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South East Region (403)

A goal either side of the interval was enough for Haddington Athletic to see off Penicuik Athletic and lift the Polar Foods Cup at Millfield. 
Luke Cowan opened the scoring on 30 minutes before Leo Harrison doubled the lead six minutes after the break. Ben McManus netted with five minutes to go; but it was too little too late. 
The game started in a lively fashion, with Penicuik winning a couple of corners and Haddington threatening on the break with the ball in behind the back four, with early chances falling to Jackson Marrins and Harrison respectively. 
Owen Terris tested Ben McIntosh with a long range effort before Harrison once again found himself in on goal, only to be judged offside after rounding the Penicuik keeper. 
Penicuik’s first big chance came through McManus. The striker found a yard in the box as the ball sat up kindly to him, but Cameron Bell was equal to it as the shotstopper knocked the ball away to his left. 
Luke Cowan fired in a dangerous looking freekick in from the left wing which goalkeeper, McIntosh parried away.  
Just moments later, Haddington would win a freekick on the opposite side. This time Cowan made no mistake with the dead ball as he looped the strike over the keeper and into the far corner.  
This time it was Penicuik’s turn to try their luck from a set piece. Rory Scott struck the ball extremely sweetly and although it was heading goal-wards; it arrowed straight into the palms of Bell. 
A goal worthy of the occasion was the difference between the sides as they went in with Haddington one goal to the good. 
A convincing victory from Lasswade Thistle in the quarter-final of the Peter O’Neill Cup helped keep their quadruple dream alive. Goals from Ritchie, Purdie, Mckenzie, Galloway and a Max Dowling double, consigned Civil Service Strollers to a second defeat in two weeks to the Lasswade side following a 4-0 victory in the South East Cup the week before.
Lasswade Thistle are currently sitting three points clear at the top of the South East Region First Division having only lost one match all season and will have been looking to replicate this form heading into the quarter-final tie. Civil Service Strollers, on the other hand, knew they had to win to keep their hopes of achieving silverware this season alive.
Lasswade started the better of the two sides with Dowling testing the Strollers keeper from the edge of the box early on, but Louis Aris was down well to collect the strike. There was little Aris could do two minutes later however when Millar Ritchie’s bullet header sailed past him following a good cross from David Malloy from the right wing to make the score 1-0.
The Lasswade side continued to control the game as they searched for a second goal and in the eighth-minute, they could have had a penalty following Finlay Aitken’s tackle on Ritchie, however, the referee judged the challenge to be a fair one.
Civil Service Strollers were beginning to come into the match with Leo Murray bringing the ball forward well from right-back. However, the strollers side were struggling to execute the final ball.
Thistle came close to doubling their advantage when an under-hit pass back to Aris was intercepted by Ritchie who tried to slot the ball past the onrushing keeper. However, an extended leg from the Strollers stopper was enough to put the ball onto the post and out for a corner.
Strollers were almost equal in the 15th minute when Dylan Mckeller’s shot from the edge of the box looked goal-bound if not for a great save by Joshua Lothian in the Lasswade goal.
Despite a promising spell for Strollers, five minutes later following some pressure from Max Purdie, Thistle were 2-0 after Purdie won possession and slotted in past Aris to double his side's advantage.
The Civil Service side began to pile on the pressure in search of a comeback and Michael Leslie looked to have released Connon Pettigrew, however, brave goalkeeping from Lothian ensured the score remained 2-0 going into the break
Elijah Anukam came off the bench to score a second half hat-trick as Portobello edged out an injury depleted St Bernards in what proved to be a tight battle at Portobello High School. 
With a place in the last 16 of the Kenny McLean cup up for grabs, chances were a plenty at both ends of the field. On the balance of play, St Bernards were marginally on top, although the sides went in level at the interval. 
However, the second half was a different story and even though the visitors continued to create opportunities, it was always Portobello in the ascendancy. 
It was a bright start for Saints, as Callum Lumsden early ball was dealt with by Dylin Izatt before Ryan Kerr scrambled the ball off the line at the other end following Ewan McKinaly’s strike. 
McKinaly would be at the heart of the Portobello attack once again, surging through the middle on the break before fizzing an effort from the edge of the area just wide of the left hand post. 
Jack Fall tested Jamie Stables with a free kick well outside the area but it was a fairly routine save for the St Bernards stopper. Up the other end, Lumsden saw another effort at goal caught following a ball over the top from Daniel Suala. 
Chances continued to rain at both ends as Ricky Waugh sliced a speculative volley wide of target and Finlay Halton looped an effort just wide of the top corner.  
Ewan Mcleannan failed to connect with an inviting cross into the middle before Saints had a penalty claim waved away by the referee. 
A key moment came when St Bernards' Kerr had to come off injured and couldn't continue. The visitiors didn't have any subsitutes on the bench and therefore had to play the lengthy remainder of the match with ten men. 
The ten men would end the first period with a succession of corners, the final of which saw Mcleannan's strike blocked from close range and the ball was eventually scrambled to safety as the half came to a close goalless. 

A flurry of goals, late in each half, aided Glenrothes Strollers in their clinical performance against Real Fife Blues in the Fife football development League.

Strollers could not have asked for a better start in the fixture when Dylan Ritchie showed some brilliant pace down the right-wing to eventually cut-in and strike one into the top left corner in the second minute, giving the hosts an early lead.

Strollers were unlucky not to double their lead straight away, but a strong hand from Real Fife Blues keeper Hamish Rankie denied the powerful effort from Harvey Christie in the sixth minute. Unexpectedly, after absorbing a good amount of pressure, Real Fife Blue’s went on a dangerous counter-attack which resulted in a close ranged finish from target man Craig Meston, levelling things in Glenrothes in the seventh minute of the match.

Christie was once again denied by a brilliant stop from Rankie in the 15th minute, who was undoubtedly going to have a very busy match between the sticks. Bailey Patterson was up next to test Rankie, but once again the keeper won this duel, in the 27th minute.

The long period of pressure from the hosts eventually paid off when a perfectly weighted cross from captain Innes Roberts found the head of the tall Ellis Davie who expertly headed home and put the home side deservedly in front, in the 34th minute. Strollers instantly got themselves a third when Robbie Westwaters latched onto a loose ball out on the left-wing and comfortably slotted it in the far-right corner in the 37th minute. The momentum continued late in the half when Mitchell Sharp created space for himself and got the Strollers their fourth of the match in the 38th minute and being the climax of the half.

An inventive half volley from Ben Smith proved to be the winner for Currie as they edged out Edinburgh South by a goal, in a dogged battle at Double Hedges. 
The visitors raced into an early lead on nine minutes as Fergus Wright pounced, but only to find themselves trialling a further seven minutes later. 
Well-worked goals either side of half time from Wright and Smith sealed the deal for Currie, who as a result, will move level on points with Edinburgh South, with a further three games in hand. 
Terry Innes stung the palms of Sonny Boyle early on with a low drive from outside the area and the Edinburgh South keeper could only parry behind at the expense of a corner. 
From the resulting kick, the ball found a way through to the back post via Finn McKay, and when it fell to the feet of Wright there was only one thing on his mind as he deftly lifted to ball over the helpless Boyle to open the scoring. 
It was only a matter of five minutes until the home side were back on level terms, all thanks to Aidan Blair’s curling free kick, which bent away from goalkeeper Fraser Mooney, who was left clutching at thin air. 
Moments later and the score line had been turned on its head. The ball fell kindly to midfield runner Charlie Cowdy, who set himself with the first touch before firing low and hard across Mooney with the second, to put Edinburgh South in control for the first time in the match. 
Wright struck his second of the day on 23 minutes as he collected the ball on the left wing, before stepping inside his man and calmly rolling the ball underneath Boyle and into the far corner, to equal the score at two. 
It was Edinburgh South who were in the ascendancy in the lead up to the interval. Callum Gilchrist and Ailsa Boyle both put efforts straight at Mooney in goal, before Ciaran Leslie blazed wide from long distance. 
The final chance also fell the way of the home side, as a powerful low cross was parried out by Mooney to Cowdy, who surely would’ve scored if it wasn’t for a fantastic last ditch challenge from Josh Baird, as the sides went in tied at the break. 

Reuben Flapan stood his ground to save the crucial penalty from Igor Sobiesiek in a dramatic Charles Kelvin Cup semi final on a blustery winters morning at Balerno High School.

Currie Star Colts raced into an early lead on 13 minutes but found themselves going into the break down by two goals.

However the home side fought back twice in the second half to force a penalty shoot-out, including a last minute equaliser from Ben Smyth.

Civil Service Strollers started the brighter of the two, as Marc Shortel guided a loose ball onto the foot of a post before Jamie Kerr curled over the crossbar from the edge of the area.

Currie Star were at their best on the counter attack in the early stages, goalkeeper Rory James came to smother a few crosses, as well as Smyth and Santosh Rowe both going close.

The breakthrough for Currie Star came through the impressive Rowe, who picked the ball up from Patrick Milne on the left wing before drifting inside and rifling a shot into the top left corner past the helpless James in goal. 

The equaliser came almost moments later, Shortel showed some nimble footwork to reach the byline, before looking up and rolling to Sobiesiek inside the area. The midfielder sidestepped a challenge before drilling the ball across goalkeeper Flapan and into the bottom right corner.

The visitors then turned the score on its head on the 20 minute mark as Calvin Paterson got the run on his marker to prod home at the near post from a corner.

Chances followed at both ends in the lead up to halftime, Flapan swiped away to clear a bobbling strike from Kerr and then Smyth passed up two reasonable chances to equalise at the other end, the second of which - a towering header from a corner which was held onto by James.

With the half coming to a close, Sobiesiek picked out Adam Smith with an inch-perfect diagonal free kick. Smith then brought the ball down for teammate Shortel, but the striker saw his attempt smartly stopped as Flapan parried behind.

A corner followed, and as the ball fell to Smith, he still had a great deal to do. The winger spun with a neat dragback before bending the ball perfectly into the top right corner from the edge of the area to double his side’s lead on the stroke of halftime.


Sunday, 03 December 2017 16:12

Peebles come back from the dead to stun Spartans

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Peebles fought back to overcome a three goal deficit in the final half hour and leave Spartans stunned in a thrilling encounter at the top of the table at the Gyle.
In a game in which neither side had a natural goalkeeper, Spartans took an early lead through Thomas Walton and then added to it with strikes from Rory Singleton and Matthew Lyndon either side of half time to give them a firm grip on proceedings.
However, Peebles weren’t to lie down and found joy getting in behind the Spartans back four. The first goal from Brodie Mackenzie provided a platform to build on and lifted the visitors spirits - who would go on to turn the match on its head with a sensational comeback.
The away side enjoyed the majority of the ball in the opening minutes but were caught out on the counter as Will Lancaster beat the offside trap and raced in on goal. Goalkeeper Ruaridh Smith was out fast to block but could only divert the initial strike into the path of Walton, who cooly tucked the ball into the empty net from close range.
More chances followed at either end: Lancaster dropped a shoulder to evade his man but ball into the middle was comfortably claimed by Smith. Robbie Smellie then drifted in from the left flank but his right footed effort was beaten away by Matthew Lydon and then cleared to safety.
Scorer would soon turn provider as Walton teed up the onrushing Singleton. The midfielder swept home a clean right footed strike from the edge of the area to double the lead as the ball nestled into the bottom left corner.
A brilliant last-ditch challenge denied Peebles a route back into the game before Lancaster chased down and latched onto a long ball over the top with goalkeeper, Smith, caught in no mans land. Luckily from his point of view Jack Murphy was back and timed a tackle to perfection before the lively forward could pull the trigger.
Spartans may feel they could’ve had more - Front pairing Walton and Lancaster both failed to convert from a whipped cross from the right wing and Toby Jamieson had a shot blocked that eventually trickled through to the goalkeeper as the home side went into the break two up.
It came down to the pot luck of a penalty shootout to split two evenly matched sides, as Arniston Rangers emerged as victors in a thrilling cup tie at Birkenside Park over divisional rivals Redhall Star who had battled back from two goals down.
It wasn’t quite a game of two halves, although Arniston Rangers led 2-0 at the interval. Redhall came out in the second half having switched to a back three and moments after the change, the game began to swing in their favour.
The visitors deservedly pegged it back to two each and despite an extremely open final 15 minutes, neither side could find the winner with penalties looming large.
The first ten minutes gave an indication of how the game was going to go, back and forth with neither team able to grab a hold of the tie, without a great deal of chances being created.
However, it was the home who struck first, a corner sent into the box that wasn’t dealt with on the bounce. The ball sat up nicely for Ross Durnion who lashed the ball into the top corner from close range. 
Redhall pushed forwards in search of a swift reply, with Ryan Munro and Robbie Haines both coming close in the opening 15 minutes.
The visitors continued to created chances, a neat exchange between Aayan Khalid Sharif and Sam Higgins sent the latter in behind the back three, but the angle was tight and led to a comfortable save for Logan Black.
Another chance fell the way of the visitors after 24 minutes when Munro picked off a kick out by Black. The winger watched in agony as his clipped effort bounced across the face of goal with the goalkeeper well beaten.
Haines then forced Black into a reflex save high to the keeper’s right. From the resulting corner Arniston Rangers would spring a sweeping counter attack, which was drilled into the far corner by Durnion once again. Jamie Jones, who’d had limited action until this point, found himself picking the ball out of the net for a second time as the half time whistle went, 2-0 at the break.
Four goals in a frantic five minute period in the middle of the second half was enough for Hutchison Vale to edge out Musselburgh Windsor at Pinkie Saint Peter’s primary school.
The first half was a close fought encounter but as Taylor Steven put the away side in front on 51 minutes, the pattern of the game changed and Hutchison Vale made sure to impose their dominance of the later stages with a further three goals.
The visitors definitely started the brighter of the sides, Bruno Davidson dragged an effort wide inside the opening minute. It was a sign of more to come.
Hutchie were pushing for the opener, Steven, Davidson and Ciaran Heeps all coming close in the early stages of the match.
Windsor got forward well and counter attacks became more frequent as the half went on, Tyler Pryde creating the best of the opportunities as he got to the byline but as he tried to square the ball across the face it was cut out and a superb challenge from Rhyad Jelly put the ball behind for a corner a minute later. The corner was taken short by Daniel Combe to Fergus Williams, who lashed an effort from a tight angle on the right wing off the foot of the post. Windsor’s best chance of the opening period.
A free kick on the halfway line from Williams was inches from connecting with the boot of skipper Jacob Shyngle and moments later Hutchie were on the counter with Keir Brown beating his man and putting a low cross into the feet of Heeps but his low effort was blocked by Liam Henderson.
Windsor turned up the pressure at the end of the first half, Combe whipping a cross into the middle which was palmed away by goalkeeper Logan Robertson who was then clattered into by Finn Thomson and a free kick was awarded to the away side.
The final action of the first half came when Thomson sweetly struck a free kick from 25 yards that forced Robertson to tip the ball behind for a corner at full stretch as the sides went in locked together at the break.
Wednesday, 20 September 2017 21:41

Four goals as Hutchie and Cavalry Park share points

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A thrilling contest, which either side will have felt they could have won, ended in Hutcheson and Cavalry Park both coming away with a point.
Hutchison Vale got off to the perfect start, with Daniel Beveridge finding some space on the left wing, before crossing in for Brandon Hunter to smash home from around 15 yards out. His finish found the top left corner, not giving the goalkeeper a chance.
The early goal had an almost electric effect on Cavalry Park, who came alive. They had several set piece opportunities, including a free kick and two corners in very quick succession.
None of these came to anything, all being cleared, but Cavalry Park kept at it.
The ball was played forward, and out towards the left, in much the same manner as Hutchison’s earlier goal, where Owen Ranton hared after it, trying desperately to stop the ball from going out of play. He just flicked it back in time, but the ball fell to Hutchison defender.
Undeterred, Ranton tackled him, winning the ball, and suddenly finding himself with nothing between him and the goalkeeper but 30 yards of 3G turf. This he rapidly set about closing down, before unselfishly attempting to pass across towards Charles McKinnon.
A Hutchison defender managed to get a foot on it, but succeeded only in pushing the ball past keeper William Miller, and straight into the path of Ranton, who gratefully tucked home from a tight angle into the empty net.
Some might call it a little lucky, but he certainly had earned it. 1-1. Cavalry Park’s good spell carried on, and McKinnon could have put them ahead when he stole possession from Jamie Crawford, but the ball bounced unkindly for him, and Miller was able to gather.
Through this period, Hutcheson had been giving away free kicks away repeatedly, and Cavalry Park were about make them pay for it. From one of these, around about 25 yards from goal, Ranton had the goal in his sights. He ran up, striking the ball right-footed, around the wall, and straight into the diving Miller’s top left corner. It was a great strike, and served to illustrate just how quickly football games can turn.
A few minutes ago, Cavalry Park had been left reeling by the early goal, but had turned things around and they now led, with Ranton helping himself to a fantastic brace in the process.
Not long after, Ranton almost got his hat trick, again escaping down the left, this time electing to shoot. The prodded effort from close range was goal bound, but Miller intervened and batted it away.
However, the game swung once more, with Hutchison coming right back into it. Hunter headed over from another cross, James Gordon saw a slightly speculative right-foot effort from the right hand corner of the penalty area just beat the far post.
With the shots on goal piling up, there was bound to be at least one rewarded. And, just past the half hour mark, Beveridge slotted home with a well-hit right footed
shot to the goalkeeper’s right. The match was level once more, and, on balance, it was probably fair to both sides.
No longer in front, Cavalry Park were determined to restore their advantage. Ranton had another chance for his hat trick a short while later, but Miller denied him again with another crucial save. Conan Murle had a free kick shot from some distance turned behind for a corner by Miller.
Hutchison came within inches of taking the lead again when a cross from Gordon made its way through to Beveridge, who hit the crossbar with his powerful strike. Two minutes later, the referee put an end to a enthralling half, in which both teams had had periods of dominance, with both sides providing a high-quality, very gripping contest.