A single goal, scored seven minutes from the end of an otherwise evenly contested tie, ensured Hutchison Vale progressed in the Federation of Hibs Supporters Cup at Edinburgh South’s expense. With chances hard to fashion, Luke McMahon’s left boot did the damage, and stout defence did the rest.
With both sides holding similar positions in the league, this was likely to be a close match-up. Thus it proved, with a first twenty in which South started stronger, Vale grew, and each side had one serviceable opportunity. Had a third minute centre by South’s Ryan O’Donnell found the boot of Misu El Boghady, or Hutchison’s Kye Hutchison’s free kick not been tipped over, the flavour of the game may have changed.
As it was, most attacking was conducted outside the box. For South, Alastair McWhirter - playing as a deep-lying striker - showed touch and vision that was alas too far from goal. Vale’s McMahon, meanwhile, preferred driving at the defence from halfway, which caused consternation and, on the half hour, a chance for Kieran Somerville. Ciaran Pugh, with his knees, made another strong save.
As the half ticked down, South suddenly found some shooting boots. A beautiful free kick from El Boghdady nearly located the top right corner, but thudded the crossbar instead. A deflected cross nearly looped over keeper Bryce, who did wonderfully to fall backwards and claw the ball out. McWhirter attempted to neatly bend the ball into the bottom corner from 25 yards, but Bryce was again alert to parry. We reached the interval goalless.