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On a sunny Sunday afternoon in Airdrie, Tynecastle FC produced a scintillating performance to blitz Lewis United 7-1 at the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie in the SYFA inspire Cup final.

Both sides had come through tough opposition in the semi-final beforehand, with Lewis defeating Rangers SABC 1-0 and Tynecastle seeing off Portobello CFA 2-0.

The two teams were focused and energetic in their warm-ups, but from the start of the game you could see Tynecastle just had that extra bit of composure on the ball to overcome their nervy opponents. Lewis' defence were simply giving the exciting John Robertson and Matthew Dillon far too much space to run into in the final third, with Robertson in particular causing the Lewis back-line all sorts of problems with his direct style of play.

United struggled when they got into the final third to find that killer ball against a strong and composed Tynecastle back four, and Lewis will be disappointed at not testing Kyle Wilson enough throughout the 90 minutes.

Tynecastle started with purpose, and it was clear their biggest threat was down the left-hand side through Sean Ward. The winger was constantly reaching the by-line and getting in behind Harley Stewart. 

Yet for all of their composed play, it was Lewis who could've nicked the lead. Murray Esson, who whipped in several teasing balls throughout, found Blair McKenzie but his toe-poke was well diverted round the post by Wilson.

Esson was doing his defensive duties well at left-back for Lewis, but Tynecastle continued to push forward and constantly looked for the pace of Ward. It led to a deserved lead when the United defence failed to clear a corner, with Robertson hooking it back into the box for Dillon to loop a header over Matthew Buckham and into the net.

Tynecastle were spurred on by the goal - moving the ball around quickly and accurately. Jones was at the heart of all things good for them, with his powerful driving runs from the midfield keeping Lewis on the back-foot. Robertson forced a low save from Buckham before more good work from Ward found Dillon in the box, and when he took a touch to round two defenders he should've done better than to lash over.

The second goal was coming though, and it duly arrived when Robertson was given too much space from 20 yards and hammered home a right-footed effort into the top corner.

Robertson came close again with another drive, but it would be 3-0 as Jones started off a move with a powerful run and linked up with Ward and Robertson before tapping home after having the ball squared to him by the energetic Robertson. Some more half chances fell the Tynecastle side's way, but the fourth came right on half-time when Lewis again failed to deal with a cross ball and Robertson ran through to square for Dillon to tap home.

Hutchison Vale FC lifted the Peter O’Neill Cup on Friday night as they beat St Bernard’s BC despite conceding early in the match. Niall Kemp’s double for St Bernard’s wasn’t enough as goals from Sam Kilboy, Ciaran Heeps and Taylor Steven plus two own goals meant Hutchie left Paties Road victorious.

Regardless of the score, both sides had an incredible effort during the match which was shown at the break where only one goal separated the teams.

St Bernard’s struck first in the 8th minute and it was an incredible to say the least. Finlay Smith fed the ball to inside the area where Niall Kemp met the effort from a volleyed strike on the left-hand side of the penalty box. The ball dipped over the keeper to arrive near the far post and into the back of the net. Kemp was in disbelief that the effort had gone in.

However, the celebrations were cut short as Hutchie equalised in the 16th minute. A ball sent in from a corner on the right-hand side of goal was then flicked on by Matthew Dalglish. The ball then collided with the body of the St Bernard’s defender, sending it into the back of the net.

Moments later, Hutchie doubled their score which sent them into the lead in the 18th minute. Ciaran Heeps played the ball to Bruno Davidson. His run on the left flank allowed him to enter the penalty area to then play the effort across goal where Sam Kilboy tapped the ball into the net.

Five minutes before the break, St Bernard’s attempted to level the score when Corin Brown played a chipped effort into Sam Nicholson on the right side of the area. However, Hutchie keeper, Logan Robertson rushed to collect the effort on the edge of the area before Nicholson could reach it. 

St Bernard’s turned this final around, finally clinching the cup with a penalty halfway through the second half.
The game began under an overcast sky, but Musselburgh got off to red-hot start.
Right from kick-off they were pressuring St Bernard’s with a vicious intensity, the pass from the kick-off was hunted down and intercepted by Nathan Muir. Muir tore through the St Bernard’s defence before unleashing a left foot shot to the left corner of the net.
It literally was the best possible way to get underway for Musselburgh. St Bernard’s were stunned.
The mistake they made with the kick-off is something they are unlikely to make again, but it did not matter now, they were a goal down and it was about to get worse.
Not long after, Muir got through on goal down the middle and tucked home for 2-0. St Bernard’s, up to this point, had barely had a look in, but from this point onward, they started to fight back.
The first of these was a free kick around a quarter of an hour in. Declan Roose put it just over, but the tide had turned.
Sean Smyk took a shot from just inside the penalty area to the right-hand, but it went well wide of the far post. A corner was swung in from the left, the goalkeeper failed to gather, the ball bobbled invitingly at the back post, begging to put in, but no one was there to finish and it remained 2-0.
Finally, the St Bernard’s opener came, although not in the fashion expected.
Roose took a speculative shot on from a long way out. The keeper slipped up and allowed a first goal for St Bernards. Still, he was visibly frustrated at letting his clean sheet slip, especially in such a calamitous fashion.
St Bernard’s were back in the game, and it showed in their play. They seemed a lot more confident in their play. Hamish Tait shot from out wide on the right, but it went wide.
Half time arrived, with Musselburgh a goal up but St Bernard’s playing the better football. 
Friday, 21 April 2017 12:38

Advantage Penicuik in battle for fourth

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Penicuik Athletic Blues took a massive step towards securing a top four finish in Division 1B with a convincing 6-1 win over rivals Peebles.

The Blues went into the match only two points ahead of their opponents with a game in hand, making it a pivotal match in the battle for fourth spot.

Penicuik started the better and went 2-0 up inside half an hour through goals from Mark Deya and Lewis Mason.

Jamie Scott extended the lead in the second half before Keith Kitching hit back for Peebles.

Penicuik then ran away with it at the end with Lewis Wharton scoring a minute from time and Scott adding another two in stoppage time to complete his hat-trick.

It makes catching them a difficult task for Peebles who would have to make up the five point difference in five games, while Penicuik have an extra game to play.

There was an early call to action for Peebles keeper Oliver Gray and he answered it with a top save from Deya.

The 12th minute was a pivotal one as it started with Jordan Sykes striking the post direct from a corner for Peebles, and ended with Deya sticking it in the net after Gray had made a block from Lewis Meechan.

They could have added to their lead with several chances. Meechan’s positive running was a danger and he shot wide when he perhaps had more time than he thought.

Meechan also squared for Deya but Gray made another save.

The second goal did arrive on 28 minutes, Mason scoring at the second attempt after the ball had made its way to him at the far post.

After that Peebles began to force themselves forward more and had some meaningful possession in the final third.

Stan Swain hit a dangerously swerving free kick from 30 yards but Finlay Woodbridge tipped it away from goal.

A shot from Rhys MacDonald just cleared the goal after Keith Kitching had forced his way into the box.

Meechan continued to pose a threat at the other end and a long, jinking run ended with a drive wide of the post.

A fine day greeted the two teams contesting the AC Taxis cup final and set the stage for a fantastic game. Spartans and Craigoroyston did not disappoint.
From the very beginning, it was easy to see the game was going to be open and that chances aplenty. Just a few minutes in, the Spartans got the first of these, when Daniel Cooper cut in from the left wing and shot, but saw his effort well-saved.
It was against the run of play, when, on 10 minutes, Jai Anthony got free down the Craigroyston right, but just as he was lining up his shot, Cameron Laing brought him down in the penalty area, earning the Spartans defender a yellow card and Craigroyston a penalty, which Anthony stepped up to take.
He ran up confidently, but struck the ball straight down the middle and into the arms of the goalkeeper.
Undeterred, Anthony was again put through some minutes later, but his shot was just wide. Not more than a couple of minutes later, there was drama at the other end as Cooper crossed from the left, his ball evading the keeper and leaving an easy tap-in for Daniel Tuck, but he was flagged offside.
It was a wonder how the score was still 0-0, but the deadlock was finally broken when Ben De Vries was played in by a beautiful through ball, which he gave justice to by slotting home.
From here, Spartans assumed control. A corner caused chaos in the Craigroyston penalty area, with the keeper failing to claim and being left stranded. The ball came to De Vries, but with his back to the goal, he had to improvise by attempting an overhead kick, which was on target, but was spectacularly cleared off the line.
However, it would not be long before the next goal came along. The second was very similar to the first, another through ball, another disection of the Craigroyston defence, and another slotted finish to the corner of the net, just this time it was Cooper who profited.
Number three came 6 minutes later, when Tom Harcus’s left-footed shot from the edge of the area went in off the far post.
Cooper was involved again for the fourth goal, making a nice run on the left wing, crossing for De Vries to tap home.
Spartans looked dominant, but the game was about to turn. From a Craigroyston goal kick, the bouncing ball eluded the already booked Laing on the halfway. Likely in just a reflex action, he put his hand up to stop the ball. There was only one course of action for the referee, who gave Laing a second yellow for the deliberate handball, and therefore a red, reducing Spartans to 10 men.
Craigroyston quickly set about taking advantage. From a Spartans corner, they broke down the middle.
They had 4 on 3, and Jai Anthony played through Kini Ravuravinisaki, whose shot was saved. A couple of minutes later the goal came in amazing fashion. Kyle Finlayson saw the goalkeeper off his line and, from 35 yards, tried his luck. The ball was chipped over the keeper, and into the net.

Spartans ran out comfortable winners in the Belmont Vauxhall Cup final, on a day where everything fell perfectly into plan for the Edinburgh side at New Dundas Park, as they hit Peebles for five on their way to cup glory.

The eventual winners created the first chance of the tie with just a minute gone, and it was a sign of things to come. Luke Fyvie would have been disappointed when he missed an excellent opportunity at the back post after Harry Little’s pinpoint cross, however only a minute later Spartans went one better.

Little was once again the tormentor of the Peebles defence as he drove down the wing and fired a low ball across goal where Lusanda Ndlovu was on hand to tap home from close range. His side could hardly have dreamt of a better start, and his day was about to become even better.

A few minutes after a decent effort from Logan Cameron flew over the bar, Spartans lead was doubled on six minutes, and it was Ndlovu who found the target again. Adbou Thiam forced a corner after his long range drive brought the best out of Oliver Gray in Peebles’ goal. From the ensuing corner, a goalmouth scrambled followed, with Ndlovu coming out on top from close range. Spartans had started the cup final flying out of the blocks.

It was now-or-never for Peebles at this early stage in the game, with Rory MacDonald having their first threatening chance of the game straight from kick-off, although his shot never matched his run and it drifted wide of Dylan Tas’ goal.

In the 9th minute the frantic pace to this cup final only continued, when Lewis Scrimger was put through on goal following a neat one-two. He looked set to half the deficit before Daniel Hood nipped in to clear the ball for a corner; a tackle that had to be timed perfectly, and it was.

In the 20th minute Spartans took a huge stride to wrapping up the trophy early on. A lovely looped ball over the top of the Peebles backline from Little found Cameron Brincker who had made a clever run through the middle. He brought down the ball with ease, side-stepped a defender and placed his shot beyond the goalkeeper to give his side a three-goal advantage. It was a goal full of quality and composure, leaving Peebles in a sticky scenario with plenty left to play.

The team facing an uphill battle had a glimmer of hope right on the stroke of half-time. It was a relatively simple yet well-taken goal from Keith Kitching, as he drove through the Spartans defence with the help of a few deflections, and powered a great curling shot into the top corner. It was the perfect way to end a forgettable half, and made the outlook of the second-half more interesting.

As the sun beamed down on a beautiful Spring afternoon at New Victoria Park, it was Tynecastle FC who emerged victorious over Portobello CFA to reach the 2017 SYFA Scottish Cup final, thanks to a brace from striker John Robertson.  

It was a cagey start from both sides, the magnitude of the occasion clearly not lost on the players. In the early stages, neither teams' midfield could take control of the game, and it was Portobello who had the best of the minimal chances. 

Space opened up in the middle of the park for Diste Camara Silva, but his strike from distance went wide of the Tynecastle goal. Moments later, winger Tadgh Flanagan-Woodhead found striker Aidan MacKenzie with a smart pass, but Tynie 'keeper Kyle Wilson was quick off his line to quell any possible danger.  

Tynecastle's first chance came from a dead ball situation, as Alassan Jones' free kick went just wide of the post. Robertson's considerable skill helped Tynecastle take a foothold in the game. The striker glided past several Portobello players, although he was unable to create any clear cut chances.  

However, it wasn't just Robertson's skill that stood out. As MacKenzie attempted to break through the Tynecastle defence, goalkeeper Wilson received a high back pass from his backline, which he took down exquisetly onto his chest, evoking a large round of applause from the crowd. 

The tempo of the game picked up following a Tynecastle penalty claim that was initially awarded by the referee. Robertson once again showed off his quick feet in the box before falling to the ground, with the referee subsequently pointing to the spot, before changing his mind after talking to his assistant. 

Tynecastle ended the half with another chance, with Portobello centre half Jordan Keenan doing well to block the shot of Charlie Green.  

Craigroyston BC bagged five as they came back from two goals down against a tough Edinburgh South CFC Reds side in the final of the Charles Kilvin Cup.

Edinburgh South obtained a two-goal lead by the 20th minute thanks to strikes by Corner and Moran. However, Craigroyston’s impressive comeback saw them take the lead in the 49th minute thanks to goals by Forbes, Smith and Stoddart. With Hanratty adding another two more to secure victory in the cup final tie.

The scoring got underway in the 14th minute with Edinburgh South taking the lead. Robbie Corner dipping free kick 15 yards out on the left-hand side arrived high of the centre of goal leaving keeper, Roy Robertson no chance to save the effort as his side went behind.

Edinburgh South doubled their lead just six minutes later thanks to James Moran’s effort. Prion Khokn flicked in a ball from outside the penalty box to Moran who was inside the box on the right. The Edinburgh South player then slotted the ball into the left-hand side of goal giving his team the upper hand in this cup final.

Having a two-goal deficit to climb back from, Craigroyston managed to get one back before the half time break.

Dean Forbes was played a ball in over the top in the 29th minute, he pushed through the defensive line and calmly slotted the ball low under the keeper to get his side back into the match. 

Edinburgh South CFC came back from a goal down at half time to score three of their own in the second half to beat St Bernards BC Midlothian. This non-stop match displayed great performances from both sides and had several highly impressive strikes by the goal scorers. However, it was Edinburgh South who triumphed and left New Dundas Park with the George Salmon Cup.

The scoring got underway early on as St Bernards took the lead in the 3rd minute. Louie Crawford played the ball from outside the penalty area into Ryan Sim on the left-hand side of the box who shot near post to beat the Edinburgh South keeper, Evan Hawkins and put his team ahead.

Edinburgh South were quick to bounce back from the early goal as they equalised in the 10th minute. Haseeb Saleem squared the ball from the right side of the penalty box to Arham Saleem at the opposite end who had an easy tap into an empty net.

The red side doubled their scoring moments later in the 12th minute. Daniel Thomson linked up well with Haseeb Saleem who set up their first goal to gain their second as he thundered in a strike high into the centre of the goal from the right flank.

Edinburgh South had a chance to add a third goal to their tally as their star player, Haseeb Saleem was brought down in the box and the referee awarded the penalty.
Michael Ward stepped up in the 23rd minute to sink away the strike into the goal but the effort was not on target as the ball flew over the crossbar.

As a result, St Benards took the opportunity to level the score thanks to great team created counter attack in the 30th minute. Robbie McCormack sent in a great ball from the left-hand side to Jake Smith outside the penalty area who subsequently sent in Sim a ball in the box who shot home to bring the scoring to two apiece.

On the stroke of half time St Benards went ahead thanks to easily the goal of the game if not for their season. McCormack dribbled the ball in the 35th minute until he was central of the goal about 15 yards out to then fire in a bullet of a strike that arrived perfectly into the top right hand corner of the goal leaving the keeper no chance of saving the magnificent effort. 

Peebles came out on top of a rip-roaring semi-final, beating Tranent Colts 7-5 to book their place in the final of the Belmont Vauxhall Cup, where they will face Spartans Whites.

Peebles had control at 3-0 at half time and 6-1 after 57 minutes but they lost their grip slightly as Tranent managed to pull it back to 6-4. They clinched it with Keith Kitching’s fifth of the day before Tranent scored again with the last kick, making it an incredible 5 goals scored in the final 13 minutes.

The home side started like a train and opened the scoring after three minutes having already missed two glorious chances.

Fraser Whyte was unfortunate after Rory MacDonald had won the ball and fed him – Jamie Archibald parried his first effort and the ball would not sit nicely for him afterwards.

They came close again when Jordan Sykes’ corner was turned just wide by Kitching.

But the breakthrough was on acquired when Frey MacIver drove down the left flank and what looked like an intended cross ended up in the far corner of the net.

Logan Ritchie could have levelled it up when he beat the keeper but his low effort trickled agonisingly wide.

That was all the more galling for Tranent as they fell further behind on nine minutes. Kitching got off the mark when he collected Lewis Scrimger’s throw in the inside right channel, got into the box and fired a shot across Archibald and in.

Liam Henderson was impressive for Colts and he was almost in after good combination play from Mackenzie Scott and Cameron Sharp but was stopped by an offside call.

It was 3-0 after 20 minutes, Thomas Pickburn finishing well with his left foot after Kitching had slipped him in.

The game opened up and became a real end to end battle, with Tranent desperate to find a lifeline and Peebles still pushing to get another.

Kitching fired wide after a good run forward and at the other end Henderson’s effort from the edge of the box went just wide.

The Tranent push continued in the second half and Henderson remained central to it, a surging run down the left ended with a strike which was held by Oliver Gray.