King Cup semi-final:

Tranent 2 Crossgates Primrose 2 (aet, Tranent win 6-5 on penalties)

ALAN CAMPBELL has described Crossgates' semi-final shoot-out heartbreak as a "horrible way to lose a game" as their King Cup dreams ended last Friday.

After a superb first season in the East of Scotland League, which saw them finish fifth in Conference B to earn a place in next season's Premier League, they were bidding to top it off with a first cup final appearance since 1995 at league rivals Tranent.

The game at Forersters Park was Primrose's first semi-final appearance in cup competition in 17 years and they looked set to advance after making a stunning start in East Lothian.

Midway through the first half, Darren Aitken gave the Humbug Park outfit the lead and, 11 minutes later, fellow midfielder Dale Allan doubled their advantage against a side that had lost just two of their 12 league matches at home.

But, four minutes into first-half stoppage time, Tranent were handed a lifeline with the award of a penalty converted by Grant Nelson.

The hosts then came out firing after the break and, with 24 minutes to go, grabbed an equaliser through Jamie Devlin that forced the contest into extra-time.

While both sides went for the winner, they couldn't be separated after 30 additional minutes and, after both teams netted their opening five penalty kicks, the hosts eventually progressed after sudden-death.

It means that they miss out on a final with either Linlithgow Rose or Bonnyrigg Rose, who met in the other tie last night (Wednesday), and Campbell said: "It certainly was a really tough one to take, losing like that.

"We were one penalty away from reaching the final but that's football. We just have to get on with it and, probably in a couple of weeks, we'll look back and feel proud of what we've achieved this season.

"But it was as flat as I've ever seen a group of players. There was nothing in the game and sometimes if you've not played well and been well beaten, it would be easier to take.

"We played well in the first half and got ourselves two goals in front, and the quality of the two goals and our attacking play was as good as I've seen.

"They got a penalty four minutes into injury time at the end of the first half, and the momentum swung to them. They then came out after half-time and dominated the game; we were out on our feet and were lucky to get extra-time, but then it became like a boxing match.

"It was end-to-end, and we could have won it, but then it went to penalties. We had practised penalties in the two training sessions we had building up to the game, and scored five out of five that were right in the corner, but Tranent scored six.

"It was just a horrible way to lose a game."

He added: "The players put everything into the game but a few decisions went against us, and we picked up a couple of injuries so had to shift our shape, but they've nothing to be down about. We've had a good season.

"We had a few beers on the bus and we'll go away and prepare for next season."