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Sunday, 24 November 2013 14:59

Oxgangs hold on to scrape past Loanhead

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On one of the coldest weekends of the year so far Meggetland played host to the South East Region Cup quarter-final clash between AC Oxgangs and Loanhead Miners Youth FC. Before the game many saw Loanhead as favourites after comfortably beating Oxgangs earlier in the season, but in cup games there are always upsets.
The game kicked off as the sun gleamed down on the turf, but the temperature still remained a bitter four degrees. This was to be a frosty encounter. As the game began a very physical encounter started as both sides look to assert themselves and take control.
Up until the fifth minute it had been a very scrappy affair, and then the first chance of the game came. It was to be a very significant one. A long ball forward by the Oxgangs defence looped over the midfield and fell to Lewis Temple who controlled the ball well, outpaced the defender and coolly slotted home to make it one nil in the sixth minute.
The visitors were keen to respond though and immediately launched an attack from kick off. Ryan Weston held the ball up well before laying off Samuel Jones who tried a long range effort from 25 yards. The ball scraped the top of the bar with keeper Robbie Brown stranded.
Oxgangs were defending well at the back and were restricting Loanhead to shots from distance. Right back Fraser Shearer took aim from a long way out but it was all too easy for Brown.
Weston continued to cause the backline problems however. In the 23rd minute he received the ball at the halfway line before running towards goal. Again he was forced to hold the ball up just outside the opposition box as the Oxgangs backline stood firm. After creating some space however he passed the ball into McKelvey who hit a powerful shot just over the crossbar. Loanhead were determined to get on the scoresheet but the leaders were looking good at the back.
The visitors were pressing higher up the field, which was a dangerous strategy to employ with the pacey Temple and Bishop looking to counter for Oxgangs. Loanhead continued to have most of the possession in the first half, but just lacked penetration in the final third of the pitch.
Their gamble almost paid off just before half time however as Andrew McNeill found himself some space in the area after a good ball in from out wide by Liam Higgins. He could only hit a tame shot at the goalkeeper however, in what was Loanhead’s best chance so far.
Half Time: AC Oxgangs 1 Loanhead Miners Youth FC 0
On a crisp and sunny November Sunday morning, Cramond FC came into the game knowing that a win would send them to the top of the league after achieving promotion to the division the previous season. For added spice, the teams are due to play each other in the semi-final of the cup at the same venue next weekend. Suffice to say it is set up nicely.
In a fantastic match that ebbed and flowed right until the end, Bonnyrigg rescued a draw with 2 goals in the final 3 minutes and some excellent football. Cramond’s Ben Martin notched up a brilliant hat-trick as his team appeared to have consolidated the win until a pair of injuries curtailed their rhythm.
Cramond FC took a 2 goal lead half way through the second half and in a sign of things to come, doggedly fought back to close the gap before half time. Immediately after the break, Cramond restored their two goal advantage and it was 4-2 with a little over a quarter of an hour remaining.
For a few minutes, Bonnyrigg looked to have conceded to the defeat, but they took a relaxed attitude to playing some good football and steadily ramped up the intensity going into the final stages.
With 3 minutes remaining a sublime goal inspired them to force the point and they attacked wherever they could with probing through balls and dangerous free-kicks until they were granted their reward in the final minute.
After 2 minutes the first meaningful action came from Bonnyrigg’s Aaron Abrahams controlling the ball well and releasing a good pass to set up play for a shot from Michael McFadzean. Then Cramond went up the other end and played Brodie McDiarmid in down the left. He cut inside and took a fine and deft shot towards the far stanchion, going close.
Cameron Stone and Ben Martin had a quick and clever interchange for Cramond in the right back zone before pressing forward but Bonnyrigg rescued the ball and had soon won the game’s first corner, following up with continued pressure on the Cramond goal. The home side’s Kesar Hassan made a long clearance after preventing a goal-scoring opportunity for Bonnyrigg and Brodie McDiarmid picked it up and was able to play a good pass down the line to Jack Howard on the attack.
Again McDiarmid was showing his creative side with a lobbed pass into the path of a colleague in the box but Bonnyrigg’s Matthew Blakewell showed composure and dealt with it, heading the ball backwards to his keeper Jack Deegan to collect. Then, Matthew McKinley for Crammond got the ball with fine control and was able to go past a couple of players before being tackled well.
On 9 minutes, Deegan made an excellent save to prevent a Cramond goal after a swift break. Then McDiarmid set about applying the pressure again by coming down the right, cutting inside the box, twisting and turning and winning a corner. This was crossed deep and fast and if any Cramond players had got on the end of it would surely have been a chance but it bounced right on through the area.
Soon Bonnyrigg’s Paul Allan turned well in attack, dropped off and laid on a good pass out to Reece Bertram down the right who slowed down the attack and returned the ball with intelligence to Allan. Cramond had retrieved the ball in defence with McDiarmid with another ball down the right to Howard followed by Ben Martin going looking for the ball with a fine run. Matthew McKinley saw it but it was well intercepted.
The pressure from Cramond continued as McDiarmid got to the byline on the right and did well to pull the ball back to Howard in the centre. His nicked shot was good and well considered but scooped past the wrong side of the post and into the side netting.
Bonnyrigg had their chance to go on the attack with Allan winning the ball and passing forward to Andrew Denholm before more pressure from Cramond lead to a corner which was crossed deep again by McDiarmid and reached Lewis Brodie who took one touch and then fired it up in to the roof of the net to make it 1-0 to the home side.
Bonnyrigg broke forward from the restart and Denholm got a chance running into the box but Cramond stood fast and marshalled the ball out for a goal kick. Then they were up the other end with good play down the left wing by Alfie Torbet and McKinley leading to a corner. McDiarmid took it well once again and a snap side-footed shot was cleared well by Abrahams for Bonnyrigg off the line.
It allowed a break with some excellent play for Bonnyrigg, Abrahams releasing a side-foot pass to his team mate who came inside and shot low and hard to the near post forcing Cramond’s GK into the save.
On the 19th minute, Cramond extended their lead with a great run through the centre by Martin being seen and located by McDiarmid with a first time ball, excellently executed. Martin took it in his stride and glanced it past the on-rushing keeper to make it 2-0.
McDiarmid was soon involved again, stepping inside on the edge of the box and shooting low and hard to the bottom right of the goal. Deegan in goal for Bonnyrigg made a fantastic save, palming it on to the post after a stretching dive to his side. It was a bittersweet moment though as the landing was obviously awkward to have caused a strain and Deegan came off in some pain to be replaced by Aidan Gibb.
At 27 minutes, Andrew Denholm collected the ball and dropped off, playing a well timed pass for Rose teammate Allan to get on to but Cramond’s Charlie Cumming did excellently to come in between and shield the ball for his keeper to retrieve.
At the half hour mark, Sean O’Donnell for Bonnyrigg laid on a great through ball to Paul Allan whose first touch in to the area set up his next brilliantly, and suddenly a fizzing low shot diagonally in to the bottom right of the goal had brought it back to 2-1 for the away side.
At the restart, Rose carried on playing with verve and zip, piling on the pressure seeking out an equaliser but Cramond broke away down the right and Gibb came off his line for Bonnyrigg with a great call and collected the ball.
For Cramond, McDiarmid had a sweet turn in the midfield and tried a through ball but Ethan Singh saw it and intercepted. His clearance eventually found a Cramond foot though and came back forward winning a free kick in a dangerous position for the home team. It was crossed in and headed over the bar for the final act of the first half.
Sunday, 27 October 2013 21:30

Half time changes prompt fine Leith comeback

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In the concave bowl of Davidson’s Mains park, set against the browning leaves of autumn and the shining sun of winter, Cramond FC welcomed a Leith side with whom, through a developing  rivalry, they are becoming ever more familiar.
In a cracking contest which produced 7 goals, Cramond made a blistering start, taking the lead only 2 minutes into the game. Leith were then set the challenge of getting level in the next 5 by their coach. They waited a little longer than that but still achieved the objective before Cramond replied to take a lead into the break.
As it turned out the game was won through the tactical changes made by the Leith coach at half time, bringing on a raft of subs and slightly altering the formation. The front 2 played with a fluid link through an extra attacking midfielder and the more compact midfield and defensive block in the Leith side proved harder for Cramond to break down.
Supported by dynamic wing play, Leith were deadly in attack for a period of fifteen minutes in the second half when the game was essentially settled.
Cramond should take heart though. Their performance deserved a much more favourable scoreline.
After a brazen distribution around the back four and the keeper from kick off, Cramond switched rapidly to attack mode and send Richard Kerr scampering off down the left inside channel and into the area. A minute or so later Leith’s Ewan Stark attempted a cute spun flick inside the Cramond box into his oncoming colleague. Back in midfield James Burt then showed composure to set up a run into the area from Lee Thomson who’s touch was good but pushed the ball a little too far to reach a follow up cross.
As Stark stepped inside and sent a curling shot from the left just passed the upright with his right, Leith were threatening to make an opening before Cramond’s Rowan Fife laid on his number 10, Elliot Taylor who hit a powerful shot in to the Leith goal to make it 1-0 to the home side.
Leith promptly got a rise from the coach and a new ball were called for – the two aren’t connected but the Cramond shot certainly did. “You’ve got 5 minutes to get back into the game lads!” was the proposition and his team dutifully upped the intensity and set about their passing game.
It was a release in the Leith pressure which caused the next meaningful attack though and it came from Cramond’s Aiden Quinn playing at number 9, who surged through the midfield, passed short to a team mate and a foul and free kick was the outcome. Elliot Taylor hit a good strike but the wall did its job and the keeper, Aaron King was able to pounce on the loose ball.
At the ten minute mark, Stark threaded a through ball to Rory Pilbearn who nipped and tucked inside with a surging run. Shortly after, Calum Smart nutmegged high in attack creating an opportunity and taking a good low left footed shot. Then his teammate Stark got to the by-line and lofted a good deep cross which had Liam Lynch in the Cramond goal reaching and concerned as it looped above him and nearly crept in at the far post.
Liam had showed good body shape collecting a host of Leith’s low and hard shots with confidence and cutting out a fair few crossed balls aswell.
On 20 minutes, a high ball out of defence was taken well on the chest, controlled on the ground, turned and slotted out wide to the right by Leith’s number 9, Smart, showing the patience to wait for support which came from a marauding Jay McManus who with a fine touch took the play in to the area centrally and hit a low hard left footed strike passed the onrushing Lynch and into the bottom corner.
The coach’s plea had been heard but it was soon exceeded as Leith won a penalty that was saved minutes later.
Cramond were by no means being overrun though and shortly followed a burst out of defence and a long low pass from midfield forward towards Richard Kerr. The Leith central defenders were let down by the skid on the turf surface, now wet from a little rain, and Kerr broke free and took an early strike which didn’t allow the keeper to set himself. The ball flew from his left boot and into the back of the net to regain the lead for Cramond FC.
At the half hour mark, Elliot Taylor collected the ball on the edge of the Leith area, turned inside and was brought down for a dangerous free kick but the ball was blasted over just above the bar.
Again Taylor, with a good and direct run, earned a corner and now it was the home side pressing home their dominance and looking to take a further advantage into half time. Aiden Quinn was released out wide straight from a Leith free kick, he passed it to Kerr who returned it for a completed one-two collecting it on the edge of the area and jinking inside to hit a looping and dipping shot around and just passed the right hand post.
At half time, Cramond were in the ascendency and showing some inspired movement, taking the lead into the oh so crucial break.


Portobello High School
Broughton High School
Senior Lothian Schools FA - East
25 October 2013
Portobello hosted Broughton in a tie between two of only three teams in the division, with a 100% record still intact. Portobello had hit thirteen goals in victories over Holy Rood and Preston Lodge. Broughton had scored twenty in their wins over Ross High, Castlebrae and Newbattle. Both had conceded a few at the other end, so all signs pointed towards a high scoring game.
After an end to end opening ten minutes, the home team took the lead courtesy of Kieran Grant. This was followed by a headed goal midway through the half by Aaron Murrell, doubling Portobello's advantage.
With Broughton on the ropes, Portobello continued to flood forward and scored a third through Joseph Fennel, putting them well in control of the math at the interval.
Half Time: Portobello High School 3-0 Broughton High School
The home side continued where they left off after the break and chalked up another goal from another different goalscorer - Aaron Murrell making it 4-0.
Broughton stemmed the tide and prevented any further damage, but still remained four goals behind with the match approaching the final twenty minutes. However, a glimmer of hope came for the visitors when Azad Okan set up David Scobie to apply the finish. Scobie then doubled his and Broughton's tally, when he was on hand to knock home a rebound and reduce the deficit further.
The momentum was now well and truly with the away side and they scored again with ten minutes remaining through Daniel McIvor, to pull back to within a goal of their opponents. Five minutes from time the teams were all square. Okan was brought down inside the area and Scobie sealed his hat-trick with a composed finish.
With seconds remaining it appeared as though both sides would have to settle for a point, however there was one twist remaining. Broughton pressed up the field for one final attack and Lee Hunter was on hand to divert the ball into the back of the net, sparking wild celebrations.
Heart-break for Portobello, but Broughton stay in top spot.
Full Time: Portobello High School 4-5 Broughton High School
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 21:41

Currie dump out Cavalry in cup upset

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I think myself and fellow YFS Journalist and Evening News writer Scott Thomson got a taste of all 4 seasons on this sunday afternoon at Meggetland. Currie Star produced a magical performance, knocking out 1st Division Cavalry Park in the Colin Greenhill Memorial Trophy, and more than deserved their win. An inspired performance from Kyle Dixon along with his two goals gave Currie the win in the end. Cavalry took the lead through an own goal from a Harry Davies cross just 4 minutes in. However, a moment of magic from Kyle Dixon got Currie back on level terms with a spectacular looping effort 18 yards out over Cavalry keeper Lewis Whitelaw. To round off a top performance, Dixon slotted home his second and which proved to be the winner from an unfortunate error from Cavalry's Alexander Simpson. 
It was the first real attack of the game which brought the first goal of the match. Full back Sam Laverty picking out playmaker Harry Davies on the right hand side of the 18 yard box, and his clipped ball in took a deflection off of a Currie defender, and past the helpless Callum Thomson in the Currie sticks. From my angle, couldn't see who put the ball in, but he was certainly under pressure from Cavalry striker and former Tynecastle team mate of mine David Lindsay. A great start for Cavalry in a game that they were very much the favourites going into due to them being a 1st Division side, whereas Currie are sitting mid-table in the 2nd tier. 1-0 Cavalry. 
Straight from the Currie kick off, powerhouse striker Mark McGovern got on the end of a great switch pass from Domenico Pacitti. McGovern took the ball down on his chest, leaving Brandon Archibald the Cavalry centre half for dead, and rifling a shot that stung the palms of Cavalry keeper Lewis Whitelaw, and Robbie Renwick, another former Tynecastle team mate of mine, clearing the danger. McGovern playing as the lone striker was causing Archibald and Renwick problems all afternoon. 
There weren't many clear cut chances for either team in the first half, and the game was more of a battle than a football game. Cavalry almost doubled their lead 23 minutes into the game, when Davies found room in the centre of the pitch, feeding Ross Lamb on the right wing with a brilliant half volley pass. Lamb's touch was expertly put into his own path and his low drilled cross was almost inch perfect for striker Lindsay put the ball just too quick for him to reach. A great move almost ending up with Cavalry scoring a second goal.
It wasn't too much later though that Currie leveled the game. A long ball from centre half Liam Hutchison was once again expertly taken down by McGovern, and Dixon picked up the loose ball, chipping it over Cavalry left back James Ahari. On the right corner of the 18 yard box, with his weaker left foot, he fired an unstoppable looping shot which could not have been better placed beyond the despairing dive of Whitelaw, and into the top corner to give Currie the equaliser. A brilliant piece of skill to chip the ball over Ahari's head then to get the accuracy with his weaker foot was some goal! 1-1 now, game on!
The remaining 10 minutes of the first half was very disappointing with not many chances and the ball just being played long most of the time. Cavalry did attempt to play football but it just wasn't their day as passes were going astray, and the players seemed to lack desire and hunger that would be expected from a 1st Division team. Half time came and the score was level, with Currie more than holding their own and deservedly being level at the break.
With an impressive 4-0 win at home against division two team Edinburgh South FC, Spartans FC Reds sealed their spot in the second round of John McConnell Memorial Cup last Sunday. Although the away side defended very well and did not allow the first division team many scoring chances, Spartans were worthy winners in the end for they controlled the match from start to finish.
After six minutes, Spartans tapped home when left-back Ross Thomson caught Edinburgh South’s defence napping with a long cross delivered from within Spartans' own half. Matt Brady lifted the ball over goalkeeper Jordan Thomson and maybe it would have bounced into the empty goal anyway. However, a second Spartans’ forward who was standing in an offside position deemed it necessary to slam home into an empty goal himself which did not leave the referee any other option but to disallow the goal.
In the following minutes, Spartans dominated the match, won most of the challenges and outnumbered Edinburgh South in midfield as every Spartans player made himself available again immediately after having passed the ball to a team mate. Edinburgh South had a tough time trying to find out Spartans’ intentions as the home side constantly switched from playing short passes to swinging in cross balls. Also, Spartans players changed positions among each other frequently which made it hard for Edinburgh South to defend properly. Nevertheless, the away side did an extraordinarily good job in keeping Spartans away from their goal. Although Spartans were clearly dominating the match throughout the first half, they were not able to create really good chances.
But 10 minutes before half time, Spartans eventually opened the scoring. Daniel Sutherland got hold of the ball in midfield and passed to Brady who entered the box and released a drive into the bottom left corner of the net.
Only two minutes after that, Daniel Healey added a second after Ogulcan Yildirim had delivered a low cross from the left wing which did not only outsmart Edinburgh South’s defence but also caught Thomson on the wrong foot. The ball had actually been intended for Brady who was standing only three yards from the goal line but the Spartans forward missed the ball. Luckily, Healey was standing just behind him and had no trouble knocking the ball into the empty goal from close range.
Tuesday, 15 October 2013 17:31

Peebles pummel 10-man Spartans

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The game between Peebles FC and Spartans FC Reds in the Ken Ritchie cup at Under 13 level was a game of two halves. The game took place in Peebles with the final score being 6-0 to the home side. Spartans had to play the full game with ten men due to injuries and absences. Peebles completed dominated in the first half scoring four goals. Spartans came back stronger in the 2nd , playing some great football but being at a huge disadvantage did not help their case.

At 11 o’clock the ball started rolling and Spartans came quicker out the blocks. The first chance came to Spartans 8 minutes in, but Luke Houten of Peebles managed to make a vital block. This was soon to be turned on its head as three minutes later Jordan Hogarth scored a great long shot from ‘miles out’. It went right in the top bag.

This was quickly followed up 14 minutes in when number 7 Jules Carrie received a great long lobbed ball from Jordan Hogarth and was able to send it home. Not even a minute later another Peebles player got on the score sheet. Joe Ryalls received the ball on the edge of the Spartans box, he then took a couple of touches working himself into the box where he was able to shoot across the keeper. His shot rattled the underside of the bar. With a bit of luck the ball made its way into the back of the net.

During this time period Peebles had all the ball and play but the attitude of the Spartans players was brilliant as their heads never went down once and they continued to battle. This was always going to be a tough game for Spartans given their situation and it got tougher 20 minutes in when Jordan Hogarth got himself on the score sheet again. When he shot, everyone’s first thought would have been ‘what is he thinking?’ but he clearly made the right decision. Jordan picked the ball up just inside Spartans half and took a touch in front of him and hit it right in the left hand top corner. It was a possible ‘goal of the season’ contender.

Spartans frantically got themselves together and started to play some nice passing football. Towards the end of the first half all the chances fell to Spartans. Out of the few number 11 Cai Macdonald came closest in 34th minutes, troubling the keeper from range. This theme of long shots flourished throughout the first half.
Friday, 18 October 2013 00:00

Courageous Rose stun City with huge comeback

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Being down by three goals at half time is demoralising and does not leave much hope to do better in the second half. But in football almost anything is possible. Bonnyrigg Rose Reds proved this in their league match against Edinburgh City Blacks last Sunday. After a disastrous first half, the away team was 3-0 behind. However, a courageous performance in the second half earned them an astonishing 5-3 victory for the Midlothian side.
Both teams had not got off to a great start to the season and hence, it was not surprising that at the beginning of the match, both sides were content at keeping the ball in their own halves and playing safe passes in order to become a bit more self confident.

After four minutes, Edinburgh City Blacks made their first effort to attack and were immediately rewarded for this with the opening goal of the match. Findlay Smith and Kieran Scant broke through on the right wing with a fine combination and delivered a cross into the box which found Angus Webster, who headed in from 9 yards.

The home team dominated the match from that moment on and had a couple of good scoring opportunities, whereas Bonnyrigg Rose Reds had a rough time against Edinburgh City Blacks’ well-organised defence. In the 25th minute, the home side extended their lead. Two defending players of Bonnyrigg Rose were not able to clear the ball properly on the left wing so that Scant got hold of it and swung a pinpoint cross over goalkeeper Sean Fraser to Max Dunbar who netted from close range to make it 2-0.

Only six minutes later, Edinburgh City Blacks scored again. Michael Kavanagh was given the ball 25 yards away from the goal. Rather than unleashing a drive which may have stuck due to a number of defenders that were standing in front of the Edinburgh City midfielder, Kavanagh decided to rely on his accuracy and curled the ball into the bottom left corner.
Sunday, 13 October 2013 16:23

Cavalry edge to victory over Star

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Cavalry Park Colts came out on top after a fiercely contested South East Region Division 2 encounter against Currie Star FC on Sunday afternoon. Goals from Stephen Peat and Callum Hamilton early in the second half gave the home side a strong lead, and a spirited comeback from the visitors saw them pull a goal back but Cavalry Park remained resilient to record an important three points.
An even first half was characterised by a fierce battle for possession in the midfield areas, with neither side shying away from a tackle. Kyle Dixon had the first effort of the match within the opening three minutes, the Currie midfielder striking a shot from range that Cavalry Park goalkeeper Euan Lennox was on hand to tip over the bar.
Currie Star started the stronger, but found their attempts to get forward frequently thwarted by a well organised Cavalry Park defence. A deep free kick delivered by Mark McGovern was met by a strong header after twelve minutes, but again Lennox was equal to the effort.
Colts grew into the game, but neither side was quite managing to get behind the opposition’s defence. A fantastic block by Currie Star’s Liam Hutchison prevented an excellent shooting opportunity for the home side after fifteen minutes.
Sean Gilhooley was causing problems for the visitors with his excellent ball control and intelligent passing, but the opening half was mostly characterised by a string of fouls and half-chances from set pieces. 
Saturday, 12 October 2013 20:06

Windsor and Leith tie ends goalless

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A goalless draw was the outcome of Saturday’s tie between Musselburgh Windsor 96 and Leith Athletic. While both teams played some good football throughout the match, there were ultimately no goals to brighten up what was a cold and wet afternoon at Pinkie.
The first half of the game was evenly contested between the two sides. Neither team seemed to hold an advantage in terms of possession or chances created. The first on-target effort of the opening fourty-five minutes came from Musselburgh’s Scott Chapman. The Windsor captain’s free-kick was powered towards goal, troubling Leith’s keeper Kieran Davidson who did well to hold onto the ball with Dean Ballantyne closing in.
Chapman was to prove influential twice more in the early stages. Another well executed free-kick found the head of Robbie Watson at the back post but he couldn’t convert the chance. Then moments later, Chapman played a wonderful defence-splitting pass through to Dean Ballantyne in the box. With only the keeper to beat however, Ballantyne put his shot just wide of the target. This was perhaps Musselburgh’s best chance of the match at the time.
Leith Athletic were keen to keep the ball low and were stringing passes together excellently in midfield. A great move up the left wing manufactured by Ross Davies and Callum Mein presented an opening but Aaron Congleton of Musselburgh tracked back well to see the ball out. It was the away side who came closest to scoring when Sean Melvin brilliantly shifted the ball from his right foot to his left and unleashed a shot which rattled off the cross bar. Leith continued to press and may have found an opener if not for a well organised Musselburgh defence. Defender Stuart Mackay was the stand out man in the first half, showing composure on the ball to find the right pass and pressed forward himself when the opportunity arose.
Musselburgh ended the second half with a well worked piece of football. A one-two pass between Steven Kean and Lewis Thompson initiated an attack on the left wing before the ball was squared to Callum Mein. Taking on the shot with his first touch, Mein couldn’t keep the ball down and watched it sail over the bar to the agony of the Musselburgh support. The passage of play itself perhaps deserved a goal. It was not to be however and the sides went into half-time with the score line still standing at nil-nil.