Shire fans arrived in their numbers with the hope that their side would win a historic final at East Peffermill. However, two first half goals from Cammy Ballantyne and Martin Grehan denied Derek Ure his first trophy as Shire boss despite Steven Brisbane’s second half strike.
Having fallen behind early in each of the previous three rounds, fans of Shire could be forgiven if they expected a similar outcome again. However, against expectations, it was Shire who threatened first when Andy Rodgers carved out some space for himself before unleashing a speculative shot that very nearly gave his side the perfect start.
Shire, having weathered a flurry of BSC attacks, were undone on the half hour mark when Ballantyne was allowed too much room to pick his spot and fire beyond Jamie Barclay to give Stephen Swift’s side a deserved lead.
Swift, while trying to stay focused on the job at hand, struggled to contain his delight when his side doubled their advantage through Grehan who fired home after benefitting from a fortunate deflection into his path.
After a meek first half Shire’s aim was clear, force an early goal in the second. That aim was achieved when Brisbane’s deflected strike looped over Ryan Marshall before nestling in the back of the net.
With hope renewed, Shire went in search of a game levelling goal and, for the first time in the game, forced BSC’s defence into making desperate challenges. Further spice was added to an already exhilarating tie when Ben Quigley saw red after a reckless last-ditch challenge.
The stars seemed to be aligning for Shire with Barclay making stops at one end and Rodgers and co probing for a vital equaliser at the other. However, despite their man advantage, chances were few and far between.
That was until Rodgers found himself unmarked in the dying seconds of the game, but the normally reliable big game player saw his header drift inches wide of forcing extra time.
Shire’s anguish starkly contrasted that of the relief felt by a BSC side that had, in truth, limped over the line. However, Derek Ure’s attention now turns to continuing his rebuild of a squad that has faltered in its goals this season and with Berwick Rangers’ demotion from League 2, that has become a tougher proposition.