Thorniewood United will be out to end a 50-year trophy famine when they take on Blantyre Vics in the final of the Euroscot Engineering Central League Cup tomorrow night (Thursday).
The Viewpark side’s last honour was the Central League Cup half a century ago and they will be aiming to repeat that success at Pollok’s Newlandsfield.
But manager Andy Frame is expecting a tough match against a Vics side who will replace relegated Thorniewood in next season’s Super League after winning promotion and are playing their third cup final of the season.
He said; “I know their manager Davie Greig really well and we’ve spoken about the game but that friendship will be put aise for 90 minutes.
“Vics are a strong side but we have shown against the likes of Pollok that we can give a good account of ourselves.
“When John-Paul McBride and I took over last year there was a lot of negative press because Kieran McGuinness had done such a great job in keeping the club in the Super League for as long as they did.
“But while it was recognised that the club had been punching above its weight, we couldn’t continue and had to make changes.
“We had to look to bring in new, younger players such as Stefan Law, Craig Forbes and Jack Getty and put a scouting network in place.”
Law, who has just turned 18, was a particular success, so much so that he has been snapped up by senior side Airdrie with tomorrow’s final marking his final appearance for the club.
Andy added: “We were unbeaten for five games around Christmas time but then didn’t kick a ball for two months because of the weather so we suffered from not being able to maintain that momentum.
“But we’ve now got a final to look forward to and I’m delighted for committee members like John Millar and Ian MacLaughlan who have been with the club for over 20 years.”
The club is running a supporters’ bus to the game, leaving Robertson Park at 5.40pm. Cost is £5 - to book seats phone Ian MacLaughlan on 07758 249811 or send a direct message to @Thorniewood on Twitter.
Thorniewood United came from two down to secure their first final appearance in half a century in a dramatic Central League Cup semi-final at Robertson Park last Thursday.
After going 2-0 behind to Vale of Clyde, Andy Frame’s side battled back to draw 2-2 before winning 5-3 on penalties to book a showdown with Blantyre Vics at Newlandsfield tomorrow (Thursday).
Playing in front of a very healthy crowd, the home side came close inside the opening 15 seconds as they forced former Thorniewood ’keeper Jon Connolly into a fine double save.
Moments later United’s Chris Lennon fired a decent effort into the side netting.
But in their first attack Central First Division side Vale took the lead when they capitalised on a defensive lapse, the ball being crossed from the right for ANTHONY HIGGINS to fire low into the net from six yards.
Worse was to follow for United, looking for a boost after their relegation from the Super League, when the visitors doubled their lead in the 10th minute.
PAUL McLAUGHLIN was allowed too much time and space and from a tight angle his cross somehow found a way in at the back post.
Thorniewood were rocked and central defender Alan Fleming had to produce a superb slide tackle to deny Higgins.
But United gradually began to find their feet and striker Chris Lennon was unlucky when he broke into the box in the 27th minute only to stand on the ball as he was about to shoot.
However their efforts were rewarded in the 34th minute when Alan Fleming’s free-kick was headed high over Connolly into the net by BRIAN JOHNSTON.
On the stroke of half-time Thorniewood almost equalised when Fleming headed just wide but they levelled in the 59th minute when LENNON burst into the box, rounded Connolly and slotted home.
’Wood were in control at last and a Daly McSorley corner was headed over by the unmarked Fleming from six yards.
A minute later a James O’Hara knock back found Stefan Law whose shot was dealt with low down by Connolly.
In a tense finale neither team could add to their tally resulting in a penalty shoot out which Thorniewood won 5-3.
Lennon, Fleming, Davie Hamilton, O’Hara and Stephen Mullen all successful with young keeper Matt Creechan vitally saving Vale’s fourth kick.
Thorniewood: Creechan, Forbes, Smith, Hamilton, Fleming, McSorley, Lennon, Law (Getty 83), Johnston (Mullen 65), Grant (Green 88), O’Hara. Sub not used: Duggan.