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Unbeaten North Merchiston welcomed Division One rivals Hutchison Vale to the Meggetland 3G as they strived to continue their superb start to the 2012/13 season. With both sides more than capable of mounting a serious title challenge all was to play for in this Under 17s Division One clash.
Both teams started the game sharply with North Merchiston picking up a great chance seconds in to the game. Callum Baptie picked out Nathan Evans with a chipped through ball but Hutchie keeper Daniel Kerr cleaned up with ease.
As the teams settled in to the match Hutchie took control with their fast, free flowing football. Merchie on the other hand were trying to use their height and strength as they played with a more direct approach.
Hutchie’s great passing ability won them the opening goal of the match as playmaker Brandon Cameron found winger Farley with an outstanding long pass, who then cut the ball back to tricky striker Stevens for a simple finish.
As the first half went on North Merchiston decided to ditch their long ball approach, deciding to play a more technical, passing game. This seemed to suit the home side more as they started to beat Hutchie at their own game.
It was only minutes after adopting this fresh approach that Merchie grabbed an equaliser. In an almost exact replica of their first chance, Joe Turner –Law managed to beat his man and chip the ball over to poaching striker Evans whose superb strike left the Hutchie keeper with no chance.
This provided North Merchie with a massive confidence boost as we moved in to the latter stages of the first half. In one of the final plays before the whistle, Merchiston took the lead through an unbelievable effort Sam Tulloch. The Merchie number 12 took control of the ball in in the corner of the box before curling it round the goalie in to the top corner.
Half Time: North Merchiston 2-1 Hutchison Vale
Hutchie started the second half strongly as they chased an equaliser. North Merchiston seemed relatively happy with their one goal lead, inviting pressure then looking to catch their rivals out on the break with their quick wingers and strikers.
Darren Mitchell was sternly tested in the Merchie goals throughout the second half, facing a barrage of shots. Fullback Ross Anderson nearly hit the net with an ambitious effort from long range, and his teammate Dylan Moore tried to emulate Sam Tulloch’s earlier strike with a powerful effort just wide of the post.
The Hutchie players started to run out of ideas, and North Merchie started to cause more problems on the counter attack, with the striker managing to get himself two 1 on 1 chances, both of which were coolly dealt with by Daniel Kerr.
As both sides started to tire the football became sloppy and less attractive. Hutchie were throwing bodies forward desperately seeking a goal to rescue a point out of the match which lead to several goal mouth scrambles in the last 15 minutes of the match.
Despite the level of uncertainty in the Merchie defence around their box they managed hold strong and keep the ball out of their net, ending the game 2-1 winners to keep their impressive winning streak going.
Full Time: North Merchiston 2-1 Hutchison Vale