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North Berwick Colts took a step in the right direction in their quest to achieve a top four finish, in Division 2, against a Peebles side who had started the day only one place behind them in the table. Manager Keith Gibb has set that as a target for his men after admitting that first and second places might be a step too far.

The match was closer than the score line suggests, particularly in the first half. But the away side created more in the second with Peebles seeming to tire in their third game this week. On top of that, they had their team day out the day before which must have zapped even more energy from them.

An even first period remained goalless, although that takes nothing away from the fayre on display as both sides passed the ball about well. It was far from a ‘boring 0-0’ half.

Owen Mackie threatened first for Colts after Peebles goalie Evan Polak had cleared a long ball, but Mackie fired over. And Jack Drijver-Headley rounded Polak but had his cross cut out by Lewis Swan.

Kyle Erskine had a shot tipped wide at the other end, but Ben Duncan came closest to opening the scoring. The big defender found himself with plenty of time to shape up a shot 30 yards out. He struck it beautifully but saw it smack the crossbar.

Saturday, 07 May 2016 10:11

Tynecastle truimphant in the cup

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Tynecastle FC met Spartans FC for the fifth time this season, this time in the John Crawford Cup Final. Previous ties have seen Tynecastle win two and Spartans win two, so it was obvious that this match was going to be a closely fought battle.
 
Both teams have games coming thick and fast as we edge closer to the end of the season. This match was Tynecastle’s first of three in five days. However, focus was entirely on this game with this season’s first piece of silverware available for whoever came out victorious.
 
The first ten minutes were tame with neither side managing to wrestle a hold of the match early on. Despite their best efforts, both teams lacked the cutting edge to complete a string of passes or get a significant shot away to test the goalkeepers.
 
It was on 11 minutes that the game came alive however. Tynecastle won a freekick on the left wing, five yards from the edge of the box. James Scobie was the man to take it and he whipped in an out-swinging cross. The players had concentrated themselves around the penalty spot and it looked difficult for anyone to jump high enough to get a header away amongst the melee. Ivan Alapiki could not be held back though, he leapt into the air and headed the ball past the keeper to the back post and into the net.
 
The goal seemed to wake both teams up. Tynecastle sensed blood, but they didn’t do anything about it. Instead, Spartans patiently counter-attacked and the front three began causing problems.
 
On 15 minutes, the crowd became animated when Reece Mason began bamboozling the Tynecastle defence with silky skills inside the box. He took on three players before producing a cross, but Tynecastle keeper Aaron Heap collected.
 
On 19 minutes, Reuben Walsh pinched the ball from Tynecastle’s Scobie who was caught in possession. Walsh raced towards goal only to be brought down just short of the penalty area. Nicholas Reid stepped up to take the freekick which thundered off the bar. Mason followed up the shot off the bar with a header but this time the ball sailed over.
 
The following ten minutes were quiet before the game came alive once again on the half hour mark. Spartans won a freekick on the left wing, next to by-line, 25 yards from goal. Keir Russell took the freekick. The ball sailed into the box and hit a Tynecastle player on the chest. Everyone watched in anxious anticipation as the ball bounced towards goal. Fortunately for the Tynecastle player, the ball hit the post and went out for a corner. Multiple corners followed with Tynecastle unable to clear.
 
In the final five minutes of the half, Tynecastle struggled to clear their lines. The ball kept finding its way back into the Tynecastle box due to needless fouls in their own half which was heaping on the pressure. Tynecastle held on until half time though and the teams went in with the score 1-0.
 
Spartans may have felt they had done enough to have drawn level in the first half, but they weren’t clinical enough in front of goal. The game was stretched and this was hardly helped by the large pitch. Both teams were too disjointed in the first half and needed to work harder to connect their midfield with attack. Ivan Alapiki, the Tynecastle target man, was causing problems but lacked support from his midfielders. Similarly, the Spartans front three of Reid, Mason and Robbie Walker worked hard and combined well, but needed more support.

Two teams from the same club were matched together in a Division 2 fixture, as league leaders Currie Star FC looked to strengthen their seven point advantage against their neighbours Currie Star Colts, who were sitting in mid-table looking for a result to climb the rankings.

The game started with immediate domination from Currie Star FC as they scored twice in the first 10 minutes, first from Harris Dracup who got on the end of a low cross from Callum Ritchie, and Marcus Forbes who picked up a misplaced defensive pass and finished to start off at 2-0.

Currie Star Colts responded right away as Lewis Muego hit an incredible strike from the right wing that dipped into the bottom left corner to make the score 2-1.

Currie Star FC managed to score again, after 20 minutes, as Josh Brock took a freekick from around 45 yards out and managed to score. However, it was disallowed as Colts were awarded a free kick, themselves, inside the box.

The Colts had a couple of chances afterwards but were not able to equalise before half time.

Broxburn Athletic under 16's became the third team from the club to win in the County Cup finals, this Sunday, following an impressive win over Shotts Victoria. Goals at the start of each half sealed the win for Broxburn.
 
The game got off to a flyer as Broxburn took the lead. They won a free kick, around 25 yards from goal, and Lewis Alexander fired the ball into the corner of the net, putting his side into the lead.
 
The start of the half was definitely in stark contrast with the rest of it.  Both teams were denied any clear goal scoring opportunities, with very little chances at either end.
 
The only other chance in the half, of note, came from Broxburn as Cameron Laurie’s shot was saved well by Cameron Henratty in the Shotts’ goal.
 
Broxburn Athletic Colts were victorious in the second County Cup final of the day at the Tony Macaroni Arena as they overcame Bathgate Thistle by three goals to one. The match was closely contested and the crowd were treated to some quality goals.
 
The start of the first half was a sign of things to come as both teams battled for possession. Neither were able to gain a foothold on the game from the very start.
 
The first chance of note fell to Broxburn as Ryan Campbell struck the bar with a fierce shot, before a goalmouth scramble was hooked away by the Bathgate defence.
 
20 minutes in Murray Arnott forced a good save from Derin Smith in the Bathgate goal. A corner was met by Arnott but his header was saved at the near post.
 
A few minutes later Bathgate were on the attack as Callum Goldie’s effort went wide of the left hand post.
 
Broxburn then took the lead five minutes later. After a corner was cleared the ball was played back in and it fell to midfielder Kieran Rafferty, who smashed his shot into the bottom corner – fantastic goal.
The first match of the day at the Tony Macaroni Arena, in the County Cup, saw Broxburn Athletic defeat Armadale CFC Orange in a thoroughly entertaining game. Broxburn ran out 7-3 winners in a very fluid attacking performance, with Adam Yorke particularly impressing for the side. 
 
The first chance of the game fell to Broxburn; a corner was played in and the ball fell to James Crosbie. His effort was subsequently cleared off the line by the defence.
 
The first 10 minutes were quite cagey, with no team really gaining a foothold. Broxburn’s Jake Bell found himself some space inside the box but his shot was saved allowing Armadale a chance to break. Matthew Hall’s pace allowed him to break down the line, but his cut back was cleared and the game remained level.
 
25 minutes in Broxburn created another chance. Ryan Campbell was played through and managed to round the keeper but the ball broke away from him and went behind for a goal kick.
 
Broxburn opened the scoring a few minutes later. The ball broke in the box and found its way to Bell, who finished powerfully into the roof of the net.
 
Armadale then managed to draw level, shortly before half time, through a moment of magic from Jaiden Muirhead. The striker glided past his markers and finished with a lofted shot over the goalkeeper - a goal that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Champions League final.
 
Despite the leveller, it was Broxburn who went into half time with the lead. It was Bell who scored again as he was on hand to slot the ball home from a cross on the right hand side.
Sunday, 24 April 2016 19:27

Penicuik victorious in final against Gala

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Penicuik Athletic Reds became Under 15's Division Three League Cup winners today by overcoming Gala Fairydean Rovers Colts at a sun kissed New Dundas Park.

Both teams had a lot to live up to if they were too match Edina Hibs Under 14s who had stormed to victory on the same pitch just prior. This one was a lot closer, although Penicuik deserved their success.

A first half double from Michael Robertson had them looking good until Sam Cockburn replied with a beautiful goal.

Gala threatened to level towards the end of the first half, but Athletic went on to dominate the second period.

A strike from Jake Grandison rammed home that dominance and secured the win.

Ahletic took the lead after only eight minutes. Cailean Ryan’s corner was headed in by one of the smallest men in the box, Robertson. It was a goal reminiscent of John Robertson, with his name sake showing a predatory instinct in the six-yard box.

Fairydean Rovers had two chances, which sandwiched their second concession. Declan Bell’s volley was straight at Robert Stevenson and Sean Curran’s header from Cairnie’s corner was blocked on its way to goal.

In between those they had fallen further behind. Robertson’s second was supplied by Lewis Allan who burst forward and played it across the box for him.

Bell spurned another good chance when the ball broke to him eight yards out. It has to be said though that he was denied by a super save by Stevenson.

The stopper was eventually beaten in the 19th minute. His kick out was met by Cairnie who returned it with a perfect lob, which sailed over Stevenson’s head.

Gala began to apply a bit of pressure, although they were limited to shots from outside the box.

Cammy Finlayson did manage to get closer in for a strike but Stevenson was equal.

 
Sunday, 24 April 2016 19:02

Electrifying Edina convincingly beat Craigie

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Edina Hibs won the Pilmar Smith Cup today with a devastating display. Four of the goals came in an electrifying first half, meaning it was an uphill task for Craigroyston to get back into the game.

The triumphant players were quick to pay tribute to their friend and team-mate Sean Hogg, who was diagnosed with leukemia recently and had played his part in the cup run. T-shirts featuring his photo and the message: “Get well soon Hoggy” meant that he was in their thoughts as they picked up the trophy.

If you had a quick look at the Division 3 table beforehand you would be expecting a close game – both teams are locked on 33 points, albeit Hibs have two games in hand. But the men in white and green had other ideas as they seemed intent on lifting the cup.

Edina were also missing Wictor Danzeski through illness but they quickly put their double loss to one side. They came out of the traps like greyhounds, but instead of an artificial rabbit they were steaming towards the goal.

Several opportunities had been created before they opened the scoring on 11 minutes. Jordan Ewing was central to a lot of their good play, making passes to carve out openings.

Devan Craighead almost profited from the midfielder’s creativity on a couple of occasions but one shot was wide and another went over.

Jamie Martin put a volley wide, while in acres of space, with the Craigie defence incorrectly thinking they had played him offside.

The first goal came in the 11th minute and it was a glorious strike from Szymon Merwa – thumping it in from the right edge of the box. He hit it so quickly, and with such power, that even the best 'keepers in the world would have struggled to get to it.

Merwa embarked on a period of play where he was unstoppable, and he bagged another two goals to give daylight between the sides.

He latched on to a long throw down the left in the 19th minute, before tricking his way into the box and slotting it past Darren Owen.

Two minutes later the winger had his hat-trick. Aidan Dodds fed him and he beat two men before finishing calmly again.

Steven Pouton was working hard to try and make something happen for Craigroyston and a strike from distance was well saved by Kyle Betts.

Edina edged further in front one minute before half time through Dodds. The striker was alert on to a ball through the defence and his low finish widened the gap at a crucial time.

Pouton had another valiant attempt at registering his team on the scoresheet. This time a bending free kick was well saved by Betts.

Salvesen CFC Reds made it through to the Edinburgh Cup final, but they required extra time to overcome Gala Fairydean Rovers in a thrilling cup tie.

A stunning strike from Marcus Duncan in the second half of the added twenty minutes won it for them.

Salvesen had been doing much of the pressing late on after an even opening in which Gala gave as good as they got.

The teams traded chances early on. Bryce Ormiston had his shot saved by visiting keeper Callum Macdonald, while Liam Collins dragged one wide at the other end.

Ormiston went close again after good wing play by Emil Neves but it was Salvie who took the lead.

Gavin Mabon was rewarded for positive play when he picked up the ball on the left, cut inside and had a go, which Kieron Butler unfortunately could not keep out.

Mabon and Tyler Bolochoweckyj were looking a threat down either flank, as were Neves and Tyler Hayes at the other end. It looked likely that the wingers could have a big part of play on the large pitch.

But it was a thrusting run from centre midfield which brought about Gala’s equaliser on 30 minutes. Dylan Curran broke forward and managed to ride a sliding challenge before steadying himself again and burying the finish.

Saturday, 16 April 2016 21:27

Currie Star comeback to clinch cup

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Currie Star came from behind to beat St Bernard’s in an open, yet entertaining, Polar Foods Cup final.

Charlie Nicholl had given his side an early lead within the first 10 minutes, but two goals from Cameron Elmslie and one from Matthew Darlington, all within the last 10 minutes of the first half, turned the final on its head.

After the break Currie increased their lead thanks to goals from Daniel Findlay and Zach Neil which helped them secure a comfortable final win over their Division 4 rivals.

Although Currie found it comfortable in the end, St Bernard’s started the game like a side who, so far this season, have been unbeaten in the league and took the lead after only 10 minutes.

Midfielder Nicholl received the ball on the left edge of the box before shifting it onto his right foot and firing a powerful shot into the top right corner. Currie goalkeeper Rory McGeogh got a hand to the shot but the ball slipped through his fingers.  

Even though there was a heavy downpour before the match, creating wet and slippery conditions, McGeogh would have been disappointed with his error. However, the goalkeeper redeemed himself soon afterwards with a number of saves to keep his side in the game.

Zak Manson made a strong run down the right side of the pitch and got to the byline before cutting it back into the box. Striker Niall Kemp scuffed his shot but it fell to Jay Stevenson who was arriving from the left. McGeogh was on hand, however, to save his low shot.

St Bernard’s were constantly finding space when going forward and, driven on by the pace and energy of Manson, carved out a number of chances.

The best of them fell to Manson who broke free from the Currie back four before rounding the goalkeeper and beating the covering defender but, with the angle tight, he could only shoot into the side netting.

After that scare Currie began to grow into the game. Matthew Darrington, playing behind central striker David Findlay, started to find space in the middle of the park and created several openings thanks to his precise through balls.

Findlay was usually the target and was twice denied by St Bernard’s stopper Sam Whitson after the striker had been played through on goal.

Midfielder Cameron Elmslie then did well to beat two men down the right before clipping a pass into the box. It found Darrington, who rounded the keeper, but he was challenged by a defender as he was about to pull the trigger.

Currie eventually levelled the game in the last 10 minutes of the first half. Darrington’s low, inswinging corner from the left evaded everyone but found its way to Elmslie at the back post who tapped in.

They then took the lead only a minute later. Darrington was again the architect, splitting the St Bernard’s defence with another ball through to Findlay who unselfishly squared the ball to Emslie to score his, and his side’s, second of the night.

With only a minute left to play, Currie scored again to seal an impressive first half comeback. Again the St Bernard’s defence was caught square as Cameron Scaife slipped in Darrington who chipped the ball over the keeper with his weaker left foot before wheeling away in celebration as it rolled in off the left post.