View Photo Gallery | Discuss the Match | Create a Souvenir Newsprint
It was wild and windy at the Links, but it was dry and so three games went ahead on different pitches in this huge park. Tam Currie, an amazing supporter of kids football with Leith Athletic, was out early on his small tractor, rolling the pitches and generally making them look like football pitches. But with such a strong wind, it was not a good day for football.
Leith 15s led 2-0 at the break and that scoreline was a triumph for the Musselburgh defenders Jack Archibald, Kacper Korpalski, Sean Blake and Rob Arthur. Along with brave goalkeeper Kieron Ross, they refused to buckle under constant presssure from the Leith attack, led by Euan McGachie. But it was nearly all Leith in the first half, broken by good attacking moves set up by Musselburgh’s No 9, Calum Smart. However, the striker was up against a very strong player in Jamie Chapman. The strong wind did not help either side and often good passing moves from the Leith team went astray when the wind got hold of the ball.
However, there was so much to enjoy and Ross was outstanding in the Musselburgh goal, with his fab four defenders in front of him. When McGachie opened Leith’s account in the 3rd minute, I must admit I feared the worst for the Colts. But the visiting defence closed ranks and kept the home side at bay, helped by a lot of good luck in to the bargain. Leith No 11, Andrew Taylor, was involved in a lot of the raids on Ross’s goal, while Musselburgh No 6, Stephen Dick, was a real star for the visiting side when they broke out of their own half. Stephen is a very determined young footballer with an excellent left foot and he set up a few good raids on the Leith goal on the left of the big pitch. Sadly for Musselburgh, they just could not break down an excellent Leith rearguard. Free kicks for Leith, from any area of the pitch, were thumped in to the danger area in front of the overworked Kieron Ross. Smart got on the end of one of the free-kicks, but the Leith No 9 sent his shot wide of the goal. Dick, again, led by example on the left for Musselburgh, but that was cleared again by the take-no-prisoners Leith defence. Another free kick from Andrew Taylor found Ewan Stark at the other end, but the Leith No 10 sent the ball wide of the target again. The Musselburgh parents, no doubt, breathed a sigh of relief!
Ross was in constant action blocking shots at the Musselburgh goal, saving and picking high shots out of the air. And it was still only 1-0 for Leith. How could that be with so many chances created? Well, all credit to the brave, committed Musselburgh side. They did indeed ‘work their socks off’ in keeping the score down to 1-0. I think if that had been the scoreline at the half-way stage, then the visiting side would have fancied their chances playing with wind advantage in the second half. But, sadly for the visiting side, Leith did get the second goal their play deserved when Taylor set up McGachie to send a low shot wide of the diving Ross to make it 2-0 for the home combine. And that was the way it was at half-time, with referee Tam Carter using the break in play to regain his breath!
Half Time: Leith Athletic 2-0 Musselburgh Windsor United
The second half started at breakneck pace, with Dick and his Musselburgh team-mates firing on all cylinders as they went all out to score a goal that would, possibly, have got them back in to the game. But not against such a good defence as Leith had on this day. The home side sat back and took everything Musselburgh threw at them and gradually settled into the passing game they are accustomed to playing. Leith No 7, Lee Thomson, had a terrific second half - on the left wing I have to say - with other great moves up the right - and Musselburgh were really up against it. It was not all Leith though as the visiting side went at it ‘hammer and tongs’ as they say. Dylan Henry, was superb on the right for the Colts and his jousts with Leith left-sided defender, Rory Pilbean, were one of the highlights of the tie. And so, Musselburgh - and Tam Carter - huffed and puffed for all they were worth, but they did not get the better of the home defence. At the other end, the danger signs were there for all to see. Musselburgh’s Robbie Conway sent a great shot wide of the Leith goal, but that was one of the few times the home side looked in any danger of losing a goal.
As the pressure mounted on the away defence, Leith somehow managed to spurn glorious chances to score with the ball sent wide twice of the Musselburgh goal in 1-to-1 confrontations with Kieron Ross. Other shots rebounded back in to play off the posts and crossbar. Leith were given a penalty when McGachie was send tumbling in the box and Smart sent the spot kick in to the Musselburgh net off the inside of the left-hand post. That made it 3-0 for the home side and to complete a good display by the home side Roan Turkington rammed home a great left-foot shot before the final whistle to confirm Leith were 4-0 winners.
Near the end, my great friend, Gail Swanson, appeared by my side. The grannie from Craigleith is a devoted fan of football, often watching games at Spartans Community Football Academy, from the old railway line at the south end of the superb facility. Gail waits until half-time at games there as she does not like paying to get in. At half-time, the gates are opened and that suits Gail. Her son, Sonny, plays for Tynecastle under-15s and the boys in maroon are due to play Leith in the semi-final of the SERYFA Cup at Meggetland on Sunday, Februay 10. Gail has promised me a sausage roll if I cover the game and how, indeed, could any red-blooded male refuse such an offer? I ask you, a sausage roll at last for me from this party-going grannie from Craigleith. I wonder if there will be a short ceremony to mark the handover of the sausage roll. Maybe even covered by Sky TV?
Full Time: Leith Athletic 4-0 Musselburgh Windsor United
To finish this report, I offer my sincere thanks to the officials and players from both clubs for a great day out at the Links. It was my first game for a while, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Great follow up to the fabulous boxing tournament at the Jewel Miners Club on Friday night, as part of the Brett Lodge Memorial Fund organised by Sandy’s Boxing Club in Craigmillar.