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.