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Leith cross Clyde obstacle to enter final 16

Leith Athletic 3

Ashraf 17, King 34, Mackay 80+4

Clyde SOF 0

  • Sunday, 18 November 2018
  • Meggetland
  • Under 16´s
  • Scottish Youth FA Cup

Leith Athletic forwarded their name into the last 16 of the U16s Scottish Youth FA Cup thanks to a 3-0 victory over visiting Clyde SOF in Edinburgh. A combination of consistent strength at the back and goals at backbreaking moments ensured the capital side progressed with confidence.

This was a game that took some time to warm up. Against the backdrop of a blinding setting sun, it was not until the 15th minute that either team had a keeper concerned. Leith’s Robbie King dribbled across the park from right wing to left touchline to cross, leading to captain Ethan Wynne’s 18 yard effort being parried out of the top right corner by Clyde keeper James Graham.

It was a crisp strike by Wynne, yet not as eye-catching as team mate Rhys McMurdo’s free kick seven minutes later. 25 yards out and just left of centre, McMurdo drove a shot that Graham did fantastically to touch onto his post. Alas for Graham, respite was short-lived: the same attack saw a cross fall to an unmarked Sulaiman Ashraf, and his deflected shot opened the scoring.  

At the other end, for all the Glaswegian’s running and effort, they were finding no softness in the home defence. Not only was this an organised unit, but fullbacks Ryan Campbell and Ewan Howie were keen to run and weave forward. Indeed, Campbell had a go himself that Graham parried away to his right.

Leith’s second, like their first, followed a fine free kick, this one a foot wide left from Ashraf. When the goal kick was eventually won in midfield, McMurdo surged past multiple men on the left wing. His cross came to Ashraf, then on to King, who pummelled a bouncing ball into the roof of the net from six yards. 2-0 and six minutes until the half.

And on the half it was nearly three, as Cameron Stewart almost gained reward for his own skilful and effective central performance. A sweet move - Howie, to King, to Ashraf - put Stewart breaking beyond the back line from midfield. The pass, however, was centimetres too heavy and he was unable to lift the ball over the sliding Graham.

  • Half Time:
  • Leith Athletic
  • 2-0
  • Clyde SOF

The floodlights replaced the sun for the second half, and Clyde began motoring. Seconds into the new period and Barry Sullivan almost won a chase against last man Aidan McFarland. Retrieving the loose ball, Sullivan then crossed dangerously, forcing Howie into a contorted clearance.

Yet pushing forward leaves space, and within seconds Rory Hunter was running through on goal at the opposite end. He laid the ball wide left for King when he might have continued, but King duly cut the ball back for Hunter to shoot. Graham saved with his feet.

Howie had one more long range dig for the hosts before Clyde’s best spell of the match. Kyle Thom caused bother after a sliced Leith clearance went up rather than away; Cameron Scott was the man over on a break but could not get a shot off; and Aaron Welsh did shoot after nice control, but straight at Jamie Smith.

When Scott could only divert a deep Kyle McKay cross back into Smith’s hands, and McKay himself was smothered by Smith when finally behind left back Campbell, the sense of an inevitable ‘not to be’ grew. There was a little over 20 minutes left, and the gap being left by Clyde at the back was nigh on half a pitch.

Wynne and King found direct running instigated breaks. King, Hunter, Wynne, and Ashraf all put subsequent shots wide. Strathy Mackay and Howie were denied by Graham, the latter via a great full length dive. But, in injury time, Wynne drove on one more time, Daniel Turner crossed from the right, and the ball eventually arrived for Mackay at the back post to add a third and the gloss.

  • Full Time:
  • Leith Athletic
  • 3-0
  • Clyde SOF

Lineups

Leith Athletic
Clyde SOF
1. Jamie Smith
2. Ryan Campbell
3. Daniel Turner
4. Cameron Stewart
5. Ewan Howie
6. Ben Maginnis
7. Ethan Wynne (c)
8. Ciaran Vaughan
9. Robbie King
10. John Ward
11. Rhys McMurdo
12. Strathy Mackay
15. Aidan McFarland
16. Rory Hunter
17. Sulaiman Ashraf
18. Cameron Kerr
1. James Graham
2. Toby Jamieson
3. Cameron Scott
4. Harley Vance (c)
5. Zak Buckley
6. Ryan Higgins
7. Lewis Frati
8. Aaron Welsh
9. Barry Sullivan
10. Ryan Innes
11. Kyle McKay
12. Lewis Martin
14. Josh Reeves
15. Blair O'Hara
16. Kyle Thom
Star Player
Leith Athletic
Clyde SOF
Ryan Campbell: As consummate a display of left back defending as could be desired. Campbell is not the tallest at this age, but he played physically in the air and on the floor. These proactive moments were mixed with intelligent dropping off and covering. He also has a knack for silky play with the ball at his feet: at least twice he beat two men with neat sidesteps before earning free kicks. Knowing one wing is on lock down certainly helps a defence.
James Graham: Clyde’s outfield players put in a lot of effort in the second half, with note to Barry Sullivan for leading the line. Yet Graham’s numerous saves, including some at full stretch, made him the stand out player. He couldn’t do anything about the goals, and he certainly stopped some others. A valiant performance.
Magic Moment
Leith Athletic
Clyde SOF
Some of Leith’s late breakaways were dynamic, but helped by Clyde chasing the game. The move right on half time that nearly put Cameron Stewart through, however, was in tighter space. Howie played it forward to King, who tucked it inside to Ashraf, who saw Stewart had surged forward from midfield. A goal would have been fitting reward for Stewart’s first half endeavours, but it was not to be.
Many of Graham’s saves were superb. However, on a day of toil for the forwards, one piece of skill by Cameron Scott midway through the second half was delightful. Receiving a short corner at the edge of the box, he proceeded to ‘Cruyff turn’ the closing defender. His cut back from the line didn’t get beyond Smith, but this was creativity to unpick Leith’s defensive lock.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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