Second met third in the U16’s 2nd Division, as Edinburgh United welcomed Cramond FC in what was to be an entertaining match at Patsies Road Recreation Ground. In the end Edinburgh ran out comfortable 4-0 winners, however the visitors cruelly lost their strike force due to injuries and with no substitutes available they were forced to play out the majority of the second half with nine men.
The opening 45 minutes were evenly contested, with both sides taking to the task with alacrity. Edinburgh United started the brighter, pressing Cramond high up the pitch and looking the more comfortable in possession.
Edinburgh were first to register a shot on target, Ryan O'donnell initiated a break from deep before finding the run of Dillion Anderson, however his effort was gathered comfortably by the visiting goalkeeper.
O'donnell then fancied a pop at goal himself, picking up a loose ball and letting fly from distance but his effort did not trouble Sam Phillip in the Cramond goal. O’donnell & co were impressive in midfield, showing some lovely touches as well as great energy.
Despite Edinburgh controlling the early stages of the game it was Cramond who had the first clear cut opportunity. Dylan Welsh made good progress down the right and curled the ball towards the head of Mark Mackay who met the cross firmly, but the resulting header flew wide of the target.
Mackays influence on the game was incremental during the first half, and the dynamic striker was next to threaten. After a determined and pacy dribble down the right flank, he squared the ball into a dangerous area however the ball evaded the on rushing attack allowing Edinburgh to clear.
Edinburgh threatened next and nearly took the lead as the aforementioned Mackay had been put through on goal for Cramond before being crowded out, Paul Phillip broke with the ball for Edinburgh, before realising a wonderfully well weighted pass for Dillion Anderson in the inside left channel, he skipped past the keeper but this act pushed him wide and the resulting square ball was cleared.
Edinburgh threatened again shortly afterwards, O’donnell showed some neat footwork by beating his man before showing great awareness to feed the ball through for Anderson, but Phillip in the Cramond goal was alert to snuff out the danger.
Edinburgh weren't to be denied for long however, as Anderson put the hosts ahead. After good work from Euan Watson, finding Anderson in the inside left channel the striker kept his composure to slot a cool finish past the onrushing keeper.
The goal seemed to galvanise Edinburgh as they went in search of a second. Anderson nearly doubled his advantage after catching a clean strike at the back post, however it was straight at Phillips. Edinburgh's Phillip was next to threaten his namesakes goal and nearly doubled the hosts advantage with a terrific effort which whistled past the post.
Cramond began to regain a foothold in the game and could have easily levelled proceedings. Jordan O'hagan had picked the ball up in the final third where he fed Mackay a neat pass who's resulting effort was blocked by the onrushing Watt, Ohagan was the recipient of the rebound smashing an effort goal wards which Watt miraculously managed to save with a determined right arm.
Watt had to be called upon again soon after, a free kick was whipped in by Callum Dixon, causing unrest in the home defence. Ohagan was quickest to react connecting with ball, but Watt was equal to it, diving to his right to tip out for a corner.
The tenacity and determination of the visiting strike force was providing the platform for Cramonds attacks, and it was Mackay who nearly levelled the game in spectacular fashion. After feeding the ball to Ryan Prunty on the edge of the area, Mackay received a well executed return before striking a clean effort with the outside of the right boot on the volley, unfortunately for Mackay and Cramond the effort clipped the outside of the right hand post.
Cramond continued to press with real energy, this was typified by Mackay who charged down the Edinburgh defence, winning the ball back on two occasions, before winning a crunching but fair 50-50 challenge. Unfortunately Mackay was injured in the process and was unable to return to the fray.
The game headed towards half time, and Cramond despite their numerical disadvantage had the best chance, there remaining striker Jack Hunter capitalised on hesitancy in the Edinburgh back line before producing a snap shot at goal, however Watt was equal to it.
The whistle blew on an entertaining and evenly contested first half, both teams could argue they deserved the lead, however Edinburgh perhaps just shaded it.