Hawick United 5 Newtown 4
(after extra time)
Nine goals, extra time, two penalties, fast flowing football and two sides giving their all.
This was the story behind this ding-dong Walls Cup Final at Runciman Park, Earlston, and thanks to a last-gasp goal from Declan Hogg it was a story with a happy ending for Hawick United.
It was a result that could have went either way as little or nothing separated the teams who both emerged with a credit in an entertaining encounter.
In gaining the honours, high-flying United picked up their third trophy of the season, previously having won the Wright Cup as well as the Border Amateur ‘B’ Division Shield for being league champions.
United assistant manager John Paul Drysdale: “It was some game as there was always plenty going on.
“Newtown are a good side and made us go all the way.
“They did well to battle back into the game after having been two goals down at one stage to draw level and then take the lead – and fair play to them for doing that.
“We then showed a lot of fighting spirit ourselves and I thought our attitude was just phenomenal throughout.
“Although it might not have been pretty, our game plan was to play the long ball down the middle and this worked for us.
“It’s been a great season for us as we have won three trophies and it’s a fitting reward for the players as they have performed well and worked hard throughout the season.
“Hopefully, we might pick up another trophy this Saturday when we play Biggar United in the final of the Forsyth Cup.”
Newtown opened brightly and United goalkeeper Dean Fry was twice put to the test in the early exchanges, firstly holding a Matt Scott shot and then fisting away a fierce Scott Veitch drive.
United then fluffed an opportunity to break the deadlock when Hogg shot past the post from a few yards out.
Following a long Hogg thrown-in, Kevin Paterson in turn came near to scoring with a back header.
Both sides were pushing forward but no goals arrived until just after the hal- hour mark when four arrived in abundance before the interval.
United began the goal rush in the 32nd minute.
Following an excellent Fry save from Andy Crawford, the Tangerines broke forward with a thrusting raid which resulted in Kevin Strathdee breaking clear of the Newtown rearguard to tuck a shot into the back of the net.
Within two minutes a second arrived for the Hawick men when Hogg latched on to a long Fry kick-out to tuck a shot out of the reach of Newtown keeper Glen Murray.
United were two ahead, but in a blink of an eye this was to change for Newtown came rallying back in style to net twice before half-time in quicksilver fashion, oth strikes coming from the boot of Darren Blacklock.
With the United defence back-pedalling, Blacklock notched his first with a speculative shot that soared over Fry’s head.
Blacklock then did it all again with a well-hit free-kick that hit the foot of the post before spinning over the line.
Newtown came out firing on all cylinders after the break and Fry had to be at his best to keep out a thundering Neil MacVicar shot.
Two minutes later MacVicar put the Villagers ahead for the first time after the ball had been played in from the right flank.
United then had a golden opportunity to get on a level pegging when they were awarded a penalty after Scott was upended in the box by a MacVicar challenge.
Murray put paid to this, though, by pulling off a superb save from Liam Lavery’s spot-kick.
The lively action continued with another penalty coming the Hawick side’s way after Aaron Swailes had been brought down.
Scott took the award on this occasion and banged a shot into the net with great precision.
In the 62nd minute United went ahead.
A long throw-in from Hogg reached the goalmouth and Swailes netted from close range.
Play continued to rage and after a well-struck Louis Blacklock shot had cannoned off the bar, MacVicar grabbed an equaliser in the 84th minute.
During a hectic closing six minutes, Scott put the ball in the net.
A goal was chalked off due to the Hawick player having handled the ball.
The woodwork then came to Newtown’s aid when a Lavery shot rebounded off the bar.
Seconds after this the 90 minutes were up and the final went into extra-time.
Both sides continued to push forward and following some end-to-end exchanges, United snatched a dramatic winner four minutes from the end of the second period.
Hogg was the hero as he slotted away a Danny Bolton pass.