Star earn spot in Cup final

NEWTONGRANGE STAR A will meet South of Scotland Amateur Cup holders Chirnside in the final of the competition after seeing off the challenge of Linton Hotspur 2-1 in a hotly-contested semi-final tie at Saughton Enclosure.

Both Star and their Borders counterparts were on good form going into the match with the Midlothian side having lost only one game in the league all season. Hotspur coach Gareth Edwards felt his side they were "massive underdogs" due to the opposition's wealth of experience but it was Hotspur who came close to opening the scoring after only three minutes when Andrew Daykin prodded the ball past the on-coming goalkeeper, only for it to be cleared off the line by the Star defence.

The first 25 minutes was understandably tight with both sides showing signs of nerves and the state of the pitch playing its part in denying a passing style of play.

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As the game settled down, Star began to look more threatening. On the half hour, Steven Nethery played a lovely ball into the feet of Ian McManus who forced a finger-tip save from Hotspur keeper Leigh Gordon.

Nethery was involved again shortly after. Fellow striker John McManus intercepted a misplaced Hotspur pass and unselfishly played a square ball, but Nethery could only hit it wide of the left post.

With Star pressure dwindling, it looked likely to be a goalless first-half. But, five minutes from the interval, Hotspur took the lead. Right-back Ross Kidd drove forward on the flank and sped past the full-back with the ball. He then delivered a low cross from outside the box, which Michael MacEwan struck first time and found the back of the net.

Hotspur came out fighting in the second half and within the space of five minutes had clocked up four corners. Yet, it was Star who scored to equalise the game on 55 minutes when the Hotspur defence failed to deal with a cross from the right side and John Jenkin scored past the keeper.

After that, Star continued to attack and their relentlessness paid dividends ten minutes later.

Ian McManus, who was dangerous in the air and on the ground, played a wonderful left-foot cross into the box. It found No.9 Nethery, who headed the ball expertly into the goal.

Newtongrange Star A: Steven Hay, Paul Smith, Steven Dorans, Ian McManus, Michael Thomson, William Mason, James MacDougall, John Jenkin, Steven Nethery, John McManus, Sean Bingham, Gary Irvine, Kevin Smith, Scott Beattie, Alan McGowan, Neil Hamilton.

Linton Hotspur: Leigh Gordon, Ross G Kidd, Douglas Coupar, Neil Nisbet, Campbell Forsyth, Scott R MacFarlane, Gregg Walter, Jonathon Wardman, Graeme Muirhead, Michael MacEwan, Andrew Daykin, Adam Cursitor, Donald Fraser, Franklin Harrison, Lyle Caine.