manager Steve Clarke reflected on a tough contest afterwards. He said: "It was always going to be a tough game.

"We have had close encounters with them in the league this season. But we kept the same line-up, bar one change due to injury, and they proved themselves again."

Liberton AVU: Graeme Lennie, Gary Burns, Jon Manson, Thomas Nolan, David Buchan, Jon Blues, Frankie Arthur, Nicky Martin, James Spence, Colin Lawson, Stuart Smith, Craig Thomson, Michael Smith, Lee Gilhooley, Mark Burns, Brian Gilchrist.

Uphall Station: Steven Vannet, Gary White, Graeme Blanche, George McGreagor, Charles Wright, Derrick Drumond, Brian McPhillie, Lee Manderson, Bamba Jobarteh, Robert McGreagor, Chriss Norris, Lee Cruickshanks, Kevin McGee, Vasice Iftode, James Hutton, Alexander Clarkson.