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Leith Athletic triumph over Hutchie to lift the cup

Leith Athletic FC 3

Murray 29' , Stewart 35', 56'

Hutchinson Vale FC 2

Linklater 2', Simmonds 58'
  • Friday, 08 April 2016
  • Saughton Enclosure
  • Under 13´s
  • Peter O'Neil Cup
Gregor Kerr

Gregor Kerr | YFS South East Region Journalist
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | gkerr@youthfootballscotland.co.uk

A packed crowd watched the Peter O’Neil Cup final at Saughton Park, as Leith Athletic and Hutchinson Vale fought it out for the chance to lift the trophy come the full-time whistle.

If there was ever a perfect way to start a cup final, then Hutchie certain achieved it with only a few minutes on the clock. Jack Furness did well to dig out the cross on the by-line, and Lawrence Linklater was unmarked at the back post, and had the simplest of finishes to launch his side into dreamland.

They were clearly in a mad rush to get the trophy sealed and delivered, as they countered and threatened for the following few minutes, before Ethan Wynne went close with a swerving shot for Leith on seven minutes, but it swerved at the last moment wide of the post.

It was a sign of things to come, as Leith began to impose themselves on the game, with Euan Howie testing the keeper twice within quick succession, however both efforts were reasonably comfortable saves to make.

They eventually got their goal on the half-hour mark as Cameron Stewart swung in the free-kick, and Ben Murray reacted first to head the ball on target. But Evan Miller made a good save, however, and parried it back into the path of Murray who simply could not miss - and he did not.

The goal gave Leith a huge lift, and just before half time they went one better. A good run from Cameron Kerr down the right wing forced a corner. Strathy Mackay whipped the ball in and, unbelievably Stewart, who surely had to have been the shortest player on the pitch, popped up with a near post header to put his side in front just before the break. 

  • Half Time:
  • Leith Athletic FC
  • 2-1
  • Hutchinson Vale FC
The second half did not begin as action-packed as the first ended, with both sides cancelling each other out and struggling to carve the opposing defences open. Although Grant Herbert went close to levelling the scores seven minutes after the restart, but his effort was well blocked.
 
Hutchie’s free-kick on 44 minutes caused chaos as they defence failed to clear the ball, and Sean Calder who had the eventual shot was unable to really work the goalkeeper. Jamie Smith in goal for Leith was also called into action three minutes later, as he held onto Nathan Gallagher’s headed effort from Calder’s whipped ball in.
 
The pressure on the Leith defence was only ramped up as the game passed on, with Smith once again producing the goods to keep out Furness’ long range effort to the bottom of his goal in the 51st minute, before tipping over his free-kick from the right hand-side shortly later.
 
Leith broke away up the other end and worked the ball to Kerr on the right-wing, but drilled his low effort wide of the goal.
 
Two minutes later though they went one better. After Hutchie failed to properly clear the ball, and it fell to Stewart. He kept his calm, cut inside and slotted the ball beyond the goalkeeper, and handing his side the huge comfort of a two goal lead. Stewart had been all over the pitch throughout the game and undoubtedly deserved his brace.
 
The drama didn’t stop there though, as straight from kick-off Adam Zajac produced a fine sliding tackle to snuff out a Hutchie attack for a corner. Furness took the resulting kick, which bundled around in the box and was forced over the line in the end by Baillie Simmons, no time to breath for Leith as straight away their goal advantage was cut to just the one with ten minutes remaining
 
The pressure in the final stages was unrelenting from the trailing side, with corner after corner and cross after cross denied by the tremendous back line of Leith, who were determined to hold out for the cup.
 
The could have made that job easier with two minutes remaining as Kerr found himself one-on-one after a great run, but his shot went wide of the target. He could breathe easier a few minutes later though, as the referee blew for full-time and confirmed Leith Athletic’s trophy win.
  • Full Time:
  • Leith Athletic FC
  • 3-2
  • Hutchinson Vale FC

Lineups

Leith Athletic FC
Hutchinson Vale FC
1. Jamie Smith
2. Cameron Kerr
3. Daniel Turner
4. Cameron Stewart
5. Euan Howie
6. Adam Zajac
7. Ethan Wynne
8. Lewis Owens
9. Ben Murray
10. John Ward
12. Strathy Mackay
14. Sam Lewis
15. Thomas Ramage
16. Cal Stenhouse
17. Owen Gray
1. Evan Miller
2. Dylan Boyle
3. Sean Calder
4. Josh Ferguson
5. Matthew McCormack
6. Patryk Jelen
7. Casey Bunker
8. Jack Furness
9. Murray Connolly
10. Ben Wardlaw
11. Lawrence Linklater
12. Grant Herbert
14. Scott Chalmers
15. Jack Swan
16. Baillie Simmonds
17. Nathan Gallagher
Star Player
Leith Athletic FC
Hutchinson Vale FC
Cameron Stewart was an absolute workhorse in midfield and did not give his opponents a second to breathe, as well as contributing massively in the final third.
Jack Furness seemed determined to get his side into the final and tested the keeper time and time again, as well as putting in some excellent set pieces.
Magic Moment
Leith Athletic FC
Hutchinson Vale FC
Stewart's goal from the corner was clinical, and remarkable as he was the last person you would have bet on the notch in with the header.
Laurence Linklater's early goal sent his side in dreamland with just two minutes on the clock.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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