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A cold and snowy Sunday morning in East Edinburgh saw Currie Star overcome hosts Newcraighall Leith Vics to seal a place in the Ian Mackay Cup final. The sides couldn't be separated during regulation time, which finished goalless largely thanks to an inspired goalkeeping dislay by the home side's Scott French. However, Currie finally found their way past the in form stopper in extra time as goals from Kieran Walton and Billy Nicoll secured a 2-0 victory.
The match had all the makings of a close contest, with both sides heading into the match on the back of a successful first half season. Newcraighall were still unbeaten in the league, with just two points dropped, and had saw off North Merchiston and Star 'A' en route to the final four. Currie had won all six of their league games and negotiated ties against Lochend and Edinburgh City '99 in the previous rounds of this competition.
Both teams began the game at a predictably high tempo, neither looking to give any early ground to the opposition. It took ten minutes before either side could produce an attempt at goal, Star's Taylor Reynolds volleying just wide of the target from 20 yards.
The chances then began coming thick and fast, with the away side making a lot of the early running. Kieran Walton cut inside from the right touch line before drilling an effort into the grateful arms of Scott French. Richie Wood was next to go close for Currie, twice in quick succession, but both times he found the formidable presence of French preventing him from finding the net.
Newcraighall had been far from out of the game, enjoying a lot of the ball, but struggling to make any inroads against a Currie defence who had conceded just four league goals this season, and none at all in this competition. They did come close on the 25 minute mark, when Chris Sanchez fired a shot narrowly wide of the right hand post.
As the half entered its closing stages it became a more end to end affair with both sides coming close. French showed fine reflexes to tip over a Declan Davidson effort. At the other end Sanchez thought he had opened the scoring for Vics, only to be denied by a well positioned Brendan McGinn, with the goalkeeper beaten.
Half Time: Newcraighall Leith Vics 0-0 Currie Star
The second half started with a moment of high drama. The ball was placed into the Currie final third, where it took a ricochet off a defender, wrong-footing goalkeeper Robert Watt. The goalkeeper was quick to react, racing back and grabbing the ball before skidding goalwards. It appeared as though the ball had marginally crossed the line, but with the full body of the goalkeeper between the referee and the ball, referee Martin Forbes simply couldn't see the ball's whereabouts and waved play on.
Newcraighall were far more purposeful in the second half and were starting to threaten the Currie defence with some regularity. Ryan Dalrymple volleyed just past the post and Ben Taylor was denied by the outstretched foot of Watt.
As the minutes clocked up the visiting side started to find their feet again. Davidson was denied twice in quick succession by French. Next up Maxwell Farrer couldn't believe his eyes as the inspired goalkeeper denied him from point blank range before smothering the loose ball. French was then quickly off his line to produce an expertly timed slide tackle to stop Davidson in his tracks.
The final whistle blew and the squads regrouped to be given instructions and encouragement by their respective coaching teams.
Full Time: Newcraighall Leith Vics 0-0 Currie Star
Newcraighall started the first period of extra time brightly with Jonathon McVie flashing the ball across goal. It somehow managed to elude the onrushing attackers and drift inches wide of the far post.
After nearly 90 minutes of intense but goalless football, the scoring was finally opened. Currie Star's Billy Nicoll, who had been a willing runner all game, showing good composure in front of goal to put his side in front.
The home side rallied and did their best to apply pressure on the visiting defence, but McGinn and Liam Berry were rock solid in the centre, with full backs and midfielders doing their bit too. With Newcraighall bodies committed to attack, Currie struck the final blow, Kieran Walton slotting the ball home to make it 2-0.
It wasn't long before Forbes blew the final whistle on an excellent cup tie. Two hard working, well organised teams playing football in the right manner with good sportsmanship thrown in the mix. Whilst the Under 14 age group can often throw up scorelines like 5-4 and 7-5, this match was just as gripping as any goalfest.
Final Result: Newcraighall Leith Vics 0-2 Currie Star (AET)