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"With ten minutes remaining, you would've been forgiven for thinking it might not be Edinburgh City’s day at Ainslie Park in the first cup final of the season. However, a late brace saw the Whites lift the trophy as they overcame Salvesen CFC 2-1," writes LUKE WALKER.

As the match began, City set out with a 4-4-2 formation, opting with the striking duo of Arin Tuncay and Keigan Young up top. Salvesen started in a 4-5-1, deciding to utilise the strength of their lone striker Ronan Williams. 

The game started end to end, with both sides looking to edge out their opponents early. Tuncay fired a free kick just wide and then Salvesen’s Williams’ rode several challenges before putting the attempt wide of the target. 

There were several fouls given away but neither side made the most of their set pieces. City couldn’t quite make their possession and extra man up front count, whilst Salvesen were able to stay resolute in defence despite City piling on pressure.

Salvesen’s direct approach from goal kicks helped to allow their Williams’ to ask questions of the City defence, and it was through chasing long balls, and putting pressure on centre-backs that led to the opening goal of the cup final on the half-hour mark. 

William’s pressure on the City backline led to a mix up between goalkeeper and defender and the striker seized the ball and smashed it past Salvesen keeper Moffat, who couldn’t recover.

Following the goal, Salvesen continued to cause defensive issues in the City backline, who seemed to become more and more susceptible to counter as the first-half progressed. 

A promising counter led to another big chance that came from another error between keeper and defender. The ball was spilled by the keeper and the chance fell to Salvesen midfielder Ross Elder, but he couldn’t double the lead as Moffat recovered to make a fine stop. 

Following the goal, Salvesen pushed players forward with Jordan Toni moving further forward to support scorer, Williams.

Before the interval, City were unlucky not to equalise after a clever free-kick routine involving Gab Peter, Graeme Dailey and Tuncay, with the latter’s shot flying just wide of the Salvesen goal. 

The link up play between the two City strikers caused a few late first-half scares. Firstly, Young had a scuffed effort cleared off the line by Salvesen defender Dylan Callander, after Tuncay supplied the pass. Shortly after, the roles reversed with Young showing quick feet to dribble past several defenders before finding Tuncay who fired his shot wide.

"Goals from Ryan Hill and Blair Ross were enough to earn Haddington an easy victory in a wet and windy match against Currie Star", writes NOAH MEHMETI.

The first half began with Haddington in control and their good play almost resulted in the first goal of the game. Adem Dursun was played through after a piercing Blair Ross through ball, but the winger did not strike the ball cleanly and the keeper was able to collect comfortably.

Shortly after, Haddington centre-back Reece Rudyj saw his 25-yard free-kick come inches away from the back of the net as it struck the crossbar, much to the keeper’s relief.

The following minutes saw a host of half-chances fall Haddington’s way, with a couple of tame shots from the edge of the box being saved comfortably by the Star stopper.

Currie’s first chance came in the 15th minute when a free-kick from their own half bounced around the opposition box, but the Haddington defence managed to clear the ball away easily.

Following the clearance, Haddington striker Ryan Hill was through on goal but an excellent bit of defending from Currie centre-back Mohammed Kuri stopped Hill from scoring what seemed to be a golden opportunity.

One of Currie’s few chances, in what turned out to be a frustrating match for them, was a free kick from just outside the box. The free kick was smashed disappointedly into the wall which set Haddington on the break.

The danger seemed to have disappeared when Kuri won the ball back for Currie with a solid tackle but he played a weak back-pass to the keeper that Hill pounced on and led to the first goal. The number 9 shot straight at the goal but the keeper failed to get a strong hand on it and the ball crept in, giving Haddington a 1-0 lead in the 29th minute.

The remaining minutes of the first half saw only one more chance, which fell to the goal scorer Hill, however Kuri made up for his prior mistake and won the ball back with a strong tackle.

The sense of new season optimism was palpable at New Victoria Park on Friday night, as Musselburgh Athletic overcame Newtongrange Star to register their first three points of the season. Star looked as though they had nicked a draw, but with just five minutes to spare, it was Khasim Mdalasini who was the hero as Musselburgh kicked off their season with a big win on the road. 

It was a dream start for Musselburgh as their early pressing lead to a mix up in the Newtongrange defence. Lewis Latimer was alert enough to pounce on the mistake and slot the ball cooly past Cammy Duncan in the Star goal to give his team the lead after just two minutes. 

Newtongrange soon found themselves level thanks to Lee McGill's well placed shot from the centre of the box. Centre-half Mark Tennant played a smart long ball over the top, which was collected by Josh Davidson out on the left wing. The big striker drove to the byline and squared it to his partner McGill, who made no mistake in grabbing his side's first goal of the season. 

Musselburgh looked to get more of a foothold in the game and began knocking the ball about with greater urgency. Their superior possession paid dividends as some slick build play led to Duncan getting down well, but Ciaran Young was there to pick up the scraps and restore the visitor's lead. 

Tricky winger Cameron Laidlaw had been terrorising the Newtongrange backline in the opening stages of the game, but proved he had the composure to match as he extended Musselburgh's advantage. Daniel Nichol floated out to the left and played in a beautiful deep cross to the back post, with Laidlaw plucking the ball out the air before smashing the ball beyond Duncan. 

Despite playing in the heart of defence, Tennant once again proved instrumental as Star pulled a goal back with just over half an hour on the clock. The big centre half burst out of defence and carried the ball through the middle of the park. He then showed his technical ability in slipping it through to Davidson, whose shot snuck under Fraser Machray to put Newtongrange right back in the game.

 

 

An early Kelty Hearts opener wasn’t enough to prevent a well disciplined Glenrothes Strollers from lifting the Fife Cup. Expert finishes from Jack Mitchell and Craig Fleming sealed the trophy for the Strollers.

A blistery day at Treaton park was ready to welcome a frantic ninety minutes between the two sides who were very familiar with each other during their domestic seasons. Glenrothes were certainly the side that looked the most interested at the opening stages of the game. The first chance of the game was created by powerful full back Dylan Blyth who bombed down the left wing and delivered a mean cross that just missed the boot of Cameron Lewis from deep inside the box in the sixth minute of the match.

Glenrothes continued their early dominance through a flurry of corners which saw Thomas Gledinning have his header cleared off the line, which was quickly followed by Blyth having a close-range strike denied expertly by Kelty Heart’s goalkeeper Lewis Sinclair in the eigth minute.

After surviving the early flurry of chances, Kelty started moving up the pitch and creating chances for themselves. This was quickly rewarded by the opening goal of the final when Ben King somehow managed to knock down a precise ball to his striking partner Ryan Quinn who smashed the ball home in the 22nd minute of the match, putting Kelty in the lead.

Real end to end football was witnessed at Treaton Park for the remainder of the first half with the typhoon like conditions making the whole final even more dramatic as both sides were going full throttle on each other. Glenrothes were finally rewarded for their early pressure when Blyth went on another run and ending up being taken down in the box, earning his side a penalty and a fantastic chance to equalise. Which was exactly what happened when striker Jack Mitchell stepped up and slotted it coolly in the bottom right corner, in the 25th minute of the match.

Moments later, Kelty threatened to take the lead once again when deep lying playmaker Greg McHugh stepped up from around thirty yards and unleashed a mighty strike which cannoned off the bar in the 30th minute.

Blyth was right in the mix of it once again for Glenrothes, when Sinclair did well to tip over his looping free kick in the 40th minute. Craig Fleming came within inches from the resulting corner as his close-ranged header just flew over the bar. Soon after no nonsense defender James Perrie came up with an outrages overhead kick which clipped the crossbar and went out of play.

However, after pushing and pushing, Glenrothes finally took the lead for the first time in the final on the stroke of half time when Mitchell made some room for himself and threaded a ball through to tricky midfielder Lewis who has his shot tremendously saved by Sinclair but unfortunately for him his parry fell to the feet of Fleming who reacted the quickest and placed his effort into the empty net. Giving his side the lead in the concluding moment of the first half.

Hutchison Vale produced a fine win in the spring sunshine, seeing off Cavalry Park 4-1, to maintain the pressure at the top of League 1. Two goals in either half saw them ease clear of today’s rivals on the park and in the table, where they now sit only a point off the summit.

Vale set to their business early with efforts from various distances, the best of which came from Finlay Mackay who, upon out-muscling a centre-back, hit an angled effort that required parrying over by Ryan Kidd. Whilst the match was not exclusively one direction - a dangerous cross from Park’s James Stewart saw Vale centre-back Josh Winnik clear just past his own post - the visitors appeared more likely to strike first.

This they did, in the 10th minute. A loose ball 25 yards from their own goal left Park exposed and undermanned, and the recipient Jamie Whitehead showed great vision to clip a reverse pass to over-lapping support James Gordon ploughing in on his right. Gordon had only Kidd to beat, which he achieved with conviction by driving the ball inside the near post.

Within sixty seconds Cavalry’s Daniel Maposa had a long strike pushed wide by Finn McNichol. However that was a good as it got for the hosts in the next twelve minutes. Two sharp passes took Vale from halfway to the edge of the six yard box, but Whitehead’s turn-and-shot met a very smart save. Brodie McNab then managed to shoot over the fences when running freely on to a lay-off. But resistance finally fell, in the 22nd minute, when James Gordon won the ball 25 yards out, ran direct, and hit hard. Kidd’s parry looped nicely to Mackay, who headed in to a gaping goal from six yards.

Again Cavalry almost immediately responded as Mackenzie’s cross was headed wide by a wide open Robbie Walker. Yet that miss was timid compared to two more to see out the half. After goalscorer Mackay had punished the crossbar from the edge of the area, Whitehead sent the politely bouncing rebound into the heavens from 6 yards. Maposa then broke Vale’s defensive line but thumped his one-on-one straight at the keeper, and the rebound over.

Tuesday, 09 April 2019 14:42

Tynie Triumph In Tom Wilson Memorial Cup

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With the clocks having now gone forward and the business end of the season fast approaching, Tynecastle FC and Cavalry Park FC went head to head at New Dundas Park, Bonnyrigg in a memorable final of the Tom Wilson Memorial Cup to kick things off with the seasons first trophy up for grabs.

In testing conditions with a wet and heavy surface underfoot, Tynecastle started the game with some early pressure on the Cavalry Park goal. After just three minutes, the towering Ivan Alapiki took the ball under control well and after holding off his man put a nice cross in to the danger area which Aaron Smith was only able to partially clear. Steven Shores latched on to the loose ball but his low right footed effort was blocked and diverted behind for a Tynecastle corner.

A few moments later and the ball was again clipped in to Alapiki once more which he brought down expertly with the outside of his foot, holding off two defenders on this occasion, before smashing an effort off the Cavalry Park crossbar despite the angle being against him. With only seven minutes on the clock it was clear that Cavalry Park had to stifle the supply to the powerful front man.

Tynecastle continued to probe forwards with William Scott beginning to impose himself more and more on the game. The strong Tynecastle number nine protected the ball brilliantly under pressure before passing it on to Alapiki who laid off Shore to hit once more. Although his second effort was not blocked, the effort was a comfortable save for Ryan Kidd in the Cavalry goal who gathered it well despite a little zip off the surface.

Cavalry Park then turned the flashes of good football they had shown in the opening 15 minutes in to the best move of the match so far. Harris Mackintosh and Tom Davies exchanged a wonderful one-two on the left hand side of the Tynecastle box which sent Mackintosh racing towards the byline. His low driven cross was on a plate to be tapped in however a Tynecastle shirt was first to it and the ball was hammered clear.

Not to be outdone down the other end, Tynecastle created a lovely move of their own. Alapiki chested the ball down to Scott around 25 yards from goal, the Tynecastle playmaker then shifted the ball on to his left foot and hit a superb curling effort towards the top corner which Kidd was equal to and held well.

The ever lively Robbie Cole began to influence the game for Cavalry Park and his corner in the 25th minute caused panic in the Tynecastle six yard box when goalkeeper Aaron Heap failed to hold his cross. The ball fell to the feet of Robbie Walker but Tynecastle keeper Heap was quick to atone for his error and made himself as big as possible to block what was a certain goal before the ball was hacked clear by Shores.

Cavalry Park continued to put Tynecastle on the back foot and began to enjoy a good spell of their own with the pace and trickery of Cole and Davies in particular causing the side in Maroon problems each time the two linked up.

Tynecastle began to fight back and create chances of their own as we approached the last 10 minutes of an evenly matched first half. Scott again picked the ball up wide right for the men in Maroon and drifted infield before teeing up team mate Kieran Moyles who's driven effort was again well saved by Kidd in the Cavalry goal.

Mackintosh picked the ball up in a central position for Cavalry and sprayed a brilliant ball out wide to Robbie Walker on the right. He held the ball in awaiting support before checking on to his left and swinging in a great ball that caught out all of the Tynecastle defence, however luckily for them it was just beyond the reach of Davies who's outstretched touch could only drop kindly at the feet of Heap for him to collect with ease.

With Mackintosh becoming more dangerous with each passing minute, the Cavalry Park midfielder lays inside for Cole to test Heap however his low drive was right down the throat of the Tynie Keeper.

With the first half just about to draw to a close there was time for one last attack and Cavalry Park made it count. A long freekick from Makintosh was hoisted high in to the Tynecastle box which they failed to deal with. The ball fell kindly at the feet of Davies who needed no invitation to hammer the ball home hard and low beyond the helpless Heap in the Tynecastle goal.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019 18:31

Gala come out on top in tight Edinburgh Cup final

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New Dundas Park played host to a tight Edinburgh Cup final between Gala Fairydean Rovers and Tynecastle FC Whites U13s in a tie that took extra time to decide a winner, which was eventually Gala, winning the game 5-4.

The game started brightly for Gala who dominated the opening five minutes, with Addison Bell and Harris Fairgrieve combining nicely in the final third but they couldn’t find the finishing touch. Their early dominance finally made Tynecastle pay in the eighth minute when Regan Stisi’s cross was blocked into the path of Oliver McClymont who placed his low effort beyond the keeper from the edge of the box to give Gala a deserved lead.

Tynecastle saw a resurgence in their play around 20 minutes into the game as they chased an equaliser, with many chances being created by Leon Byrne and Aidan O’Malley who came close with a powerful effort going just over. They eventually got back into the game courtesy of a through ball from Byrne into the path of Andrei Samoila, whose initial shot was blocked, but found the net with the rebound as Tynecastle drew even with Gala at the half hour mark.

Tynecastle looked to double their lead before the break with more chances created by Byrne that couldn’t be finished. Gala made Tynie pay as Sam Ostle went on a clever run down the left flank before powering the ball, too powerful for the keeper to catch as Gala regained their lead before half-time.

A fast start for Gala proved to be vital in retaining their lead into half time despite great counter attacking football on display from Tynecastle and a revival later in the half that led to them scoring the equaliser.

Edinburgh City Colts weathered both a proverbial and literal storm to defeat Longniddry Villa Colts 1-0 and reach the final of the Division 3 League Cup on Sunday. Sean McLean’s goal five minutes from time settled a tight tie in which Longniddry were arguably the better team before falling to the league leaders.

The opening twenty minutes of this match were a write-off as an abject weather system drove freezing rain and sleet across the pitch. Bar a long range shot by Villa’s James Lithgow and City striker Ryan McElhinney being sharply closed down by keeper Steven Nisbet, the primary objective for the players during this time was to stay warm and not loathe seasonal football.

Eventually conditions improved, slightly, and the game could properly commence. Lithgow was fed a chance on an overlap but found his side-footed effort lacked sufficient power, while McElhinney too tried again: his deflected shot from the edge of the area wrong-footed everyone but fell wide left.

Yet it was four minutes before half-time when the serious opportunities arrived, and they did so in a flurry for Longniddry. The first saw Lithgow roll the ball a sliver wide after a long free kick drifted through the City defence and to his feet. Hearts may well have been in defenders’ mouths as the effort evaded the target in slow motion.

This was followed by Tommy Hughes being sent clear to face City keeper Saul Nelson one-on-one twice within a minute. The first was lost to a slightly heavy touch that enabled Nelson to close within centimetres, and the second required a good save. However Villa were outplaying the leaders, epitomised by how Ross Montgomery created the first Hughes chance by winning the ball in his own half, marching through midfield, and finding the pass behind the left back.

Portobello CFA were in fine form on a windy afternoon in Edinburgh, as they marched on to the final of the South East Region Cup with an impressive 8-0 victory over Salvesen CFC. Alfie Smith and Robbie Peffers both bagged braces for a Portobello team oozing with quality and confidence, with their perfect record in their league campaign carrying over to the cup. Underdogs Salvesen worked tirelessly until the final whistle blew, but ultimately, the day belonged to Portobello.
 
Smith looked dangerous in the opening stages of the game, as he saw his long-range free kick soar just over the bar. Moments later, his driving effort from the edge of the box was parried well by Salvesen 'keeper Dylan Martin. The breakthrough did eventually come for Smith in the tenth minute when he collected the ball on the edge of the box and fired it into the bottom left corner of the goal.
 
The number nine soon doubled his tally from the penalty spot after Owen Hastie was brought down in the box. Smith was coolness personified as he placed the ball calmly into the same corner he had buried his first goal.
 
Playmaker Josh Crolla pulled the strings magnificently for Portobello in the first half, displaying an incredible range of short, cute passes and astounding crossfield balls. It seemed inevitable that one of his passes would lead to a third goal for his team, a sentiment which rang true as his astute through ball released Harris Reynolds, who slotted the ball under Martin to give Portobello a three goal advantage before the half hour mark.
 
Salvesen looked to make their mark on the game, with centre half Stuart Littlejohn taking a speculative effort from 40 yards, which was well held by Michael Wilson. The defender soon had cause for concern at the other end as Hastie unleashed a powerful strike from the edge of the box. The midfielder’s shot cannoned off the crossbar to bring the first half to a close.
Sunday, 24 February 2019 22:47

Lochend and Earlston gather a point apiece

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Lochend Youth and Earlston Rhymers managed a goal and red card each as they drew 1-1 in their Division 3 contest in Portobello. On an early Spring day the shared spoils were a fair reflection of a game in which the defences were generally in control.

Matters started slowly, with no meaningful attempts until a snapshot from Rhymers Gavin Dickson went just wide in the 9th minute. Despite significant space occasionally presenting itself on the wings, neither team could connect their approaches into dangerous moves in these early stages.

The match heated up across three minutes midway through the first half. After a Cammy Robertson shot from 20 yards was tipped wide by Lochend’s Zak Eunson, the resulting corner created a frantic goal line scramble. The ball was eventually cleared, but the mood for wild swiping had obviously not been wholly abated: a minute later a violent clash near the Lochend box provoked the referee to reduce both teams to ten.

Lochend’s response to the new numbers was positive, as Jay Stewart had two chances, both set up by fine work by Matthew Hudson. On the first occasion, Hudson embarked on a long run down the left wing before centring; the second was the fruit of a beautiful ball from halfway that Stewart, under pressure, could only toe-poke wide.

But as the interval approached, so Rhymers awoke. In the 34th minute Charlie Haetzman nudged the ball past the last defender but could not beat Eunson when 1-on-1. It did not matter: a minute later a corner was not sufficiently cleared, allowing captain Dickson to win a 50/50 on the edge of the box. With players in every direction, he jabbed the ball high at goal and was delighted to see it fly over the reach on Eunson to give Earlston the lead.

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