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Sunday, 21 October 2012 10:21

Tynecastle's steel shows as Merchi are beaten

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North Merchiston
Crowther 24


U17 SERYFL Division 1
Meggetland 3G

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North Merchiston vs Tynecastle FC - Under 17sNorth Merchiston hosted Tynecastle on Meggetland's artificial pitch in a South East Region YFL Division 1 encounter. In a match where defences were on top a solitary strike from Clayton Crowther, midway through the first half, was enough to secure the points for Tynecastle.

For anyone familiar with the 1996 age group in the South East Region, this game needed no introduction. North Merchiston and Tynecastle had been battling it out for years, with the home side famed for their passing football and the visitors racking up trophies at local, regional and national level. This season, Merchi were optimistic of putting up a strong title challenge, and had begun with four wins on the bounce. Tynecastle were sitting top of the table, having won seven from eight, holding a six point lead over nearest challengers Musselburgh Windsor and Spartans.

The match kicked off in mild conditions with both sides pressing from the first whistle, reluctant to give their opponents any time on the ball. The first chance, with 5 minutes on the clock, fell to Sam Tulloch of Merchi who cut inside from the right and curled a shot narrowly wide of the target.

At the other end Azad Okan had started brightly, running at the North Merchiston defence at every opportunity. He produced a well executed half-volley into the back of the net on 10 minutes, but the referee's whistle had long gone for offside.

The match swayed back and forth, with neither team able to get a great deal of sustained possession. The first goal was evidently going to be huge and with 24 minutes on the clock, it fell to Tynecastle. A deflected effort from the edge of the area was spilled by Darren Mitchell and Clayton Crowther was quickest to react and fire the ball across goal, inches inside the post. Mitchell's uncharacteristic error was possibly down to a wrist injury that saw him leave the field of play, to be replaced by Jake MacDonald.

Far from being despondent, the home team rallied and set about searching for the equaliser. Fraser Eddington connected well with a volley, only to see it fly wide of the right hand post. The former Edina Hibs and Spartans striker was then denied by Cameron Tulloch, who saved a shot bound for the bottom right corner, a sign of things to come.

As the half came to an end, a saving tackle from Scott Siegel was required to keep Tynecastle's lead in tact, after Tulloch's clearance fell to the feet of a Merchiston forward.

Half Time: North Merchiston 0-1 Tynecastle 

North Merchiston vs Tynecastle FC - Under 17sThe second half soon developed into a pattern with North Merchiston in the ascendency, but an ultra organised Tynecastle defence barely giving an inch. The Tynecastle sixteen only featured seven of the squad who played in last year's Scottish Cup final, but the experienced triangle of Siegel and Bradd Campsie at centre half, with Tulloch behind them, was going to prove crucial in the minutes ahead.

North Merchiston striker Nathan Evans was beginning to find his feet and his sublime flick looked to have set Eddington clear, only for Siegel to come across with a crunching tackle. Evans then beat the offside trap and raced through on goal from the angle of the area, only to see his effort blocked by the onrushing Tulloch, who was off his line quick as a flash.

Eddington and Tulloch continued to trade blows. The Merchi forward stung the palms of the Tynecastle keeper with a half-volley from 25 yards on the 70 minute mark. And minutes later, Eddington raced clear but could only find the side netting, after the goalkeeper had once again narrowed the angle well.

Tynecastle had a chance to wrap up the points on the counter attack. The ball was swiftly moved to the right where Gavin Stevenson motored down the wing, before sliding a cross into the penalty area. Connor Brydon and Danny Baron appeared to be queueing up at the back post, but neither one could dig it out of their feet and MacDonald smothered the loose ball.

With seconds left on the clock there was one last moment of drama. North Merchiston won a last ditch corner, which was swung in invitingly towards the front post. Sam Tulloch flashed a header towards the Tynecastle goal, which was parried by his namesake between the sticks, before Campsie scrambled clear the loose ball, taking a knee to the face for his troubles.

The final whistle blew and Tynecastle celebrated maintaining their lead at the top of the table, whilst puncturing North Merchiston's unblemished record. The home side will point to the fact they were without a number of key players, and on the balance of play deserved to take something from the match. However, when you defend as heriocally as Tynecastle did, fortune can indeed favour the brave.

Full Time: North Merchiston 0-1 Tynecastle

North Merchiston Tynecastle
1. Darren Mitchell
3. Gavin Birrell
4. Cameron Stokes
5. Nick Mortimer 
6. Calum Windram
8. Calum Young
10. Callum Baptie
11. Nathan Evans
12. Sam Tulloch
14. Ben Brigain
15. Fraser Eddington
17. Jake MacDonald
18. Greig Brown

1. Cameron Tulloch
2. Darren McCowat
3. James Redpath
4. Ryan Travis
5. Scott Siegel
6. Gregor Lockhart
7. Connor Brydon
8. Euan Lannon
9. Sean Williamson
11. Azad Okan
14. Blair Rutherford
15. Danny Baron
16. Liam McNeill
17. Gavin Stevenson
18. Clayton Crowther
19. Bradd Campsie
Cameron Stokes just edges the award ahead of defensive colleague Calum Windram. The left back was excellent in defence and showed great composure on the ball and a willingness to get forward.
Tynecastle were excellent defensively, a model of organisation and commitment. At the heart of that was Scott Siegal, leading his troops and making a number of crucial interventions and last ditch tackles.
Andrew Young, Head Coach of North Merchiston, said: "We didn't have the best of luck with six out and our goalkeeper coming off injured. Taking that into account I thought we played well and deserved to take a point."
Douglas Ormston, Head Coach of Tynecastle, said: "It wasn't a vintage performance. I felt we edged the first half and Merchi came at us in the second. However, we're delighted to cement our place at the top of the table."
Last modified on Thursday, 03 October 2013 11:54
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