Contrasting clashes in Southland Football's Charity Cup semi-finals produced an Old Boys versus Thistle Grand Final to be played in Invercargill next Saturday.
Old Boys claimed their spot with a thrilling 5-4 win over Southend United at the ILT Football Turf today, while Thistle had to fight hard to gain their late 1-0 win over the Division 1 Gore Wanderers combined team.
Southend took an early lead through a wonderful strike from player-coach Iain Walker to rock favourites Old Boys back on their heels.
Southend then netted a second but unfortunately it was an own-goal that equalised the score at 1-apiece.
Kurt Knarston set the game alight minutes later when he scored for Southend to regain the lead 2-1.
Then came a game changing spell as an Atain Halley penalty, and goals from Callum Smith and Jack Boland drew Old Boys ahead 4-2.
No giving up for Southend though when in the second spell an Old Boys own-goal and a goal from Kyle Schins levelled the game at 4-all with 15 minutes to play.
Callum Smith sealed it for Old Boys from a late free kick when his shot nestled in the corner of the Southend net to send his Old Boys team through to the final 5-4.
At O'Rorke Park, no such excitement but a spirited Gore effort all the same as it took a late Ali Smith goal to give Thistle the advantage and their place in the final.
In The Edinburgh Trophy, semi's Thistle outlasted Gore Wanderers 3-2, with the winner coming in extra time while Old Boys Div 1 accounted for Old Boys Div 2 by 7 goals to 2.
In a mirror image of the Charity Cup, Old Boys will meet Thistle in the Edinburgh Trophy final.
- The Southland Times