South East Region (401)
An enthralling cup tie like fixture ended with Gala Fairydean Rovers Colts taking all three points, despite a spirited comeback from Musselburgh Athletic Whites.
Gala took a two goal lead at the start of the second half but were reduced to ten-men shortly after. Musselburgh used this advantage to claw it back to 2-2 thanks to a penalty by Jamie Boothman and Smaeel Hamouda’s strike.
An end to end finish saw both teams throw everything at trying to win the game, and it was the home side who managed it. The third goal of Matthew Murray’s hat-trick was the pick of the bunch and was a worthy clincher.
Frustrated Whites coach Andy Grubb said: “It has been the story of our season. We play well and then receive a sucker punch. The boys are distraught.”
The tone was set by a fast start. Athletic’s Lewis Fitzpatrick had two chances early on but was denied by Jayden Smith.
Murray was lively right from the off and had already threatened before a lovely drag back created space but his shot was also saved.
The breakthrough came on 26 minutes. Murray got his goal with a delicate lob just after being denied by another save.
Fairydean Rovers continued to attack and could have extended their lead with two chances in quick succession for Daniel Hollywood. He was alert to pounce on a back-pass but rolled his shot wide and then was denied by the keeper after a pass by Lee Edwards.
Whites responded and Alex McGrogan forced Smith into action again.
The toing and froing continued, with Hollywood making space to allow Edwards a strike.
First division Musselburgh Windsor comfortably beat second division Gala Fairydean Rovers to progress to the third round of the Ken Ritchie Cup, where they will face their own second team.
They dominated from start to finish but Gala performed well against strong opposition. They defended resolutely in the first half to keep the score to 2-0 at half time. Kieron Butler in the Gala goal also made numerous saves to contribute to this.
And commendably they continued to try and pass out from the back despite heavy pressure from the Windsor attackers.
The first goal arrived after only four minutes. Josh Campbell broke down the right before cooly slotting across Butler.
Jack Main hit the post shortly after and Butler made a terrific double save from Ben Gearty and Main.
But the keeper was helpless when Musselburgh scored a second in freak fashion. Jack Dickson’s attempted cross from the left sailed high over him and in.
The assault on Fairydean Rovers’ goal then stopped, with the defence organised by Adam Moffat keeping the men in blue at bay.
In fact, it took Gala getting a shot on goal and allowing Windsor a counter attack before Butler had anything more to do. Bryce Ormiston’s shot was dealt with and they broke quickly up the right wing. Main passed across goal for Gearty but Butler saved with his foot.
Main then passed up another chance, dinking into the keeper’s hands after good set up play from Adam Clark.
Possession of the football proved key as Hutchinson Vale overcame Musselburgh Windsor in the Tom Wilson Memorial Cup. The second round fixture list threw together two of the top sides from the first division. Following their 2nd round win in the Prison Officers Cup the previous week, Hutchinson Vale were looking to book their place in another 3rd round tie. Whereas Musselburgh were looking to bounce back from their loss to Airdrie United in the Scottish Youth FA Cup.
In the league, both teams are enjoying successful league campaigns, level on points in second position. With knowledge of this and the miserable weather conditions spectators would have been expecting a close-fought, cagy affair. However, this was not the case. Hutchinson Vale had a clear philosophy and it was not going to change, even for the likes of their closest league rivals, Musselburgh Windsor.
From the outset Hutchinson Vale were keen to play a slick possession game, determined to play the ball out from the back. The two centre backs appeared comfortable on the ball and the overlapping fullbacks created an overload in midfield which Musselburgh failed to deal with. However, whilst Hutchinson Vale probed with the ball they never penetrated the final third with any intent.
On 16 minutes, Hutchinson Vale nearly regretted not taking advantage of possession as Musselburgh almost scored an unlikely goal. A long free kick from Daniel Mackinnon into the box led to a scramble, with players falling like bowling pins in the box. Musselburgh managed to get a shot away but fantastic double save from keeper Fraser Britton prevented Hutchinson Vale going behind.
Around half way through the first half Hutchinson Vale began to play with a more attacking intent. Tireless right back, Harry Pullar found himself in the box on numerous occasions whilst Lewis McKay bombed forward on the opposite flank too. After prolonged pressure, in which Hutchinson Vale worked the ball around the opposition half, they forced a corner. Owen Richardson whipped in the corner which found its way to Murray Rose at the back post who headed back across goal. Callum Mackie rose above the rest to head into the bottom right-hand corner and put Hutchie ahead.
The final 15 minutes played out without incident and Musselburgh went in at half time only one goal down. The gulf in class between the two teams in the first half was remarkable, considering where they were in the league. Hutchinson Vale kept the ball as though it were a training drill, but in truth, Musselburgh made it look easy. They failed to close down the opposition and were a lot slower to react than their rivals.
Spartans Youth progressed to the next round of the U15s Division One League Cup after coming from behind to defeat Edinburgh City Whites at a windy Ainslie Park.
A goal from Kielan Denholm was not enough for City as Spartans replied with goals from Rhys Campbell, Brandon Blair and a late brace from John Balde to progress to the second round.
Spartans started strongly despite playing against the wind and began to take hold of the game.
The first chance however came to Edinburgh City after ten minutes with Archie Morris firing wide of the right post following a misplaced back-pass.
Callum Simpson was next to have a go at goal for the away side as they began to work their way into the game with the likes of Zion Dixon marshalling Balde well at the City end. Simpson's half-volley from 18 yards was wide to the right of the post.
Some quick passing movements down the left flank opened up space for the first shot on target for the home side with Matteo Crolla's effort caught comfortably by the opposition 'keeper on the 15 minute mark.
Spartans, playing in red, began to put real pressure on the opposition defence with Kris Gaff slaloming down the right flank into the box where his resulting shot with his weaker foot was tipped away by the City 'keeper from 10 yards.
It was end-to-end and with the wind on their side, Edinburgh showed their counter-attacking ability and could have scored through Morris, who caused home 'keeper Ben Ritchie to make a point-blank save from 5 yards after a low cross from the left.
At the other end, Blair rose highest following a Wallace cross from the left and his looping header was just over the bar with a quarter of the game gone.
Edinburgh City eventually carved open the strong Spartans defence to score the first goal of the game with half an hour gone. A route-one ball from 'keeper Luca Scarpa was missed by everyone except Denholm who latched onto the wind-affected clearance to finish calmly past the 'keeper into the far right corner.
Leith Athletic defeated Gala Fairydean Rovers in a match that was ultimately won by set pieces. The home side scored through a corner, a penalty and from two direct free kicks while the visitors scored a free kick of their own.
Goals from Jack Mackay, Blair Short and two from substitute Guy McGarry sealed the win for Leith who move up to 2nd in the table.
The match, which was Gala's first for five weeks, started at a frantic pace with both teams exchanging numerous chances in the first 20 minutes.
Leith, spearheaded by the busy Tyler O'Neill, were always a threat on the break and it took some smart defending by Gala's Thomas Porves to deny O'Neill when he was through on goal.
It was the home side's keeper who was busiest early on however, with Steven Chambers being called into action to produce an excellent double save first from James Delaney and then Sam Kelly who followed in on the rebound.
Kelly then fired wide moments later after a cutback from flying winger Finnen Gordon-Wooley. He then created a chance for himself but this time had his low shot saved after initially doing well to create some space on the edge of the box.
Both teams then had their first scare form set pieces. First, a Leith corner was cleared but only to Aaron Simpson whose perfectly struck half volley whistled just past the post. Gala then should have taken the lead, a driven corner from the left fell to Jack Nobel, who had peeled to the back post, but his volleyed effort went over the bar.
It was Leith's next corner, however, which opened the scoring. Just before half time in the 38th minute, Mackay took the corner from the left side and his in swinging ball fortuitously sailed over goalkeeper Joshua Bain's head and went straight into the net.
Tynecastle FC secured a place in the semi-finals of the SPORTSassist South East Region Cup with a 2-0 victory over Longniddry Villa at Saughton Park. First half goals from Matthew Dillon and Andrew Mackay earned the home side a deserved victory in a match where the visitors rarely threatened.
The tie started at a frantic pace with both sides exchanging chances early on and perhaps Longniddry could have taken the lead on a couple of occasions. First, Alex Williamson shot wide from inside the box and then Tynecastle keeper Kyle Wilson saved well to deny Ellis Grieve.
After surviving those early scares Tynecastle began to take charge and Longniddry keeper Cameron Sandilands kept his side in the game when he denied Dillon after the striker was through on goal.
But there was nothing Sandilands could do when in the 25th minute Dillon opened the scoring. A ball from the left side played in Dillon but this time he took his chance, calmly firing a first time right foot shot into the bottom left corner.
Shortly afterwards, and just before half time in the 36th minute, Tynecastle doubled their lead. After a well worked counter attack resulted in a corner, Craig Turnbull's accurate ball in from the left was met by a rising Andrew Mackay whose powerful header was too strong for the defender on the line to keep out.
Longniddry could have got back in the game in the dying seconds of the first half. Strikers Jack Branley and Williamson broke through and found themselves in a two-on-one situation. However, Branley's ball to Williamson was played only moments too late and he was ruled offside when he only had the keeper to beat.
After the fixture was delayed a week as a result of weather conditions, Hutchison Vale F.C. played their cup tie against Broxburn Atheltic Colts which saw Hutchie win by six goals to nil.
The scoring opened up in the 5th minute. Hutchie striker Grant Rose decided to go on a solo run on the left hand side of goal, side stepping defenders, then finished his chance on the edge of the penalty box with the ball ending up in the bottom right hand corner of goal.
Four minutes later, Hutchie double their lead. Rose, involved again in the build up to the goal, played a short cross from the left hand side of the pitch to Kieran Jack in the centre of the penalty box. Jack beat his marker to the ball and he headed it into the bottom left hand corner of goal.
Hutchie increased their lead in the 15th minute. Ryan Moffat received the ball on the right hand side of the pitch, he then dribbled past the Broxburn defenders and with his shot on the left hand side of the penalty box, he placed the ball expertly into the side netting.
The first half scoring was rounded off as Rose doubled his tally. The outstanding Ryan Borthwick struck a vicious effort that smacked the face of the crossbar, but big striker Rose was on hand on the left side of the penalty area to slot the ball home.
A close game at Netherdale was decided by two quality goals from Edinburgh South striker Kacper Michalak.
Gala Fairydean Rovers’ defenders probably didn’t feel Kacper was being as friendly as the animated ghost as he troubled them all morning. His forward play was ultimately the difference on the day.
Both sides played good football resulting in an entertaining match. Gala just couldn’t find the finishing touch that Michalak brought to the table for South.
There could have been more goals in the game and that is testament to the quality of defending and goalkeeping on display at both ends.
The capital men threatened first with Jayden Smith hurting himself in the process of diving bravely at the feet of Daniel Carson-Sangster. Fortunately, he was not forced into an early departure. Connor Fitzpatrick also had a decent try that was also saved by Smith.
Thomas Lockley had been cutting a frustrated figure as he felt that his team-mates had been overusing the right flank, leaving him redundant on the left. But the winger got Gala’s first opportunity after being played through by a terrific slide rule pass by Tyler Smith. Lockley's lobbed attempt went just over.
The first of many last ditch defensive blocks came from Gala’s Lewis Smith to prevent an Edinburgh chance, but they did score soon after.
Michalak picked up the ball just inside the Gala half and set off on a powerful charge towards goal. When he got there he buried the ball high into the net.
Fairydean Rovers came close to an equaliser from a corner when a Josh McGurk corner picked out Lewis Smith. A good header was well stopped by Ben Gormley.
It was South’s turn for a defensive intervention in front of goal with Rhys Anderson denying Matthew Murray.
The visitors went into the break with their narrow lead intact. But there was plenty to suggest that Gala could get themselves back into it after a very even opening period.
Cramond, with two 1-0 victories over Redhall last season, got the game underway and immediately pushed Redhall back as they looked for an early goal. Redhall keeper Ryan Green was alert to rush from goal and clear from the Cramond attackers. Redhall settled into the game as Adam Shortiss set up Tommy Hendry but his shot from the edge of the Cramond box was just over the bar.
Grant Doyle and Robbie Campbell combined well for the home side in setting up a chance for Shortiss but his effort from Doyle's cross was just wide of the post. Cramond were soon back on the attack and had a succession of corners which were well dealt with by the home defence.
The tackles were flying in and there were many off the ball incidents as both teams fought their battles in order to gain control. A foul by Thomas Steedman led to a free kick for Cramond from which they took the lead. With everyone expecting a shot on goal from 25 yards Cramond played a clever ball behind the Rehall defence, which had switched off, and had the winger in on goal. As Green advanced from his line the ball was clipped past him and into the net to give the visitors the lead.
Redhall were straight back on the attack with the Cramond keeper saving well from Doyle's shot. Cramond were content to sit in and hit on the break. With Redhall pushing forward Cramond broke but the shot from the edge of the area was well saved by Green. Redhall's Marc Hannah was harshly booked for a raised foot with the free kick well saved by Green at the near post.
Half time: Redhall Star YFC 0-1 Cramond FC
Redhall made three changes at half time with Sam Donachie, Antony Little and Jack Anderson replacing Steedman, Lewis Blues and Shortiss in an attempt to get back into the game.
From the restart Redhall pushed forward but Cramond were defending well. Chances were limited for the home side. A free kick caused a bit of panic in the Cramond defence but they cleared for a corner. Calum Henderson fired in the corner which just evaded Donachie. A rare attack from Cramond was cleared for a corner with Green making a save from the shot that was fired in.
Tempers were flaring as a couple of late tackles from Cramond went unpunished by referee Thomson. Redhall introduced Josh Slow-clayton and Adam Robertson with Nathan Robertson and Hendry making way. Another late tackle gave Redhall a free kick which Anderson fired into the area. Little rose to head the ball but it was straight at the keeper from 6 yards. Slow-clayton played a ball in behind for Donachie to chase down. Ball controlled and fired into the area by Donachie with Little just failing to connect. The pressure was growing as another Anderson free kick caused bother in the Cramond area. Ball eventaull fell to Henderson but he hurried his shot with it flying wide of the target.
Cramond picked up a yellow card for a late tackle as Redhall brought Shortiss and Steedman back into the game as they switched to a more attacking formation. This instanly paid off as Redhall broke from a Cramond corner. Slow-clayton broke over halfway and passed to Shortiss who burst forward. Square pass to Donachie had him smacking a shot in off the post from 20 yards to level the scores.
Redhall were now pushing for the winner as we entered into injury time. Slow-clayton played in Little but he hurried his shot which was well wide of the target. From the goal kick Cramond attacked. Ball forward from the midfield was then left by Ewan Mitchell, thinking it was a goal kick, but corner was given. Corner was thrown to the back post where there were two Cramond players unmarked. Ball was controlled as Redhall pressed but a neat chip towards the back post had the ball hitting the net to give Cramond the three points. Disaster for the home side.
No time left as referee brought this clash to an end.
Full time: Redhall Star YFC 1-2 Cramond FC
Redhall will be disappointed ending the year with two narrow defeats after their unbeaten run. Last week was poor, today was better but two mistakes for the goals and a severe lack of communication throughout the team caused problems. Cramond are effective unit, tough to break down and will be happy to head home with the points. Time now to recharge the batteries over the festive period and go again in 2016.