Lochend Youth and Earlston Rhymers managed a goal and red card each as they drew 1-1 in their Division 3 contest in Portobello. On an early Spring day the shared spoils were a fair reflection of a game in which the defences were generally in control.
Matters started slowly, with no meaningful attempts until a snapshot from Rhymers Gavin Dickson went just wide in the 9th minute. Despite significant space occasionally presenting itself on the wings, neither team could connect their approaches into dangerous moves in these early stages.
The match heated up across three minutes midway through the first half. After a Cammy Robertson shot from 20 yards was tipped wide by Lochend’s Zak Eunson, the resulting corner created a frantic goal line scramble. The ball was eventually cleared, but the mood for wild swiping had obviously not been wholly abated: a minute later a violent clash near the Lochend box provoked the referee to reduce both teams to ten.
Lochend’s response to the new numbers was positive, as Jay Stewart had two chances, both set up by fine work by Matthew Hudson. On the first occasion, Hudson embarked on a long run down the left wing before centring; the second was the fruit of a beautiful ball from halfway that Stewart, under pressure, could only toe-poke wide.
But as the interval approached, so Rhymers awoke. In the 34th minute Charlie Haetzman nudged the ball past the last defender but could not beat Eunson when 1-on-1. It did not matter: a minute later a corner was not sufficiently cleared, allowing captain Dickson to win a 50/50 on the edge of the box. With players in every direction, he jabbed the ball high at goal and was delighted to see it fly over the reach on Eunson to give Earlston the lead.