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Coming into this game both sides had reason for optimism on account of their relative parity in the league and on this sunny day overlooking the crest of Arthur’s seat, spring had sprung the promise of a fine game of knock-out football.
From the first minute, the intentions were declared by a long ball to Tranent’s Craig Wojtowycz which the Tynie Keeper Sean Diamond collected and immediately pinged back downfield, the bounce taking it straight to his teammate Scott Wright breaking through, slowing the ball with good control, coming inside and shooting well, he sent the shot just a couple of yards over. Then Scott Hume was on to a throw in and it was looking like Tynecastle’s game before Anton McKillop for Tranent turned his defender to latch on to a good long ball into the corner and would’ve been free but for the ref deciding he’d gotten the advantage unfairly. It seemed harsh.
It was clear by this point that the pitch surface was to have an impact on the styles of play and the temerity of the contest, with strong tackles looking to be the order of the day. Eventually this was to get the better of Tynecastle and make for a rough ride for the referee. This was unfortunate for the depth of quality that Tynecastle otherwise displayed.
Gordon Harris and Scott Wright were combining well down the left wing for Tynecastle despite gaining the ball through challenges that Tranent deemed reasonable to verbalise on, eventually leading the ref to follow an eager enquiry from McKillop with a free kick against Tynie. The mood looked to have been set. Pressing on immaterial, Wright was showing good footwork on the right wing but both teams seemed to be benefitting more from the chancier balls lofted through midfield. Coupled with a series of throw-ins, this game was going short on passing with ten minutes gone but Ross Yeoman took it upon himself to orchestrate a well worked counter attack switching play via his defence and allowing Andrew Summers to swerve in a good, targeted cross towards Scott Wright running into the box. The ball was cleared and when Tynie recovered it, right back Craig Spalding side footed a rapid pass forward into Hume on the opposite flank, a one touch flick nearly leading to the release of an attack down the wing to the byline
Tranent though were industrious and their own right back Ryan Hall put a high lofted pass into the corner for McKillop to gallop onto, he dug out a ball pulled back to the approaching colleague but Andrew Munro intercepted and together with his partner Summers released the pressure out to the right wing again.
With quarter of an hour gone, Tranent are starting to dominate positional play. A corner is cleared and Tynecastle almost release a counter attack with Ross Yeoman’s good through ball being intercepted and Tranent starting an intricate series of passing play, right back Ryan Hall getting the ball to McKillop before a shot by Bob Wood goes from the edge of the box goes a couple of yards over. From a throw-in Wood is immediately ghosting inside and a lay off to Wojtowycz for a fine strike that curves away from goal.
Tynecastle now know they need to get a grip and start wrestling back possession and they visibly begin to focus on their passing on the deck and movement off the ball, with the main protagonists Scott Houston, Gordon Harris and Scott Wright looking to provide the spark. An offside takes the wings from their sails and as Tranent send a free-kick long to win a corner, the wind begins to pick up and the mood darkens to one where there is more business to be done than football to be played.
Wright again, runs down the right for Tynie, gets to the byline and the pull back is collected by Tranent’s Michael Porteous, he brings it away from trouble with good footwork under pressure and passes to Andrew Horne who brings it into the Tynie half and from a throw-in another shooting opportunity is created.
At this point the game is becoming a battle of niggling fouls, Tranent’s creative and direct style of play showing to be more suitable for the surface than the passing game Tynecastle are implementing with a measure of success. On this basis the next time Sean Diamond, in goal for Tynecastle, claims the ball he clears it long up the pitch for Hume, who has won the majority of the headers, nicks the ball cleverly on to Wright but the Tranent defence gets back and a tap forward by Tynie’s Andrew Summers doesn’t quite open up space for a shot.
Then, in the 25th minute, Bob Wood turns out into space down the Tynecastle inside right channel, undercuts a beautiful ball into the far side of the box across the Tynecastle back line to Liam McFarlane who one touches back into Wojtowycz’s path coming on to the play. He sees the bounce and collects it with a deft touch to clear the defender and on the edge of the six yard box caresses it into the bottom right corner, in off the post for the first goal of the game.
Tynecastle are attempting to get back into the game and win a couple of throw-ins far inside the Tranent half, the second allowing a well-executed swinging half volley from Andrew Summers to curve just outside the left post with his right foot.
By now the clouds have brought a mite of glum appeal to the game and sensing the requirements, the Tranent keeper McMullen is getting vocal and motivating the players in front of him, organising his defence and communicating well. At the half hour mark, Tynecastle are having a period of scrappy domination, trying to get their heads about them but clearly fighting a level of anxiety at the back and struggling to get the ball down in midfield.
Meanwhile Tranent are content to allow the pitch to stifle their opposition and the one goal lead is protected by gaining positional advantages through numerous lofted balls. As the temperature drops further Tranent’s forward Wood is linking up play very well, regularly dropping back into midfield, drawing plenty of attempted tackles with his technical quality and leading the line well. Darren Veitch is doing much the same and when required demonstrating a clever use of strength to win balls.
Gordon Harris for Tynecastle sends in a good corner and Andrew Munro up from defence gets a head on it that isn’t quite enough to direct it on goal, the Tranent defence strong enough to lever him and showing enough strength and guile in general to withstand the pressure that Tynie are applying. Tranent’s Horne flicks a ball inside, Wojtowycz hits an aimless shot from the left side and the ball is coming across the Tynie defence on a couple more occasions before they can wrestle back possession and go looking for a path forward.
Tranent are steadfastly lofting balls away in the centre and Ryan Hall picks up a loose ball inside to the architect of their goal, Bob Wood who, once again clear of the defence might have done better to take it on his own than attempt a cheeky and selfless through ball to a colleague. Play breaks down but only seconds later it is Wood again who ghosts beyond the Tynie defence, approaching the byline and is unlucky to give away a foul as the Tynecastle centre back shows strength to get his body in between attacker and ball. At this point Wood is a clear choice for Man of the Match so far as yet again he collects the ball with the deftness of a pickpocket off the opposition, passes it inside and is almost setting up a teammate on goal.
Minutes before half time, whether by way of the refereeing decisions or the pressure they are under, Tynecastle are getting frustrated and are soon allowing McKillop to swing in from the right wing and let fly with a rising shot which the goalkeeper Diamond does well to parry away far to the left. Greig Jardine for Tynie then plays a pair of very direct balls into feet from left back, the second is concise enough to allow Gordon Harris to cleverly flick it by the opposition so he can approach the left hand byline and he shows a good curling ball into the area but the angle going away from goal and the line of three Tynecastle attackers coming in is too straight and nobody has hung back to collect the free ball at the back of the box. Once it has bounced away to safety the referee blows his whistle for half time.
Half Time: Tynecastle FC 0 – 1 Tranent Juniors
An impassioned start to the 2nd half from Tynie with a series of free kicks won dampen down and Tranent have soon re-asserted possession, winning a throw-in far up-field and after winning a free kick it is actually Tynecastle who are spray it up to the other end where Scott Wright almost releases Yeoman but for a last ditch tackle by Tranent’s Blair Murray. Then, his opposite number Jardine, who has covered well, is intercepting play at the Tynecastle end and we are back to a succession of free-kicks and throw-ins in the wind, Tranent’s lofted clearances and Tynie playing one and two touch football on the bobbly surface.
Tynecastle hit the zone now and for a full 4 minutes there is an intensity and accuracy about their play that they have clearly been keen to induce. Interspersed with patience going back through the defence to reset play Tynecastle are showing a high level of structural and expansive quality in their football.
It’s enough to bring Tranent to put a halt to it with a clattering sandwich from two players on Ross Yeoman. Yet somehow they win the free kick! Tranent loft it forward from the free kick and McKillop hoists it back inside before Bob Wood decides to get it under his spell. He dances past two players and is away to the edge of the Tynecastle box in space in spite the tackles coming in but alas the ref has called play back for the foul. Where was the advantage?! I think Wood would have preferred to carry on. In the end the free kick comes back off the wall and normal service is resumed.
Ten minutes into the second half and these couple of decisions have piled some pressure on the ref, most of it coming from the vocal Tynie players so when the chorus of calls for a penalty in the Tranent box, which to be fair could’ve gone either way, were dismissed, he is even drawing howls of derision from the touchline! It’s a tough job, but he has been straight with the players throughout the first half and done well to keep the frustrations from boiling over with his game management stemming from clear and open communication of his decisions for all concerned.
Tynecastle’s Subs Lewis Russell and Dale Heatlie come on and are immediately impacting play. With 15 minutes of the 2nd half gone, Gordon Harris bursts through on goal and his attempted chip over the onrushing Ross McMullen is parried away. Tynecastle follow up with a brace of corners as their frustration grows and discussions between players and staff are needed. Once again Harris is involved and almost curls the ball left footed over the fullback to Russell but Ryan Hall for Tranent gets a crucial head to it.
By now the referee has asserted his authority on the game again and the tension is simmering down, if only Tynie’s confidence in their own play on this surface could be brought into focus now it is clear to everyone that they would have a chance of taking the victory. This equation is not worked out quickly enough by Tynecastle’s Summers though and his verbal volley at the referee earns him both a yellow and some jeers from his own players, realising the peak for this sort of determination had been collectively surpassed. There was a new focus on winning. This division in team ethics quickly leads to a cautious ball back to the Tynecastle keeper Diamond and he does well to confidently get it back out to right back Craig Spalding who unfortunately becomes yet another victim of the hard and unpredictable surface as a quick witted Andrew Horne nicks in for Tranent and was away save for a hooked boot on his ankles. Was that the last man? Should it be red? Was it to be a red?
The ref says no foul and Tranent don’t argue, carrying on as Tynecastle players are at clearly at odds even more now and Tranent want to take advantage. A free kick from the other side comes in hard at the Tynie keeper Diamond, he can’t account for the bounce and it comes off his chest towards two approaching Tranent players, McKillop and Ross. Ross gets there first and slots it by Diamond and the whole pitch seems to hold its breath as it hits the post and bounces wide.
At the other end a Tynecastle free kick goes narrowly wide but it’s still Tranent applying the pressure and Andrew Horne getting the shots in. He has been lively in the 2nd half, also winning headers on a couple of key occasions to release pressure.
Now it’s the turn of the Tranent centre backs to take centre stage though as Tynecastle begin to enforce a period of sustained attacking play, again spinning their passing around well, but Porteous and Murray insist on taking up good positions for the interception and seem to be appearing each time right now.
Tranent’s only sub Cameron Reynolds comes on for the industrious Horne and Tynecastle hardly notice as their passing quality continues to amount to few chances and only appears to increase their anxiety.
Bob Wood begins to draw a few fouls again for Tranent and eases the play away from his half, resurrecting the theft like qualities he summoned in the first half and twice in the 79th minute he shows that tackling can be an art form as he takes up a deeper responsibility once again to collect the ball for his team.
Keen not to be outdone, Tynecastle totally turn on the quality, the game’s earlier villain Summers demonstrating the maturity he showed in early parts of the first half to begin orchestrating Tynie’s play from midfield. A pass into sub Russell is sent inside to Scott Wright who is nearly able to shoot however, yet again Porteous and Murray are in the right place.
Summers is spreading balls around everywhere and in tandem with Diamond in goal directing play in front of him, Tynecastle are angling for another late surge.
Scott Wright ghosts inside and play is going from side to side before a cross from deep somehow sees right back Spalding in at the left hand post with a towering header that crashes off the post and out. Is it simply not going to be Tynie’s day!?
Approaching the final minutes and Murray and Porteous are dealing with ball after ball, sending headers clear, utilising overheads to get the ball out and away from goal and they must be wondering if they can hold out, everyone is thinking the same and yet, in a matter of seconds the one and only Tranent sub Cameron “Kami” Reynolds is set free by David Ross and is blistering towards the Tynecastle touchline. He shimmys to slow up, waiting for the chasing Andrew Munro to slow up too and then pokes the ball beyond him, Munro turns his shoulder into the play to try and get a toe to the ball but whether he does or doesn’t manage it only he will ever know, the primary effect though is to send Reynolds tumbling in the area over his foot and the referee, already up close in on 5 yds from the incident, takes a second to think and then confidently blows the whistle! Tranent have a penalty and the Tynecastle players are devastated! In the heated exchange afterwards it was unclear who said what and the referee will have to clarify who got discipline and how but what was clear is that two yellows were brandished and one red insued and it looked like the unfortunate Munro was heading for an early bath.
The ball was placed and Tranent’s Craig Wojtowycz was tasked with settling the tie. He stood resolute against the pressure and buried the ball home passed the despairing Diamond’s right hand. Two nothing to Tranent and only minutes left.
Scott Wright immediately set off ghosting into the Tranent area and winning a corner. Michael Porteous clears it and Tynie are visibly playing with their last reserves of otherwise drained energy.
But they are still applying themselves well and are still putting the pressure on the Tranent goal when Tranent’s Darren Veitch collects it further forward and plays the best ball of the game in the to the penalty winning Reynolds, curving it with the outside of his high left boot up and down over the defence into Reynold’s path. “Kami” lobs the keeper Diamond and it bounces narrowly wide. Tynecastle look down and out as Reynolds gets it through inside to Wojtowycz and this time the attempted chip finds the raised hands of the Tynie keeper who is pelting it forward immediately.
His enthusiasm is rewarded as Tynecastle win a corner and as it is curled in towards the near post the Tynie players are lined up to push the ball home. It gets off a couple of heads towards the centre of the goal and Ross Yeoman is there to pelt it home high into the middle of the net. A deserved consolation but scant recognition from the Tynecastle perspective of all the energy they applied in that second half, as well as throughout the game.
The timing of the penalty was cruel on Tynecastle right at the closing stages of the game however the plaudits have to go to Tranent for recognising the style that would win the day and for parrying every blow that Tynecastle attempted to strike. Tynecastle focused on their play throughout and only deviated for a couple of periods when it appeared factors were turning against them. A little more composure to press home at these times may well have seen them back in the game on level terms and may well have seen them fight for a victory. Tranent’s Wood up front in the first half made his team tick but in the second the centre backs Porteous and Murray were incessant in their defence of the goal.
Full Time: Tynecastle FC 1 – 2 Tranent Juniors