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Edinburgh City Blacks unbowed with victory over Leith Athletic

Edinburgh City Blacks 2

Clark 30, Mabon 65

Leith Athletic 1

King 13
  • Sunday, 09 September 2018
  • Forrester High School
  • Under 16´s
  • South East Region Division 1

The contest between Division 1’s last unbeaten teams concluded with Edinburgh City Blacks victorious, overcoming an early deficit to defeat Leith Athletic 2-1. Gavin Mabon’s second half goal, slotted home just after the hour, was the difference in a match of thin margins.

It was not a result that had looked overly likely in an opening twenty minutes in which Leith were on top. Three early strikes at goal - from Cameron Kerr, Rory Hunter, and Robbie King - produced just a single save from Blacks keeper Alistair Corbet, but Leith were not in the mood to be denied. In the 13th minute King lined up another shot, left-footed and from 20 yards, that found the top left corner.

With wide forwards Kerr and Sulaiman Ashraf supporting Hunter, and midfielders King and Cameron Stewart pushed up to block any out balls, Athletic had Blacks pinned back. However, a move in the 20th minute suggested Blacks were devising a solution. A stretch from Keiran Miller suddenly put the ball beyond the Leith press, with Jack Mathison free down the left. He in turn found Evan Gillespie in the box, but his effort rolled wide of the right hand post.

This was a catalyst for a more even affair. For Leith, King shot over and Kerr drove a ball across the six yard box; Mathison’s snap shot for Blacks was held by Athletic’s Jamie Smith. Then, in an instant, Blacks were level. Mathison did well on the left to get the ball in towards the six yard line, to where Max Clark had crept completely unnoticed. One touch, 1-1, and half-time approaching.

  • Half Time:
  • Edinburgh City Blacks
  • 1-1
  • Leith Athletic

Whereas Leith had gained control in the opening exchanges of the first half, the second almost started in grand fashion to Blacks as Gillespie ran through the left channel and struck the outside of the near post. A few minutes later confusion at a corner had a Leith thigh clearing the ball off the goal line. King offered response in another shot from distance, this time straight at the keeper, before a frantic exchange had Millar unable to volley home at one end and Ashraf cutting in on the break and hitting over.

Alas, fifteen minutes into the half all fizzle was extinguished by the arrival of a bout of driving, horizontal rain. Leith managed one smooth move during the deluge - Stewart, left to Kerr, right to Ashraf, but wide - only to find themselves behind as the rain eased to a simple but well-executed goal. Blacks’ James Farrell saw Mabon’s run for the same channel from which Gillespie had gone close; Mabon headed it beyond the last man before, facing Smith, steering the ball home.

Leith’s move to a back three was aimed at pushing for an equaliser. Blacks saw space at hitting on the counter through Gillespie, who proceeded to have a moment in which he combined the brilliant with ridiculous. His sharp turn sent Clark clear, who rounded Smith only to see the ball cleared off the line. The rebound bounced awkwardly for Gillespie who, with the goal begging, steered it back into the returning Smith’s arms. It was unfortunate for the striker, and almost costly as Kerr was soon seeing a shot saved at the other end.

That was to be Athletic’s last clear chance, and as the minutes ticked down Blacks twice nearly added a third: on the break, Millar’s cross from the left was just beyond two outstretched legs, and Millar himself glanced a header wide right from a corner in the final minute. It had been a hard day at the coal face, but they were heading home with the points.

  • Full Time:
  • Edinburgh City Blacks
  • 2-1
  • Leith Athletic

Lineups

Edinburgh City Blacks
Leith Athletic
1. Alistair Corbet
2. Ben Lovell
3. Evan Gillespie
4. Charlie Craig
5. Keiran Millar
6. Jonathan Steel
7. Cameron Millar
8. Sean Maxwell
9. Max Clark
10. Grant Herbert
11. Jack Mathison
14. Alex Lamb
17. James Farrell
18. Gavin Mabon
35. Liam Collins
1. Jamie Smith
3. Daniel Turner
4. Cameron Stewart
5. Ewan Howie
6. Ben Maginnis
7. Ethan Wynne
8. Ciaran Vaughan
9. Robbie King
10. John Ward
12. Strathy Mackay
14. Mark Gibson
15. Aidan McFarland
16. Rory Hunter
17. Sulaiman Ashraf
18. Cameron Kerr
21. Jack Leslie
Star Player
Edinburgh City Blacks
Leith Athletic
Kieran Millar: A superb performance which was vital in pivoting the game in Blacks’ favour. Calm touches helped create control when his team were under early pressure, and his performance in the second half was dominant.
Cameron Kerr: Kerr didn’t have any luck in front of goal, but Leith’s best chances generally involved him, especially attacking the right wing during the opening gambit. Put a lot of effort into trying to sway the game back into Athletic’s favour, often more centrally and on the left, but couldn’t find the way through.
Magic Moment
Edinburgh City Blacks
Leith Athletic
While Mabon’s goal was obviously sweet, the best move was the one on 20 minutes that got Blacks out of the lock Leith had put on the game. Millar springing Mathison on the left showed that finding angles around corners had the potential to have players running into space.
King’s goal was a great hit. Having tried one minutes earlier, only to find the keeper’s mitts, this effort was clean, precise, and - in hitting the net - obviously satisfying.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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