A sensational last-gasp penalty from Sean Carden earned West of Scotland a dramatic National League 3 win at sodden Burnbrae on Saturday.
On a day with constant rainfall, it was obvious from the start that it was not a day for silky passing moves and both sides had to work hard to get things moving.
West opened the scoring when they won a penalty in front of the posts. On another day West might have kicked to the corner but margins were going to be tight so Dru Nicholson took the shot and converted.
West took another penalty but this time it hit the post, and Howe managed to clear. The visitors from Fife were then next to score after out half Sam Rowlands ran a superb line, jinking through the defence, before missing his own conversion.
Howe were winning the breakdown with some impressive work, although West were winning nearly everything else, dominating the scrums and defending well. Lineouts were not working for either side until the Fifers managed to set up a driving maul near the line, James Lawrie grounding the pushover try, converted by Rowlands to make it 12-3.
West hit back quickly as a surging break by Drew Reddie created some space and, after some pick and drives, John Vasconcelos grounded under the posts, Nicholson converting to make it 12-10 at half-time.
In the second half conditions were even worse, with the wind getting up and the rain getting heavier. The pitch stood up well, but handling was very difficult.
Both sides plugged away, with margins very fine. Every time West thought they had a break they were pulled up for some technical offence or other, Howe couldn’t gain much ground either as West were defending well.
Full time was approaching with West still trailing by two points after missing a long-range penalty.
But they won another some 40 metres out and Carden stepped up to send his kick sailing between the posts for a win which solidifies West’s mid-table position.