Threave Rovers 1
Jamie Struthern (17)
Douglas Brydon (8), Gary Waddell (80)
by Sandy Brydon
at Meadow Park Stadium
DUNS won their way through to the final of the SFA South Region Challenge Cup after a magnificent 2-1 semi-final win over to Threave Rovers in Castle Douglas on Saturday.
The Dingers were written off by almost everyone going into this match but the Berwickshire side showed their grit and determination with a battling performance against the South of Scotland League leaders to book their place in the final of the most prestigious cup competition in East of Scotland football.
The visitors suffered a blow prior to the kick-off when Michael Stewart failed a late fitness test but everyone one of the squad played their part in what was a great all round team performance.
Duns knew they were going to be in for a tought game from the first whistle and Dougie Brydon had to put in a great tackle after just three minutes to deny Threave’s Andrew Donley getting a shot on goal.
Threave started very strongly but the first real chance fell to Duns after seven minutes.
Home keeper Vinnie Parker fumbled a cross and after a goalmouth melee Bruce Chisholm saw his close range shot deflected wide.
However, from the resultant corner Duns opened the scoring. A deep cross from James Robertson was met at the far post by Brydon who headed powerfully into the top corner of the net.
Undeterred by this setback Threave continued to press and went all out for an equaliser. A great tackle by Stevie McHoul denied Paul Cook and an effort by Sam Warren curled just wide of the target.
The home side’s pressure eventually paid off after 17 minutes. A great cross by Warren was met by Jamie Struthern who who scored with a great diving header which gave keeper Scott Lumsden no chance.
Threave coninued to press but the Duns defence were on top form and dealt with all that was thrown at them.
The Dingers almost regained the lead when they hit on the break with a low drive by Bruce Chisholm just inches wide.
Threave finished the half strongly but could not turn their pressure into goals. The closest they came was when Andrew Donley headed Scott Wilby’s crosss against the outside of the post.
Duns could have grabbed the lead again just before the interval when Garry Waddell was put through by Ryan Burns but his effort from a tight angle curled wide of the mark.
In the second half it was Threave who dominated for long periods and again the Duns defence had to be on their toes at all times.
Duns were always dangerous on the break with Des Chisholm the instigator of most of the visitors’s attacks.
Duns keeper Scott Lumsden denied Threave with two great saves early in the half, the best denying striker Donley.
The home side were becoming more and more frustrated vbut did have one great chance when James Baty broke clear but fumbled his shot under pressure from Brydon.
Duns then replaced James Robertson with Mark Weatherburn in an effort to inject some pace up front and test the Threave back four more.
This moved turned out to be a match-winner as Duns took the lead with just ten minutes of the match remaining. Some great work by Des Chisholm sent Garry Waddell clear and he kept his head to bury the ball in the net with a great shot sparking celebrations from the vociferous travelling support.
Threave then threw everything bar the kitchen sink at Duns in search of an equaliser but they found the Duns defence - keeper Scott Lumsden in particular - in battling mood.
Lumsden brought off a string of outstanding one handed saves to deny Warren twice and substitute Shaun Milligan.
The referee seemed to take an age to blow the final whistle and when he eventually did there was a hugh sigh of relief from the Duns bench and great scenes of celebrations from the Duns players.
Duns will now play Stiurling University, who defeated Gladgow University 3-1 away in the other semi-final, in the final on Sunday, April 22, at a venue still to be decided.
Duns: Scott Lumsden, Garry Renton, Ryan Burns, Stevie McHoul, Douglas Brydon, Grant Keenan, Gary Waddell, Andrew Douglas, Bruce Chisholm, James Robertson, Des Chisholm. Subs: Keiran Lee (71), Mark Weatherburn (60) Michael Stewart.
Threave Rovers: Vinnie Parker, Scott Wilby, Darren Kerr, Liam Patterson, James Fingland, Jamie Struthern, James Baty, Danny Dunglinson, Andrew Donley, Paul Cook, Sam Warren. Subs: Shaun Milligan (85), Gavin Green, Grant Watson, Phillip Middlemiss (71), Keiran Durham.
Referee: David Roome.