Ainslie Park, home to Lowland League side Spartans, played host to this U16 Lothian Schools Cup Final and in an end to end affair it was Preston Lodge HS who prevailed on spot kicks to lift the silverware.
Both sides seemed confident before kick-off; however, it was Preston Lodge who began brightest. After some good build-up play, Preston’s Jack Main was allowed time to slip in Nathan Muir, but his shot was straight at Watson’s keeper Euan Burgess.
After this early opportunity for Preston Lodge, George Watson’s began to grow into the game and, only a few minutes later, they had their first opportunity. Jamie Richmond was given space on the edge of the box and he managed to find Rory Stephen, who found space and stung the palms of Connor Currie in the Preston goal.
George Watson’s continued to press and on the 12-minute mark, they opened the scoring. Jack Carr found himself on the wide left and his first effort was blocked but when the rebound fell back to him, he made no mistake in curling the ball over the keeper and into the top corner. A wonderful goal to put Watson’s in front.
Despite taking the lead, Watson’s began to sit deeper and allow Preston Lodge back into the game. In the next 15 minutes Preston had a flurry of good chances but, ultimately, could not take advantage.
Firstly, some good build-up play in midfield resulted in Lewis Fitzpatrick being played through on goal but his low effort was well saved by Euan Burgess. Preston continued their good spell and won a free kick in the middle of the park. Watson’s couldn’t clear the initial cross and when the ball was collected by Finn Higgins he crossed back into the box but Ben Tracey could only stab the ball into the goalkeeper’s arms.
George Watson’s had another opportunity before the break, however, and they so nearly doubled their lead. Rory Stephen created space excellently, beating three men, before unleashing a powerful effort which was expertly turned around the post by Connor Currie.
Watson’s managed to see out the remainder of the first period to go in at the break one goal in front.