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Newcraighall progress to Stewart Brien Cup Final

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Newcraighall Leith Victoria
Hutchison Vale
U13's Stewart Brien Cup - Semi-Final
18 March 2014
This was the first time the two teams had met since very early in the season when both had put on a great show in a hard fought draw.
Today's conditions were a bit blustery and the underfoot conditions tricky in parts and as with any semi final the occasion can lead to nervy occasion for either side. 
Newcraighall kicked off with the wind at their backs and immediately pressed on to the attack. A couple of early corners brought nothing for the home side who looked busy with wind advantage. The bumpy pitch and wind caused a couple of scares on the Vale defence but equally made life difficult for the home side's forward to get on the ball as it gained momentum and ran out of play. The midfield became a bit congested and both teams created little openings of any note. 
It still was proving a tight contest as both side battled each other to gain supremacy and get the all important first goal and perhaps settle the nerves of players, coaches & spectators alike.
That first goal came for Newcraighall when they were awarded a free kick some 25 yards from goal in central position. John Robertson who had scored a spectacular free kick in the first meeting stepped up to take the kick. His shot was well hit but it took a fortuitous deflection of a vale player and took it that little bit further away from a full length dive by Vales goalkeeper, Ciaran Cairns to nestle low in the corner of the net.
That gave the Newcraighall lads the impetus to lay seige on the Hutchison Vale goals and despite an spell of corners the Vale defence stood resolute to the dangers to stay in the game. 
Neither goalie had really been called in to serious action and defences looked resolute to any attacks. In breaking down a  Vale attack centre back Arran Bathgate drove forward out of defence but couldn't retain the ball, which allowed Hutchie to counter attack with a long ball down the touchline to Callum Anderson to gain possesion and although there appeared little danger he crossed the ball high into the Newcraighall box and just as Robertson had been fortuitous the ball held up and floated high into the back post and ended up in keeper, Adam Taylor's net. Game on!
However the lead didn't last long as Newcraighall hit back within minutes to score an absolutely sensation goal to restore their lead. Yrick Galantes gathered the ball 30 yards from goal on the left side of midfield after a precision pass from Bathgate. The ball seemed to stick in between his feet before he dropped his shoulder and made for the corner flag at high speed, just as it loked as though the ball was about to run out of play he delivered a ferocious cross that looked as it was going into the goal underneath the bar  but was met perfectly by incoming forward Jordan Daly who although a foot of the line bulleted his header into the net. A truly outstanding goal fit to win any game!
Hutchison Vale responded well from this set back and forced Newcraighall on the back foot and only some desperate defending preventing them from gaining an equaliser! Just before half time Hutchison Vale had appeals for a penalty when Adam Taylor misjudged the flight of the ball and as he lunged backwards to try and retreive the ball made somewhat clumsy looking contact with a forward. Mr MacKenzie was close enough at hand and ruled out their appeals. 
Half Time: Newcraighall LV 2-1 Hutchison Vale
The second half started with Vale on the ascendancy and they forced a couple of early coners to put pressure on the home defence. The game once again got bogged down in the midfield and as in the first half the ball ran away from the forwards into substitute Tyler McGee's hands. 
Newcraighall were now doing the most of the defending and looked a bit nervous with some clearances as the game progressed. The Vale managed a few more corner which they wasted by crossing into the side netting more than often than not! When they did deliver a dangerous corner it was well defended by Mark Tenant in particular aided by Bathgate and MacKay.
With 10 minutes remaining Newcraighall had an opportunity to put the game out of reach when they were awarded a penalty when Jordan Daly got tripped in the box. He picked himself up and took the penalty. Cairns dived to his left but Daly didn't hit the ball with any force and Cairns managed to deflect the ball with his foot. Showing tremendous agility the keeper picked himself up a dived back across the goal to lunge on the ball before Daly could force the rebound over the line!
This resulted in a nervy finish for the Newcraighall team but they held out to progress into the final and inflict the first defeat of the season on Hutchison Vale.
The game was evenly contested and played in the right spirit and was well officiated by Mr Willie MacKenzie.
Full Time: Newcraighall LV 2-1 Hutchison Vale
Newcraighall: Taylor, Sharkey, MacKay, Bathgate, Henderson, Connor, Flucker, Tenant, Gallantes, Daly, Robertson, Smith, Ward, McGinty, MacKinnon, McGee
Hutchison Vale: Cairns, Hill, Paterson, Young, Anderson, McMahon, Campbell, McCann, Malcolm, Blair, Lock, McFadden, Peat, Latto, Rea.
Referee: Willie MacKenzie
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