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Reds find their goal to defeat Earlston

Edinburgh City Reds 1

Howie 81

Earlston Rhymers 0

Edinburgh City Reds broke Earlston Rhymers resistance with nine minutes to play in their Division 2 League Cup contest. The hosts' 1-0 victory, in a match they controlled but struggled to find shots, was deserved but not easy on a cold Edinburgh day.

The game began with a curious misunderstanding in the fourth minute. Ryan Ironside’s deflected right wing cross looped over Rhymers keeper Finlay Dodds, struck the back post, bounced perilously close to in and ended back within Dodds’ hands. Amidst claims the ball had crossed the line, it appeared a goal had been given and Reds began to celebrate. Yet something was amiss. The signal, the referee stated, had been play on. It was a big call, under pressure, but the correct decision.

After that mini-drama, the game hit a steady rhythm of Reds in possession and Rhymers looking out of sorts. Finlay Purdie was the pick of midfield, but efforts at goal were scarce and seldom on target. When Purdie had to be removed for a worrying issue after 25 minutes - he was treated on the sideline beneath coats for substantial time, but eventually left the ground on his own feet - the spark and impetus became subdued.

Reds continued to manage the game, and one free kick drew a good save by Dodds, but by half time only two of the half dozen shots had been worthy of saves, and none had been by Earlston. Unsurprisingly, the game was goalless.

The second half had more vigour. Reds started strongly, with a shot by Ironside, header from Aaron Burns, and then Ironside again all looking promising. Equally importantly, Rhymers had shaken off their malaise, and in the 55th minute Robbie Paulin had their first true effort. A minute later, they could have been leading: Cuilen Sampson volleyed Jack Bell’s long cross across goal and inches wide.

Yet, as the game matured, so emerged its greatest influence: Sam Lewis. On the hour mark it was he who hit the pass of the game, dropping a deep ball behind the left back and onto the foot of Liam Docherty. Docherty, taking himself a little wide, aimed across the keeper but Dodds dived well.

Three minutes later, a kick by Reds keeper was taken down unchallenged by Nathan Thompson. He, in turn, played the ball right to Ironside, whose shot for the top corner was not far off. This was swiftly followed by captain Jason Howie causing a scramble with a header from a corner, and Lewis teeing up Thomas Jamieson for a try from the edge of the box. Dodds was getting busier.

After another Reds effort, this time from Matthew McDonald, went just wide, Rhymers responded with a shot of electricity. Awarded a free kick 20 yards from goal in the 75th minute, Lewis Anderson hit for the bottom right corner. Keeper Daniel Kleinjman touched the ball onto the post, then had to swiftly stand up to get his chest in the way of Paulin’s rebound. It was superb goalkeeping.

It was goalkeeping that his teammates rewarded with a big final push, led by the calm skills of Lewis. He himself should have scored when put one-on-one by Thomson’s cute ball, but rolled past the right post. However, in the 81st minute he made amends. Wrong-footing his defender on the left side of the box, he headed towards the by-line and then fired across. This was too hot for Dodds to claim, and amongst those reaching for the rebound was Howie. Reds had their goal, and the win.

Lineups

Edinburgh City Reds
Earlston Rhymers
1. Daniel Kleinjman
2. Callum Watt
3. Aaron Burns
4. Matthew McDonald
5. Thomas Jamieson
8. Jason Howie (c)
9. Nathan Thomson
10. Sam Lewis
11. Ryan Ironside
12. Finlay Purdie
14. Dylan Grant
15. Liam Brown
16. Liam Docherty
17. Jack Stewart
19. Blair Houston
1. Finlay Dodds (c)
2. Graeme Clark
3. Robbie Paulin
4. Bram Miles
5. Adam Davison
6. Cuilen Sampson
7. Fraser Falconer
8. Lewis Anderson
9. Alisdair Buchanan
10. Archie Mowat
11. Alex Ainslie
12. James Dickson
14. Kerr Dalgleish
15. Mackenzie Dodds
16. Jack Bell
17. Kieran Baxter
Star Player
Edinburgh City Reds
Earlston Rhymers
Sam Lewis: The game’s outstanding player, Lewis continuously created a yard of space through neat misdirection, changes of feet, and knowing where to turn. Subtle rather than flashy, and working to be constructive with colleagues rather than idolised, he showed it was not necessary to even touch the ball to create new options - a motion of the hips, or foot, or head can move opponents, followed by a simple pass. His play was greatly pleasing to watch.
Graeme Clark: Rhymers were not at their best in the first half, yet reached the interval on level terms. This was mostly thanks to a back line in which right back Clark was the star performer. Defenders don’t need to heroes, but rather cover their man, make their challenges, and play to their teammates. Most vitally, they have to do it again and again, often in the same passage of play. Clark did all of these, a consistent pillar on his side, ensuring it was completely shut down.
Magic Moment
Edinburgh City Reds
Earlston Rhymers
While the pass Sam Lewis played to Liam Docherty was the most aesthetic moment of the game, the key instant was arguably Kleinjman’s double save from Lewis Anderson’s free kick and Robbie Paulin’s follow-up. To have fallen behind after controlling the majority of the game would have been deflating for Reds. Instead, they saw Kleinjman - particularly in blocking the rebound - do something exceptional.
It may be odd, but Rhymer’s best moment of the game was the same as that of Reds: Anderson’s free kick. Having been forced to work rather than play for much of the game, Rhymer had been granted limited attacking chances. However, that one shot could have swung the entire contest their way. Anderson’s effort was true, and he was unfortunate not to find the net.

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