Chirnside United v Third Lanark from 1st February 1958


Report from Berwickshire News


Chirnside United v Third Lanark Match Report

Chirnside’s great day is over. But the memory of their tilt at the “giants” will live on and be talked about for weeks and weeks. The young team of amateurs went down with flying colours for, while they seldom threatened danger they put up a tremendous fight.


Third Lanark players and directors inspected the pitch before the start, and despite its small size they expressed the opinion that the pitch was a long way ahead of many minor grounds. It was anticipated that the pitch would hamper ‘Thirds’ but right from the start their hopes of quietly feeling their way were shattered because of the ‘Papermakers,’ playing with a complete absence of ‘jitters’ treated this as another game, and there was early panic in the Third Lanark defence.


Jock Sanderson , the home keeper, who had been off with an injured hand, passed a late fitness test and he was back in action. He emerged as the star of the match.


Booking the wind, Johnny Martin encouraged Chirnside and round the ropes the record crowd was wondering whether the enthusiastic amateurs would spring a surprise, or last the pace in this tough test of endurance.


In the very first minute Robertson was called upon to deal with a dangerous ball before Thirds went into action, Billy Craig weaved his way down the wing, but his crosses were swept to the other side of the pitch. Gray sent a strong drive over the Chirnside crossbar. Chirnside took a new lease of life, and Lewis and Company were rattled by a furious attack and under pressure they lashed the ball aside for a flag kick. It came over nicely, and Robertson failed to gather. J Martin gained possession and shot hard, but a Third defender blocked it.


It fell to Oliver and his effort just grazed the upright. A lucky let off for the ‘Warriors’ here! The home lot were certainly making a fight and encouraged by the crowd the ‘Davids’ piled on the pressure against the ‘Goliaths.’ ‘Thirds’ pressed them back and at the other end a narrow escape was evident. W Craig crossed, Allan missed it and Anderson saved the day. Later Gray’s rocket shot was inches wide. Coming again the ‘Papermakers’ made their presence felt and what a great chance to score was thrown away. A free kick outside the danger zone was left to D Martin. Thirds lined their goal and the ball was blocked, and later was booted over. What to the critics would be a slaughter of the innocents, did not materialise and Chirnside were as good as the Glasgow side.


For a period Thirds were in a panic for the home forwards familiar with the ground, never eased up. Oliver came near to scoring, and ex-Hib Brown in desperation, nearly beat his own keeper. Give and take play ruled, and a good standard of football was seen, with the locals as good as their First Division opponents. Thirds had the ball in the net but offside ruled it off. Then Sanderson brought off a masterly save at the post from Gray.


Half an hour gone and no score and that was a fair reflex of the game at the juncture. Perhaps the palm could be awarded ‘the Warriors’ for the direct approach and in clean clearances but the Berwickshire team, with enthusiasm allied to a dour and determined Border spirit nullified all that. Nearing the interval the visitors gained more confidence and winger Craig took the honours. Sanderson defied his efforts time and again, for he pulled down with his great reach everything that came his way. He received a fright, however, with a shot from R Craig, which whizzed off a post and the inside man blazed the rebound over the bar. Then the keeper scrambled a Kelly effort off the line, but high or low shots were all the same to ‘Big Jock.’ With 37 minutes gone he had to give best to Gray, who in an unmarked position, walked past the defence and hit a rising shot to the back of the net.


A goal lead at the interval was about true value, and if one takes into consideration the chances each side had, even a draw might have been a true reflex of a ‘45’ that had everything.


Those who looked for a ‘cricket score’ freely admitted at the ‘breather’ that Chirnside ‘chicks’ had really risen to the occasion, for certainly they had and in nearly every department matched worthy opponents and that includes finesse. Great defensive work was seen in the home side, with a middle trio blunting attacks repeatedly. One had seen the attack moving more sweetly but many of their attacks were dangerous.


Smith and Brown never felt too happy when the so-called ‘rabbits’ were in their immediate vicinity, but to give them credit they went first time for the ball but did not always ‘rob’ these fast moving youngsters. To hold a First Division side to a goal in the first half fully demonstrates that the ‘will to win’ is a valuable asset.


The ‘villagers’ and their opponents returned after the tea break and were received with a great cheer with the amplifier blaring out, ‘Scotland The Brave.’ The United kicked over the slope in workmanlike manner and had a chance with a free kick. There was a noticeable sway in the crowd when D Martin was entrusted with a free kick but he made a bad job of a likely looking score. The rain, however, did not make matters pleasant. ‘The Warriors’ next took the eye and both Gray and McInnes missed a great cross from Craig. Anderson did not, for he cleared with a timely intervention.


This narrow escape did not dismay the homesters and they went in to the attack and White, ever dangerous, had a great chance but shot badly. The Thirds defence were reeling under the onslaught but managed to keep their goal intact. An all-out effort by Thirds did not look too rosy for Chirnside, for on one occasion Allan, from a few yards out scooped the ball over the bar, and then later W Craig drove past from close range. Close on 50 minutes had gone and yet and yet only a goal separated the First Division and East of Scotland teams. Feeling appeared to creep into the game and hefty tackles were seen.


During D Martin’s absence Sanderson effected the near-impossible, when he fielded a jet propelled shot from Allan. A goal had to come, however, and in the 56th minute Allan did the needful but from a disputed offside position. Despite protests, however, the referee allowed the goal to stand.


Shocked by this award Chirnside appeared to lose the place, when the goal counted and the United found themselves further in arrears when Allan shot home a third a few minutes later. As time was running out, Chirnside appeared to tire but never gave up hope and countered attack with attack and matched the skill of their opponents with enthusiasm and determination. Ten minutes from the end McInnes put the issue beyond doubt with a fourth goal.


Well! Chirnside have had their fling in the Scottish Cup for another season and though beaten were by no means disgraced. If there is glory in defeat, then Chirnside United can take credit from the day’s showing.


To criticise any of the home team would be unfair on this big occasion. If there were any ‘jitters’ displayed then it was not among the home lot. For a period at the outset, it was obvious in Third Lanark ranks.


‘Farmer’ Sanderson with his injured hand, performed heroics in goal. Two sturdy backs hardly put a foot wrong. Anderson can go into big time football whenever he likes, for following the game he was the subject of enquiry from at least two First Division representatives, according to an authentic source. The Martins, along with ‘Billy’ Atkins, were steadiness personified. Up front, while on occasions the attack did not function on all ‘cylinders’ they emitted ‘sparks’ which ‘shocked’ the opposition. Oliver had a great game and his trapping off the ball was immaculate. Enthusiastic White tried so hard and if only that shot had been a counter then who knows what would have happened. Holborn, Mathieson and Alexander were allowed so little scope. Yes, they still breed them in the so-called backwoods of soccer. For Thirds wee ‘Jocky’ Robertson had several grand saves in goal. Of the others, Johnny Kelly, Bobby Craig and Gray and McInnes, were strong units.


Chirnside United – J. Sanderson; P. Martin, H. Anderson; J. Martin, W. Atkins, D. Martin; J. Holborn, I. Mathieson, I. Oliver, A. White, A. Alexander.


Third Lanark – Robertson; Smith, Brown; Higgins, Lewis, Kelly; W. Craig, R. Craig, Allan, Gray, McInnes.


Referee – Mr J. Holborn, Edinburgh.




Pictures from the Program on the day.