Tynecastle against Musselburgh was a fine example of contrasting styles, and the tightness of the game showed both teams knew their strengths. While back fours were a common bond, their attacking formations were starkly contrasting. Tynecastle’s 4-4-1-1 was designed to maintain a solid midfield foundation, with balls then pushed wide to encourage crosses. Windsor, conversely, lined up with a forward triumvirate - one central, two wide - with a supporting and flexible midfield three behind.
That Tynecastle took the lead from a cross, parried kindly into midfielder Callum Todd’s path, was not surprising. However Musselburgh were soon launching their own weapons. Josh Murray was the central prong, while Daniel Combe had moments of great success on the left.
Yet the real damage came on the right where Robert Hunter was allowed to roam in from his wing, with tireless midfielder Tyler Pryde filling in the vacated space. Both players were to have superb games, and indeed combined for their side’s second goal.
Substitutes to begin the second half did shift the tactics somewhat, as Tynecastle moved Corin Brown from the right wing to centre forward, put new man Sam Kilboy out wide, and withdrew Elijah Anukum. Musselburgh, meanwhile, made more dramatic switches as Hunter came off for a break, Murray went deep, Finn Thomson became the striker, and Pryde pushed further forward.
Continuity paid dividends as Tynecastle became the better team, rustling up chance after chance. And then falling behind. Pryde’s running got him up the wing and Hunter, back on and up front, took the chance.
It cannot be said that Tynecastle got their tactics wrong; it was occasionally hard to fathom how they were not two goals ahead rather than one behind. But in tightly contested games cold brutal finishing can be the difference. A remedy appeared to arrive just in time as Koren Brown’s free kick in the final minute equalised, making it probably the most clutch swing of a boot in the entire game.
However this only forced extra time, where Musselburgh’s decisive quality - righteous passion - became the deciding factor. Liam Henderson and Pryde charged around the pitch as if their flesh were on fire, offering performances to match Windsor’s vociferous support in the stands. Windsor were not individuals, or even a team, but a community, and Henderson’s winner proved how strong that can be.