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Cramond fight back to earn a point against North Merchiston

North Merchiston 3

Towns x2, Marshall

Cramond 3

McDiarmid, Hildersley,Hannah
  • Sunday, 15 February 2015
  • Harrison Park
  • Under 15´s
  • SERYFA Division 2
Kyle Brown

Kyle Brown | YFS South East Region Journalist
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | [email protected]

Jon Hannah slammed home a volley to complete a sensational Crammond fight-back against North Merchiston in a top of the table clash. Despite falling 3-1 down at Harrison Park, two second half goals ensured that North Merchiston did not extend their lead at the top of the table to ten points.
Ben Martin fired Cramond in front and - despite having a great chance to go 2-0 up - Merchiston quickly fired in a trio of goals, thanks to an Andy Towns' brace - with one of them from the spot - and then a goal from Ben Marshall.
The away side were edging the possession stats in the opening exchanges, however Merchiston's Towns got the first shot and of the match away - his speculative drive failed to test Stuart Sutherland in the Cramond goal.
Cramond scored with their first venture forward: powerful forward Martin slipped his marker, and despite a cracking one on one save from Merchiston goalkeeper Struan Cant, Cramond skipper Brodie McDiarmid was on hand to stroke the rebound into an unguarded net.
With only ten minutes played, Cramond were almost two ahead when Martin lobbed Cant from distance, but luckily for the league leaders the ball bounced wide.
And Cramond were left to rue the opportunity to double their advantage as Merchiston grabbed a slick equaliser only moments afterward. Towns' reacted first to a driven corner to flick the ball home at the near post.
With momentum turned, turning to the home side, they were awarded with a penalty when Jack Pickup ran onto a great defence splitting through ball and was tripped in the area - the referee having no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Towns stepped up to cooly slot the ball into the middle of the net and give Merchiston the lead midway through the first half.
It went from bad to worse for Cramond as Merchiston's full-back Marshall ghosted unmarked into the area to slot home and give his a two goal cushion midway through the half.
In a game that had quickly became an entertaining end to end encounter, Cramond had a wonderful opportunity passed up to cut the Merchiston lead back down to one: Martin was becoming a real handful for the home side's defence and he managed to find Jon Hannah in the area but he could only side foot wide.
Up the other end, Towns went for a wonder strike to complete the hat trick - but his twenty five yard volley was a yard or so over the bar.
Merchiston's extra man advantage was gone near the end of the first half as a late arrival entered the field for Cramond, allowing them to complete an eleven person line up.
Almost immediately, they began to apply pressure much deeper into the Merchiston half - Hannah fired a volley wide at the end of a sweet penalty box move.
That being said, if it wasn't for Van Der Sar-esque footwork from goalkeeper Sutherland to sidestep a striker under pressure, Cramond may have fell further behind.
The away side kept the pressure up though and could have grabbed a goal back but, in credit to the Merchiston defence, they put their bodies on the line to block everything that came their way. A sweet effort from Martin managed to break through the brick wall Merchiston defence, but it was always rising and Cant wasn't troubled.
The first half ended with Cramond on top, but unable to break the side with the two goal advantage down. 
  • Half Time:
  • North Merchiston
  • 2-0
  • Cramond
After the break Cramond almost got a goal back within moments - Alfie Torbet's header from a corner was cleared off of the line.
The first clear chance of the half fell to Merchiston: an end to end move ended in Joaquin Miranda firing tamely wide. Ryan Tomasula also nearly extended Merchiston's lead but his effort from just inside the area fizzed wide.
However, first blood of the second period went to the away side: Ryan Hildersley was rewarded with a tap in after tirelessly chasing down a clearance. 3-2.
Within five minutes the ball fell to Martin in the area, but he was denied by a smart stop by Cant. That being said, Cant's next stop made the previous one look average in comparison: McDiarmid unleashed a fabulous effort from distance but the goalkeeper stunned everyone pitch side with a beautiful one handed save.
It was all in vein though - from the resulting corner Hannah was given too much time at the back post to volley home via the post.
A breathless match for the sides involved but you couldn't complain as a neutral. By this point, the top of the table flash had provided six goals with still more than twenty minutes to play.
Through Towns, Merchiston were the first side to register an attempt to get their noses in front, but the keeper kept his eye on the shot all the way and held well.
Torbet then almost found the top corner with a free kick, but his effort only just flew over the junction of the crossbar.
As the game wore on it seemed that Merchiston were spooked after the Cramond double but it would unwise to say they couldn't still win the game - Towns did well to win his side a late corner, albeit it came to nothing.
The game looked to be heading towards a stalemate, but Martin again managed to create space for himself on the edge of the Merchiston area and then sent a curling effort just over Cant's goal.
Deep into injury time Merchiston won a late corner and following a great knock down Thomas Steedman almost won it with a fabulous back heeled flick - but Cramond blew a sigh of relief as the ball sailed over the bar.
Full time came with a 3-3 draw and it meant that Merchiston remained seven points clear of today's opponents.
  • Full Time:
  • North Merchiston
  • 3-3
  • Cramond


North Merchiston
1. Struan Grant
2. Kyle Valentine
3. Jamie Holmes
5. Ryan Tillbrook
6. Thomas Steedman
9. Jack Pickup
10. Andrew Towns
11. Ryan Tomasulo
12. Ben Marshall
14. Ross Inglis
15. Kieran Cheshire
17. Hamish Hanna
18. Joaquin Miranda
1. Stuart Sutherland
2. Ryan Hildersley
3. Kesar Hassan
5. Charlie Cummings
6. Scott Russell
7. Lewis Crosbie
8. Gregor Ashworth
10. Brodie McDiarmid
11. Lucas Ferri
12. Cameron Stone
15. Jon Hannah
17. Jamie Jennings
18. Corran Henderson
19. Alfie Torbet
20. Matthew McKinley
21. Ben Martin
Star Player
North Merchiston
Andy Towns
The diminutive attacker had a good game for the Harrison Park side - bagging a double and getting numerous shots on goal, with most making the keeper work. A good day at the office for him.
Ben Martin
Whilst not on the scoresheet himself, the striker was a constant menace throughout. Combining an impressive range of pace and power with technical ability - he was always a viable out ball for Crammond to look to and he never let his side down.
Magic Moment
North Merchiston
Struan Grant's save from Brodie McDiarmid was world class.
Jon Hannah's equaliser marked a special moment for Crammond as it got them the equaliser they craved.
Club Views
North Merchiston
"It was a close game throughout - but to be honest that second goal should have been defended a lot better. However, we are still seven points clear at the top of the league so this result suits us better than it does them." - Kieren Cheshire
"Coming back from 3-1 down felt very good - although my goal was a wee bit lucky as I was just in the right place at the right time. I thought we were going to lose today because we had only ten men so I'm happy with the result." - Jon Hannah.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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