Hutchinson Vale and Leith Athletic kicked off Sunday’s South East Region Cup final day with an entertaining opening match, in a final which could only be described as a game of two halves. After surviving a first half onslaught from Leith in the first half, Vale struck thrice in the second half to seal victory over their Edinburgh opponents.
Athletic created the first of many chances after 15 minutes when a ball was played out wide to Brodie Watt, who cut inside and struck an effort which produced a solid save from Logan Robertson. He had to be alert again just a minute later when he had to stretch low to reach Connor Young’s deflected effort and tip it away for a corner.
Leith came even closer in the 22nd minute when they were awarded a free kick from 30 yards out. Leon McDonald couldn’t have done anymore as his ferocious long-distance effort thundered off the bar, and despite the rebound falling to the feet of Maksymilan Plutka, he failed to convert his effort on target from close range.
At that stage in the game Leith had bene well on top of their opponents, and they wouldn’t have believed their luck when the woodwork was struck again for a second time in the 34th minute, this time it was Young who came inches way from opening the scoring. After weaving his way past a series of defenders with some tricky footwork, his curled effort fired off the bar and out for a goal kick. It looked like only one side was going to score the opening goal.
Watt then tried his luck again just before the half-time whistle sounded, he controlled the ball near the byline, swivelled neatly and struck a low effort which skidded agonisingly wide of the Vale post. There were no doubts as to who had dominated the opening half, and it seemed a miracle that the score remained goalless.