U16 Steve Maskrey Cup: Haddington 2 ÔÇô 0 Tynecastle
After what seems likes months of layoffs and cancelled games because of the winter weather, a handful of matches were played in the local youth leagues this weekend.
At under 16 level, in the South East Region Youth Football AssociationÔÇÖs Steve Maskrey Cup competition, the much fancied Tynecastle side travelled to East Lothian to take on Haddington Athletic.
HaddingtonÔÇÖs last game had been on November 21st, and both sides were expected to be a bit rusty after the prolonged and unwelcome break. And so it proved to be, with both sides falling well short of their best performances as players struggled to shrug off the enforced idleness and excesses of the Xmas and New Year break.
The game started slowly, on a heavy but eminently playable pitch, whilst the protagonists sought to find their feet. Tynecastle looked unusually cautious in coming forward, and Haddington seemed to have the measure of them in the middle of the park.
The game ebbed to and fro, with chances going a-begging at both ends due to poor finishing from both teams. Haddington forced two corners which came to nothing, whilst at the other end their keeper had to move sharply to touch an effort round the post.
But it was Haddington which broke the deadlock, when a superbly weighted long pass caught the Tynecastle defence flat-footed and their centre forward held off the belated challenges of the defenders to slot the ball home with the outside of his boot past the hapless keeper. Haddington 1- 0 Tynecastle at half time.
The second half was an altogether different affair, with Tynecastle coming quickly out of the blocks and looking much more business like than they did in the first. Haddington were pinned back into their own half for long periods, and it was only the Tynecastle forward lineÔÇÖs profligacy in front of goal, plus one superb reflex save by the goalie, which kept Haddington ahead.
Nonetheless, when they did break free Haddington always looked the more dangerous in attack, and in a near carbon copy of their first goal ÔÇô long pass to the lone striker, holding off of the defenders, and accurate strike with the outside of the boot from close range ÔÇô they made it 2 ÔÇô 0.
For the first time the Tynecastle heads went down, but they didnÔÇÖt give up and there were numerous forays up and down the park thereafter. Haddington defended resolutely throughout, and might even have nicked a third goal, and their strikerÔÇÖs hat--trick, before the referee blew the final whistle.
The final score was a fair reflection on a game in which neither team scaled the heights and which was mildly disappointing for the spectators, who were expecting a more cultured display from two sides who are capable of much better. Haddington will be nonetheless be delighted to add TynecastleÔÇÖs scalp to those of Hutchison Vale and Edinburgh City which they gathered earlier in the season, and are no doubt looking forward to the ┬╝ finals of the competition
But with both sides due to meet at least twice again in 2011 in the league, plus the possibility of being matched again in other cup competitions, there will be opportunities for Tynecastle to redress the balance. LetÔÇÖs just hope itÔÇÖs a better spectacle next time.