Days before “the real Edinburgh derby” between Boroughmuir and Firrhill, supporters on both sides had spent hours and hours on preparing flags and banners. After a bit of banter on the two teams’ respective Twitter pages that preceded the top of the table clash of Lothian Senior West Division, more than 400 fans flocked to Meggetland last Friday to support their teams and create an atmosphere hardly any football match at school level has ever seen. In a hard fought but fair match, scoring opportunities were rare and Jake McDonald scored the winner for the Firrhill side with his goal in the 26th minute.
At the beginning of the match, it was obvious that this amazing support had positive as well as negative effects on the players on the pitch. Being encouraged by the crowd’s cheers on the one hand, they fought for every single yard and tackled their opponents with passion. On the other hand, however, players on both sides seemed to be a bit nervous and were hectic in their actions. Especially in the first couple of minutes, the ball was given away too easily and both sides did not seem to have much of a plan how to outsmart the respective opponent’s defence.
It was Firrhill that, after 12 minutes, got a hold on the game first and created the first scoring opportunity. After a pass from midfield, Nick Mortimer found himself standing 14 yards away from the target from where he released a drive that could be parried by Andy Dunnett.
Three minutes later, Boroughmuir had their first big chance of the match, too, when Lewis Murray entered the box on the left wing and took a shot from a difficult angle that narrowly drifted the wrong side of the post.
In the 26th minute, the 227 supporters of Firrhill (according to their own figures) brimmed over with enthusiasm when McDonald scored the opening goal which also proved to be the winner in the end. Standing 12 yards away from goal, Firrhill’s number 7 received the ball from the right wing but found himself marked by two defenders who blocked the target. However, he was able to sidestep both of them with a quick step to the left and slammed home with a very accurate shot into the bottom right corner of the net.
It took a while until Boroughmuir had recovered from this shock but two minutes before half time, Matthew Gray could have scored the equaliser for his side. Being marked and standing at the 18 yard line with his back towards the goal, he received a pass from midfield and outsmarted his opponent by letting the ball run between his own legs. However, Firrhill’s goalkeeper Cammy Tulloch was alert enough to throw himself into the ball before Gray could take a shot from short range.