Keir Gardiner found the net five times as East Craigie Swifts blew Forfar Boys away in the final of the Queens Jubilee Cup. As well as Gardiner’s goals, a brace from Ewan Faulkner and Josh McLaughlin’s strike completed the treble for East Craigie, who finish the season unbeaten domestically.
East Craigie’s first cup final of the season against Fairmuir was cancelled as their opponents couldn’t field a team, and the Maryfield League winners wasted no time as they opened the scoring after three minutes.
Keir Gardiner saw his effort saved by Aaron Morrison, but the rebound fell for Ewan Faulkner, who finished into the empty net.
It took just three minutes for East Craigie to add a second. Faulkner played a neat one-two with Ethan Bannon at the top of the box and cut the ball across for Gardiner, who guided the ball into the bottom right corner of the net. It was a blistering start from East Craigie, while Forfar were struggling to keep possession of the ball.
Forfar’s first shot came courtesy of Jay Yule after 10 minutes. The striker’s effort was easily held by Charlie Kennedy in the East Craigie goal. Yule then headed over Robbie Davidson’s corner as Forfar looked for a route back into the match.
Just as Forfar began to get themselves into the game, Gardiner struck again.
Faulkner was the provider yet again, as his low cross deflected off a Forfar defender into Gardiner’s path, and the striker made no mistake as he drilled the ball past Morrison from eight yards out.
Reece Lornie was the next East Craigie player to try his luck, but his effort was saved by Morrison.
Lewis McSherry got on the end of a loose ball on the edge of the East Craigie penalty area, but his effort looped over the bar. Yule then tried his luck from 25 yards, but his shot didn’t dip enough to trouble Kennedy.
With 28 minutes gone, Gardiner completed his hat trick. The striker’s shot squirmed through Morrison’s body and into the net. If ever a goal highlighted two sides fortunes, this was it.
Forfar nearly pulled one back through Davidson. The midfielder’s whipped free kick came crashing off the cross bar before being cleared.
With eight minutes of the first half remaining, Gardiner scored again. Finlay Baird won the ball at the top of the Forfar box and forced his way to the by-line, and set up Gardiner, who squeezed the ball past Morrison at the near post.