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Edinburgh City Colts remain resolute throughout buffeting to reach final

Edinburgh City Colts 1

McLean 75

Longniddry Villa Colts 0

  • Sunday, 10 March 2019
  • Forrester High School
  • Under 15´s
  • Division 3 League Cup

Edinburgh City Colts weathered both a proverbial and literal storm to defeat Longniddry Villa Colts 1-0 and reach the final of the Division 3 League Cup on Sunday. Sean McLean’s goal five minutes from time settled a tight tie in which Longniddry were arguably the better team before falling to the league leaders.

The opening twenty minutes of this match were a write-off as an abject weather system drove freezing rain and sleet across the pitch. Bar a long range shot by Villa’s James Lithgow and City striker Ryan McElhinney being sharply closed down by keeper Steven Nisbet, the primary objective for the players during this time was to stay warm and not loathe seasonal football.

Eventually conditions improved, slightly, and the game could properly commence. Lithgow was fed a chance on an overlap but found his side-footed effort lacked sufficient power, while McElhinney too tried again: his deflected shot from the edge of the area wrong-footed everyone but fell wide left.

Yet it was four minutes before half-time when the serious opportunities arrived, and they did so in a flurry for Longniddry. The first saw Lithgow roll the ball a sliver wide after a long free kick drifted through the City defence and to his feet. Hearts may well have been in defenders’ mouths as the effort evaded the target in slow motion.

This was followed by Tommy Hughes being sent clear to face City keeper Saul Nelson one-on-one twice within a minute. The first was lost to a slightly heavy touch that enabled Nelson to close within centimetres, and the second required a good save. However Villa were outplaying the leaders, epitomised by how Ross Montgomery created the first Hughes chance by winning the ball in his own half, marching through midfield, and finding the pass behind the left back.

  • Half Time:
  • Edinburgh City Colts
  • 0-0
  • Longniddry Villa Colts

The early soaking and cold breeze meant the players passed half-time avoiding numbness to the best of their abilities: new shirts, locating gloves, and continuous movement were all required. This may have effected the start of the second period because it again took some time to establish itself, with a 52nd minute meaty shot by Lithgow straight into Nelson’s palms the first action.

Villa’s Aidan Gaffney repeated the thumping style shortly after, albeit this time from much further out, only to encounter the same result of finding Nelson’s hands. Montgomery then embarked on a vintage weave through the Edinburgh City midfield before being crowded out at the edge of the area.

When Lithgow then had a strong 20 yard shot excellently tipped wide right, the feeling was that Longniddry were getting closer to a goal and the final. However, teams don’t rise to the top of the league without sticking it out to the end, and approaching the final ten minutes Edinburgh City found advantages in their stamina and grit. Their own 20 yarder, from Cian Gulland, asked for an even better save by Nisbet.

Gulland then struck the outside of the left post shooting from a tight angle. It was a short reprieve: in the 75th minute a breakaway put McLean beyond the Longniddry left back. His cross reached his striker, but keeper Nisbet was able to save, only for the ball to head back across to McLean. Keeping his head over the ball the winger hit low and towards the right corner, and Nisbet could not dive to cover. It was late but the breakthrough had come, pushing City through with it.

  • Full Time:
  • Edinburgh City Colts
  • 1-0
  • Longniddry Villa Colts

Lineups

Edinburgh City Colts
Longniddry Villa Colts
1. Saul Nelson (c)
2. Cole McCabe
3. James Baigen
4. Paddy Burns
5. Scott Greenhill
6. Louis Russell
8. Robert Dryden
9. TJ Adebayo
10. Ryan McElhinney
11. Sean McLean
12. Derek McCue
13. Cian Gulland
14. Cem Bag
15. Evan Cocker
1. Steven Nisbet
2. Aidan Gaffney
3. Brandon McNamara
4. Adam Halliday
5. Caleb Currie
6. Michael Whiteoak (c)
7. James Lithgow
8. Ross Montgomery
9. Aidan Reid
10. Tommy Hughes
11. Sam Niven
12. Brook Law
14. Rhys Walton
15. Paul Corrigan
17. Andrew Morgan
22. Taylor Grigg
Star Player
Edinburgh City Colts
Longniddry Villa Colts
Sean McLean: Credit has to go to the City defence for keeping things compact and maintaining the clean sheet. TJ Adebayo also merits praise for some runs in the opening half. Yet the difference on the day came from right-winger McLean. He passed well, pushed his fullback backwards, and eventually won the game. His game was the acute point needed to pierce the stalemate.
Ross Montgomery: Although currently the shortest of his age group, Montgomery played above everyone else on the park in matters of technique, passing and footballing vision. One- and two-touch angled passes are his forte, but there were strong runs intermingled. An additional special mention should go to right back Brandon McNamara who shut down an entire wing and numerous potential Edinburgh City moves in a strong defensive display.
Magic Moment
Edinburgh City Colts
Longniddry Villa Colts
McLean’s goal was a moment in which City finally found space to run and incision in their play. The initial chance probably deserved to be a goal; however, that it came back to McLean to finish was apt. In a way it was a development that had been possible and quietly threatened by the one-on-one isolation outside throughout the second half, and credit goes to making it pay when the chance came.
While one second half Montgomery run embraced the spirit of Georgi Kinkladze, a more striding effort towards the end of the first half, after winning the ball inside his own half, was complete midfield play. Hughes’s run was well-timed and smart, and if one touch hadn’t gone too far it could well have been the opener.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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