With the clocks having now gone forward and the business end of the season fast approaching, Tynecastle FC and Cavalry Park FC went head to head at New Dundas Park, Bonnyrigg in a memorable final of the Tom Wilson Memorial Cup to kick things off with the seasons first trophy up for grabs.
In testing conditions with a wet and heavy surface underfoot, Tynecastle started the game with some early pressure on the Cavalry Park goal. After just three minutes, the towering Ivan Alapiki took the ball under control well and after holding off his man put a nice cross in to the danger area which Aaron Smith was only able to partially clear. Steven Shores latched on to the loose ball but his low right footed effort was blocked and diverted behind for a Tynecastle corner.
A few moments later and the ball was again clipped in to Alapiki once more which he brought down expertly with the outside of his foot, holding off two defenders on this occasion, before smashing an effort off the Cavalry Park crossbar despite the angle being against him. With only seven minutes on the clock it was clear that Cavalry Park had to stifle the supply to the powerful front man.
Tynecastle continued to probe forwards with William Scott beginning to impose himself more and more on the game. The strong Tynecastle number nine protected the ball brilliantly under pressure before passing it on to Alapiki who laid off Shore to hit once more. Although his second effort was not blocked, the effort was a comfortable save for Ryan Kidd in the Cavalry goal who gathered it well despite a little zip off the surface.
Cavalry Park then turned the flashes of good football they had shown in the opening 15 minutes in to the best move of the match so far. Harris Mackintosh and Tom Davies exchanged a wonderful one-two on the left hand side of the Tynecastle box which sent Mackintosh racing towards the byline. His low driven cross was on a plate to be tapped in however a Tynecastle shirt was first to it and the ball was hammered clear.
Not to be outdone down the other end, Tynecastle created a lovely move of their own. Alapiki chested the ball down to Scott around 25 yards from goal, the Tynecastle playmaker then shifted the ball on to his left foot and hit a superb curling effort towards the top corner which Kidd was equal to and held well.
The ever lively Robbie Cole began to influence the game for Cavalry Park and his corner in the 25th minute caused panic in the Tynecastle six yard box when goalkeeper Aaron Heap failed to hold his cross. The ball fell to the feet of Robbie Walker but Tynecastle keeper Heap was quick to atone for his error and made himself as big as possible to block what was a certain goal before the ball was hacked clear by Shores.
Cavalry Park continued to put Tynecastle on the back foot and began to enjoy a good spell of their own with the pace and trickery of Cole and Davies in particular causing the side in Maroon problems each time the two linked up.
Tynecastle began to fight back and create chances of their own as we approached the last 10 minutes of an evenly matched first half. Scott again picked the ball up wide right for the men in Maroon and drifted infield before teeing up team mate Kieran Moyles who's driven effort was again well saved by Kidd in the Cavalry goal.
Mackintosh picked the ball up in a central position for Cavalry and sprayed a brilliant ball out wide to Robbie Walker on the right. He held the ball in awaiting support before checking on to his left and swinging in a great ball that caught out all of the Tynecastle defence, however luckily for them it was just beyond the reach of Davies who's outstretched touch could only drop kindly at the feet of Heap for him to collect with ease.
With Mackintosh becoming more dangerous with each passing minute, the Cavalry Park midfielder lays inside for Cole to test Heap however his low drive was right down the throat of the Tynie Keeper.
With the first half just about to draw to a close there was time for one last attack and Cavalry Park made it count. A long freekick from Makintosh was hoisted high in to the Tynecastle box which they failed to deal with. The ball fell kindly at the feet of Davies who needed no invitation to hammer the ball home hard and low beyond the helpless Heap in the Tynecastle goal.