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Leith Athletic book place in final with assured victory over Eastside Rapids

Both teams went into the match with confidence following their wins in the quarter-finals of the U13 Peter O’Neill Cup. With just three points separating the two sides in the league, it was likely to be an even game.

The early exchanges saw Eastside Rapids pressing for the first goal, with a good opportunity in the 5th minute from a lofted delivery into the box. However, Leith Athletic swiftly countered, with Nathan Hill testing Lucas Whelan in the Eastside Rapids goal.

Josh Fortune threatened with a powerful header off a Harry McCabe corner in the 11th minute for Leith Athletic. But there was a quick response from Eastside Rapids, as Nathaniel Staniszeweski unleashed a fierce strike narrowly missing the target.

The deadlock was broken midway through the first half when Phoenix Chan-Raiker of Leith Athletic unleashed a stunning long-range effort, catching the keeper off guard with challenging sunlight.

The momentum swung further in Leith’s favour a minute later, as Chan-Raiker turned provider for Sean Laidlaw who volleyed home from close range after a well-placed cross.

Eastside Rapids managed to pull one back in the 27th minute through Staniszeweski’s clinical finish which brought a renewed energy into the match.

Leith responded well and had a chance a minute later. Laidlaw put a header over the bar from close range.

After the break, Eastside Rapids tried to capitalise on their momentum, with McCabe forcing a crucial save from Billy Young. Leith Athletic also remained a threat, as Laidlaw missed a close-range opportunity minutes later.

Leith Athletic regained their two-goal lead ten minutes into the second half, as Laidlaw once again proved instrumental, rising highest to nod home from a pinpoint corner delivery.

Nathan Hill got a fourth for Leith Athletic after the ball fell to him on the edge of the box after a corner. He hit a low-driven shot into the back of the net to make it 4-1.

Eastside got one back late on to make it 4-2. Harry McCabe’s excellent half-volley flew into the back of the net taking the keeper by surprise.

Lachlan Aitken got a fifth in the dying stages for Leith to secure a place in the final. His long-range effort found the back of the net which secured Leith Athletic’s victory and made sure that it was his side that went through to the final.

Leith Athletic Player of the Match: Sean Laidlaw

He was always a threat running into the box and from set pieces. I lost count of the number of times that he was found inside the box. He got a brace for his reward as well.

Leith Athletic U13s

1. Billy Young

2. Dawda Jawara

3. Olly Conner

4. Sol Fernandes

5. Alistair Reid

6. Jack Otway

7. Nathan Hill

8. Sean Laidlaw

9. Assan Sidibeh

10. Phoenix Chan-Raiker

11. Harris Hawkey

12. Lewis Cawley

14. Filip Wolczynski

15. Lachlan Aitken

16. Dominik Pospiech

17. Murdo Reid

18. Cullen McLeod

Eastside Rapid U13s

33. Lucas Whelan

2. Ellis Blyth

3. Riley Gemmell

5. Josh Fortune

6. Cameron Cheape

7. Harry McCabe

8. Keir Birkenfield

10. Joshua Borwick

11. Jayden Millar

12. Riley Taylor

17. Nathaniel Staniszewski

21. Riley Elliot

31. Keir James Dixon


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