South East Region (403)
The sense of new season optimism was palpable at New Victoria Park on Friday night, as Musselburgh Athletic overcame Newtongrange Star to register their first three points of the season. Star looked as though they had nicked a draw, but with just five minutes to spare, it was Khasim Mdalasini who was the hero as Musselburgh kicked off their season with a big win on the road.
It was a dream start for Musselburgh as their early pressing lead to a mix up in the Newtongrange defence. Lewis Latimer was alert enough to pounce on the mistake and slot the ball cooly past Cammy Duncan in the Star goal to give his team the lead after just two minutes.
Newtongrange soon found themselves level thanks to Lee McGill's well placed shot from the centre of the box. Centre-half Mark Tennant played a smart long ball over the top, which was collected by Josh Davidson out on the left wing. The big striker drove to the byline and squared it to his partner McGill, who made no mistake in grabbing his side's first goal of the season.
Musselburgh looked to get more of a foothold in the game and began knocking the ball about with greater urgency. Their superior possession paid dividends as some slick build play led to Duncan getting down well, but Ciaran Young was there to pick up the scraps and restore the visitor's lead.
Tricky winger Cameron Laidlaw had been terrorising the Newtongrange backline in the opening stages of the game, but proved he had the composure to match as he extended Musselburgh's advantage. Daniel Nichol floated out to the left and played in a beautiful deep cross to the back post, with Laidlaw plucking the ball out the air before smashing the ball beyond Duncan.
Despite playing in the heart of defence, Tennant once again proved instrumental as Star pulled a goal back with just over half an hour on the clock. The big centre half burst out of defence and carried the ball through the middle of the park. He then showed his technical ability in slipping it through to Davidson, whose shot snuck under Fraser Machray to put Newtongrange right back in the game.
An early Kelty Hearts opener wasn’t enough to prevent a well disciplined Glenrothes Strollers from lifting the Fife Cup. Expert finishes from Jack Mitchell and Craig Fleming sealed the trophy for the Strollers.
A blistery day at Treaton park was ready to welcome a frantic ninety minutes between the two sides who were very familiar with each other during their domestic seasons. Glenrothes were certainly the side that looked the most interested at the opening stages of the game. The first chance of the game was created by powerful full back Dylan Blyth who bombed down the left wing and delivered a mean cross that just missed the boot of Cameron Lewis from deep inside the box in the sixth minute of the match.
Glenrothes continued their early dominance through a flurry of corners which saw Thomas Gledinning have his header cleared off the line, which was quickly followed by Blyth having a close-range strike denied expertly by Kelty Heart’s goalkeeper Lewis Sinclair in the eigth minute.
After surviving the early flurry of chances, Kelty started moving up the pitch and creating chances for themselves. This was quickly rewarded by the opening goal of the final when Ben King somehow managed to knock down a precise ball to his striking partner Ryan Quinn who smashed the ball home in the 22nd minute of the match, putting Kelty in the lead.
Real end to end football was witnessed at Treaton Park for the remainder of the first half with the typhoon like conditions making the whole final even more dramatic as both sides were going full throttle on each other. Glenrothes were finally rewarded for their early pressure when Blyth went on another run and ending up being taken down in the box, earning his side a penalty and a fantastic chance to equalise. Which was exactly what happened when striker Jack Mitchell stepped up and slotted it coolly in the bottom right corner, in the 25th minute of the match.
Moments later, Kelty threatened to take the lead once again when deep lying playmaker Greg McHugh stepped up from around thirty yards and unleashed a mighty strike which cannoned off the bar in the 30th minute.
Blyth was right in the mix of it once again for Glenrothes, when Sinclair did well to tip over his looping free kick in the 40th minute. Craig Fleming came within inches from the resulting corner as his close-ranged header just flew over the bar. Soon after no nonsense defender James Perrie came up with an outrages overhead kick which clipped the crossbar and went out of play.
However, after pushing and pushing, Glenrothes finally took the lead for the first time in the final on the stroke of half time when Mitchell made some room for himself and threaded a ball through to tricky midfielder Lewis who has his shot tremendously saved by Sinclair but unfortunately for him his parry fell to the feet of Fleming who reacted the quickest and placed his effort into the empty net. Giving his side the lead in the concluding moment of the first half.
Hutchison Vale produced a fine win in the spring sunshine, seeing off Cavalry Park 4-1, to maintain the pressure at the top of League 1. Two goals in either half saw them ease clear of today’s rivals on the park and in the table, where they now sit only a point off the summit.
Vale set to their business early with efforts from various distances, the best of which came from Finlay Mackay who, upon out-muscling a centre-back, hit an angled effort that required parrying over by Ryan Kidd. Whilst the match was not exclusively one direction - a dangerous cross from Park’s James Stewart saw Vale centre-back Josh Winnik clear just past his own post - the visitors appeared more likely to strike first.
This they did, in the 10th minute. A loose ball 25 yards from their own goal left Park exposed and undermanned, and the recipient Jamie Whitehead showed great vision to clip a reverse pass to over-lapping support James Gordon ploughing in on his right. Gordon had only Kidd to beat, which he achieved with conviction by driving the ball inside the near post.
Within sixty seconds Cavalry’s Daniel Maposa had a long strike pushed wide by Finn McNichol. However that was a good as it got for the hosts in the next twelve minutes. Two sharp passes took Vale from halfway to the edge of the six yard box, but Whitehead’s turn-and-shot met a very smart save. Brodie McNab then managed to shoot over the fences when running freely on to a lay-off. But resistance finally fell, in the 22nd minute, when James Gordon won the ball 25 yards out, ran direct, and hit hard. Kidd’s parry looped nicely to Mackay, who headed in to a gaping goal from six yards.
Again Cavalry almost immediately responded as Mackenzie’s cross was headed wide by a wide open Robbie Walker. Yet that miss was timid compared to two more to see out the half. After goalscorer Mackay had punished the crossbar from the edge of the area, Whitehead sent the politely bouncing rebound into the heavens from 6 yards. Maposa then broke Vale’s defensive line but thumped his one-on-one straight at the keeper, and the rebound over.
With the clocks having now gone forward and the business end of the season fast approaching, Tynecastle FC and Cavalry Park FC went head to head at New Dundas Park, Bonnyrigg in a memorable final of the Tom Wilson Memorial Cup to kick things off with the seasons first trophy up for grabs.
In testing conditions with a wet and heavy surface underfoot, Tynecastle started the game with some early pressure on the Cavalry Park goal. After just three minutes, the towering Ivan Alapiki took the ball under control well and after holding off his man put a nice cross in to the danger area which Aaron Smith was only able to partially clear. Steven Shores latched on to the loose ball but his low right footed effort was blocked and diverted behind for a Tynecastle corner.
A few moments later and the ball was again clipped in to Alapiki once more which he brought down expertly with the outside of his foot, holding off two defenders on this occasion, before smashing an effort off the Cavalry Park crossbar despite the angle being against him. With only seven minutes on the clock it was clear that Cavalry Park had to stifle the supply to the powerful front man.
Tynecastle continued to probe forwards with William Scott beginning to impose himself more and more on the game. The strong Tynecastle number nine protected the ball brilliantly under pressure before passing it on to Alapiki who laid off Shore to hit once more. Although his second effort was not blocked, the effort was a comfortable save for Ryan Kidd in the Cavalry goal who gathered it well despite a little zip off the surface.
Cavalry Park then turned the flashes of good football they had shown in the opening 15 minutes in to the best move of the match so far. Harris Mackintosh and Tom Davies exchanged a wonderful one-two on the left hand side of the Tynecastle box which sent Mackintosh racing towards the byline. His low driven cross was on a plate to be tapped in however a Tynecastle shirt was first to it and the ball was hammered clear.
Not to be outdone down the other end, Tynecastle created a lovely move of their own. Alapiki chested the ball down to Scott around 25 yards from goal, the Tynecastle playmaker then shifted the ball on to his left foot and hit a superb curling effort towards the top corner which Kidd was equal to and held well.
The ever lively Robbie Cole began to influence the game for Cavalry Park and his corner in the 25th minute caused panic in the Tynecastle six yard box when goalkeeper Aaron Heap failed to hold his cross. The ball fell to the feet of Robbie Walker but Tynecastle keeper Heap was quick to atone for his error and made himself as big as possible to block what was a certain goal before the ball was hacked clear by Shores.
Cavalry Park continued to put Tynecastle on the back foot and began to enjoy a good spell of their own with the pace and trickery of Cole and Davies in particular causing the side in Maroon problems each time the two linked up.
Tynecastle began to fight back and create chances of their own as we approached the last 10 minutes of an evenly matched first half. Scott again picked the ball up wide right for the men in Maroon and drifted infield before teeing up team mate Kieran Moyles who's driven effort was again well saved by Kidd in the Cavalry goal.
Mackintosh picked the ball up in a central position for Cavalry and sprayed a brilliant ball out wide to Robbie Walker on the right. He held the ball in awaiting support before checking on to his left and swinging in a great ball that caught out all of the Tynecastle defence, however luckily for them it was just beyond the reach of Davies who's outstretched touch could only drop kindly at the feet of Heap for him to collect with ease.
With Mackintosh becoming more dangerous with each passing minute, the Cavalry Park midfielder lays inside for Cole to test Heap however his low drive was right down the throat of the Tynie Keeper.
With the first half just about to draw to a close there was time for one last attack and Cavalry Park made it count. A long freekick from Makintosh was hoisted high in to the Tynecastle box which they failed to deal with. The ball fell kindly at the feet of Davies who needed no invitation to hammer the ball home hard and low beyond the helpless Heap in the Tynecastle goal.
Craigroyston CYFC came out 6-3 winners over Edinburgh City Whites in a thoroughly entertaining Persevere Cup final
Craigroyston opened the game well creating many chances and getting shots that trouble the keeper on several occasions such as a decent free kick effort from Joe Monaghan that was well saved by Billy Milne for a corner that came to nothing. Monaghan got a chance to grab a second as Kyle Shepard Thomson played him in but his shot was sent just over the bar.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 17th minute as Humphrey Scott powered a low effort from the corner of the box into Monaghan who timed his run perfectly and slides the ball under the keeper to give Craigroyston the well deserved lead.
Edinburgh City try and retain possession following the goal but can't breakdown the solid Craigroyston defence to score an important equaliser. Sean Coyle gets himself involved for Craigroyston after he beats his man and fractionally sends his shot wide of the post, making a second look likely for the leaders.
In the 23rd minute a free kick on the half way line was won by Craigroyston and taken by Kyle Barnett Brown who launches the ball into the opposition goalies arms but he could not catch it and the ball fell perfectly for Emanuel Rotibel who converted from close range to double Craigroyston's advantage.
Edinburgh City immediately reply through Jamie Hook who dispossesses a Craigroyston defender and powers the ball in, out of nothing to half the deficit just one minute after conceding the second, which gave City a crucial lifeline.
However, a corner from Monaghan that managed to cross the line despite the catch from the goalkeeper regained Craigroyston's two goal lead. Craigroyston further punished the slack defending from Edinburgh City as Coyle picked the ball up from 20 yards, beat two players before burying the chance to score Craigroyston's fourth of the game just before half time.
New Dundas Park played host to a tight Edinburgh Cup final between Gala Fairydean Rovers and Tynecastle FC Whites U13s in a tie that took extra time to decide a winner, which was eventually Gala, winning the game 5-4.
The game started brightly for Gala who dominated the opening five minutes, with Addison Bell and Harris Fairgrieve combining nicely in the final third but they couldn’t find the finishing touch. Their early dominance finally made Tynecastle pay in the eighth minute when Regan Stisi’s cross was blocked into the path of Oliver McClymont who placed his low effort beyond the keeper from the edge of the box to give Gala a deserved lead.
Tynecastle saw a resurgence in their play around 20 minutes into the game as they chased an equaliser, with many chances being created by Leon Byrne and Aidan O’Malley who came close with a powerful effort going just over. They eventually got back into the game courtesy of a through ball from Byrne into the path of Andrei Samoila, whose initial shot was blocked, but found the net with the rebound as Tynecastle drew even with Gala at the half hour mark.
Tynecastle looked to double their lead before the break with more chances created by Byrne that couldn’t be finished. Gala made Tynie pay as Sam Ostle went on a clever run down the left flank before powering the ball, too powerful for the keeper to catch as Gala regained their lead before half-time.
A fast start for Gala proved to be vital in retaining their lead into half time despite great counter attacking football on display from Tynecastle and a revival later in the half that led to them scoring the equaliser.
Edinburgh City Colts weathered both a proverbial and literal storm to defeat Longniddry Villa Colts 1-0 and reach the final of the Division 3 League Cup on Sunday. Sean McLean’s goal five minutes from time settled a tight tie in which Longniddry were arguably the better team before falling to the league leaders.
The opening twenty minutes of this match were a write-off as an abject weather system drove freezing rain and sleet across the pitch. Bar a long range shot by Villa’s James Lithgow and City striker Ryan McElhinney being sharply closed down by keeper Steven Nisbet, the primary objective for the players during this time was to stay warm and not loathe seasonal football.
Eventually conditions improved, slightly, and the game could properly commence. Lithgow was fed a chance on an overlap but found his side-footed effort lacked sufficient power, while McElhinney too tried again: his deflected shot from the edge of the area wrong-footed everyone but fell wide left.
Yet it was four minutes before half-time when the serious opportunities arrived, and they did so in a flurry for Longniddry. The first saw Lithgow roll the ball a sliver wide after a long free kick drifted through the City defence and to his feet. Hearts may well have been in defenders’ mouths as the effort evaded the target in slow motion.
This was followed by Tommy Hughes being sent clear to face City keeper Saul Nelson one-on-one twice within a minute. The first was lost to a slightly heavy touch that enabled Nelson to close within centimetres, and the second required a good save. However Villa were outplaying the leaders, epitomised by how Ross Montgomery created the first Hughes chance by winning the ball in his own half, marching through midfield, and finding the pass behind the left back.
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.
Edinburgh City Whites overcame underdogs Cavalry Park 4-1 to move on in the Colin Greenhill Memorial Cup on Sunday. However, the match between Division 2 frontrunners Whites and Division 3 Park was a closer affair than the scoreline suggests as two late goals punctured the visitor’s gusto.
Indeed, with Edinburgh City somewhat disjointed for the first ten minutes, the favourites were initially on the back foot. The first three efforts all were Cavalry Park’s, two of which came from uneasy clearances. Yet Whites located their calm and by midway through the half were making the better opportunities. A neat ball by Owen Irvine played Charlie Cameron down the right channel, but his shot slide past the far post, and Cavalry Park’s own wayward clearance nearly presented Tucker Smith a one-on-one.
Matters remained even when Park captain Thomas Ritch’s cross gave Nathaniel Beech-Brandt a volleying chance against a curious lack of defenders, but in the 25th minute the stalemate was broken. The goal came from left winger James Jackson, and came like an electric shock. Previously quiet, Jackson received the ball 25 yards from goal, suddenly scorched past his fullback, and poked the ball past keeper Callum Manson.
One became two in the 29th minute when a lofted ball by Irvine dropped behind the defence and eight yards out. Striker Smith, keeper Manson, and a covering defender all converged, with Smith able to nod the ball goalwards before they all crashed. The ball crept over the line to reward his bravery.
2-0 was a harsh half-time score for Cavalry Park, for whom captain Ritch was working relentlessly in central midfield. The final three shots of the half were also theirs, but without a goal they were in trouble.
Robbie Peffers netted a hat-trick as Portobello racked up nine against fellow division one high-flyers West Lothian FC at Portobello High School.
The result sees them into the last four of the Stewart Brien Cup, where they will play whoever is victorious between Longniddry Villa and Currie Star FC.
The hosts were dominant from the first whistle onwards, and their pressing from the front was key to this. West Lothian made their best attempt to play out of it but throughout the first half they struggled to get out and up the other end of the park.
It set a tone for the way the game was going to be played. Taylor Hamill went close to scoring as he slid in at the back post, only for his effort to come back off the foot of the post. It was only a matter of time.
Their pressure was made to count just moments later. Alfie Smith danced into the area, and although his shot was blocked, it fell perfectly to Peffers who pounced from a few yards out to open the scoring.
Portobello’s wide men were influential in the outcome of the game and the width they provided caused all kinds of problems for the visitors. Whilst Hamill got himself into goalscoring positions on the right, Reynolds had a field day getting beyond his man and to the byline down the left.
They also had the creative Josh Crolla in the heart of midfield. He might have been the tallest player on the park, but midfielder showed a classy range of passing and netted a superb second for his side on 19 minutes from outside the box, leaving goalkeeper Noah Young helpless.
West Lothian looked to have held out until half time with the deficit at just two. That was until Smith stepped up to hit a free kick from well outside the area in the final minute of the half. He had no right to score, but the strike was of the highest order, giving Young no chance once again. The game had a different feel now going into the break; the visitors with a mountain to climb.
Currie Star Yellows picked up an important win thanks to a Luke Westmoreland double, as fellow Division 4 strugglers Edinburgh South succumbed to a tenth defeat of the season at Balerno High School.
The first half was a cagey affair where tactics played a big part. Currie Star, despite having the lions share of possession, failed to unsettle the visitors, who were looking to stifle them with a defensive 4-1-4-1 approach.
However goals either side of the interval from Westmoreland gave the hosts a firm grip on proceedings - and a further two goals put the game beyond the reach of the Patriots.
On a chilly winters morning, the game started with a flurry of good chances. Josh Boyle fired a clever cut-back over the crossbar for the away side before Westmoreland failed to guide the ball into an empty net, from a tight angle albeit, following a mix-up at the back.
The Currie striker continued to threaten however, and he slashed an effort narrowly off target a few minutes later.
The quality level took somewhat of a dip after the first five minutes, and the game settled into a slower tempo, where first half chances came few and far between.
It was the Yellows who continued to create what few chances there were - Sam Watson and Max Neary both trying their luck from distance; but needless to say the game remained goalless.
Henry Millar created his side’s best opportunity of the half with a clever turn into the box - and his goanward strike had to be cleared behind by Watson, somewhat unorthodoxly. It was a good spell for South, and Jack Mackintosh hit a low strike sweetly following the resultant corner, but off target.
The breakthrough would come, just minutes before the interval, thanks to Westmoreland. The ball in behind was well-weighted for the forward but it was the miscommunication between goalkeeper and defence that let him latch on to it. From that point onwards, with keeper Dylan Simm stranded, he did the rest - executing a deft chip to to give his side a deserved lead at the break.
Edinburgh City Reds broke Earlston Rhymers resistance with nine minutes to play in their Division 2 League Cup contest. The hosts' 1-0 victory, in a match they controlled but struggled to find shots, was deserved but not easy on a cold Edinburgh day.
The game began with a curious misunderstanding in the fourth minute. Ryan Ironside’s deflected right wing cross looped over Rhymers keeper Finlay Dodds, struck the back post, bounced perilously close to in and ended back within Dodds’ hands. Amidst claims the ball had crossed the line, it appeared a goal had been given and Reds began to celebrate. Yet something was amiss. The signal, the referee stated, had been play on. It was a big call, under pressure, but the correct decision.
After that mini-drama, the game hit a steady rhythm of Reds in possession and Rhymers looking out of sorts. Finlay Purdie was the pick of midfield, but efforts at goal were scarce and seldom on target. When Purdie had to be removed for a worrying issue after 25 minutes - he was treated on the sideline beneath coats for substantial time, but eventually left the ground on his own feet - the spark and impetus became subdued.
Reds continued to manage the game, and one free kick drew a good save by Dodds, but by half time only two of the half dozen shots had been worthy of saves, and none had been by Earlston. Unsurprisingly, the game was goalless.