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The game started with Tynecastle on the front foot and it only took them five minutes to take the lead. The ball bounced off the centre back and into the path of Bradley Sinclair, who took a touch and shot high into the roof of the net.
The game turned into a scrappy affair with neither team looking like asserting dominance. It was no surprise to see Tynecastle threaten from set pieces with the physicality of the team; Daniel Matthews and Robbie Renwick both going close with headers.
Leith Athletic started to grow into the game, with James Burt pulling the strings in midfield and creating half-chances. Calum Smart saw a shot well saved by Kieran Green in goals, and from the resulting corner Andrew Taylor glanced a header wide as Leith turned up the pressure, looking for an equaliser.
At the other end, Sonny Swanson tried a “David Beckham” and his looped shot from 40 yards out had the goalkeeper scrambling, who was relieved to see the ball go inches over the bar. Swanson was a menace down the right wing and his deliveries could have seen his side go into the break more than a single goal up on another day.
Half Time: Leith Athletic 0-1 Tynecastle FC
In this tight semi-final, you could understand the nerves the players were feeling, and maybe Tynecastle would feel tempted to hold onto their 1-0 lead rather than committing forward.
However, it was the team in maroon again who looked more adventurous, and Sinclair was sent through on goal but Jordan Pettigrew denied the striker his second goal of the afternoon.
Tynecastle’s early second half pressure was rewarded soon after, however. Sinclair was brought down and Daniel Headspeath whipped in a free kick which the Leith defenders failed to deal with. Matthews at the far post knocked the ball back to Sean Waterson who reacted the quickest to fire a low shot under the goalkeeper.
An uneventful fifteen minutes followed as Tynecastle looked content with the two goal cushion.
The lead was halved though, as Euan McGachie, who had worked hard all day as a lone striker, found space on the left side of the box to cross, and Roan Turkington made no mistake as he found the top corner.
The Leith supporters were still celebrating when they found themselves level. Calum Smart latched onto a through ball and saw his shot hit the inside of both posts before finally nestling in the net.
One may have thought this would be a setback to Tynecastle for the remainder of the match, but it was anything but. Renwick was immense in the middle of the park and won every challenge as they searched to regain the lead. The midfielder drove through and played in Sinclair, who drilled a shot into the goal to score his second.
Leith had scored two goals in as many minutes, and it was now Tynecastle’s turn. Renwick was brought down but the referee allowed Waterson to continue the attack. The number 9 squared the ball to Sinclair, who gratefully received and rolled the ball into the net for his hat-trick.
The two-goal advantage looked unassailable with Tynecastle in this form. Renwick cut inside and hit a shot which cracked off the post to deny him what would have been a deserved goal. Ewan Stark saw his header cleared off the line in Leith’s final chance, before Tynecastle confirmed their place in the South East Region Cup Final as Sinclair tucked away his fourth and his team’s fifth goal.
The game was everything we expected from these two Division 1 teams, but it was Tynecastle whose sharpness in front of goal sends them through to the final.
Full Time: Leith Athletic FC 2-5 Tynecastle FC
Finally, everyone connected with Tynecastle FC would like to wish club secretary Stevie Park all the best in his recovery after his operation. The team are looking forward to working with him again and have certainly done him proud with this display.