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Thursday, 29 September 2016 00:00

Dunbar dump Peebles in dramatic Scottish Cup tie

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Dunbar United Colts advanced to the third round of the Inspiresport Scottish Cup at the expense of a desperately unlucky Peebles team.
 
Dunbar manager Nick Hall admitted that his side had an off day, but they still managed to take the game to penalties where they secured victory. They have set a target of getting past the regionalised rounds, which they will meet if they win their next tie.
 
It was actually United who started the strongest and they were 1-0 up inside 2 minutes, and it could have been more.
 
Maksymillian Dluzak hit the side netting before Fraser Gallagher scored from close range from James Mclean’s ball across the face of goal.
 
Evan Polak then made saves from Tyrhys Twist and Gallagher before the home team got themselves into the game.
 
When they did they took over the dominance from their visitor for the remainder of the half.
 
Aaron Russell and Doug Knox were prominent in an attacking sense – time and again one or both of them were involved going forward.
 
Knox’s intricate touch and passing were able to cut through the defence and he played in Russell who was thwarted by Sandy Purves.
 
Knox then got on the end of Russell’s corner to turn it goalward, only for Purves to intervene again.
 
The forward had a double chance when he nicked the ball off Purves but the keeper stood firm to block. Michael Smith recovered the ball and crossed for Knox and this time the effort was wide.
 
Russell was having joy down the right and Smith’s pass found him in space but the winger fired over.
 
An equaliser was inevitable and it was Lewis Swan who grabbed it in spectacular fashion. His half volley from 25 yards soared through the air and left Purves helpless.
 
Purves produced his best save yet to keep it level at half time, getting a hand to Knox’s pile-driving half volley from the edge of the box.
Saturday, 24 September 2016 18:38

Hearts retain East of Scotland Shield on enemy ground

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Easter Road hosted the third-oldest cup competition in world football on Thursday night; the East of Scotland shield; on a freezing cold night in Leith, as the mini-Edinburgh Derby finished with the Jambos retaining the trophy with a 2-1 victory. After a much quiet first-half, the match really came into life in a frantic second 45, with the Wee Jambos winning the competition for the second year on the bounce, after a long wait to bring it back to Gorgie was ended last year.

The first half started in rather slow pace, as both sides tried to become suited to the large pitch in Leith. The first opening came from a corner five minutes in, as Fraser Murray floated the ball all the way to the back, meeting the head of Ryan Porteous, who’s header was straight into the arms of Kelby Mason.

Jambos skipper Alex Pektov was first to try his luck at Patrick Martin’s goal after 15 minutes, but his chest and volley was dragged wide of the post. Callumn Morrison was the first to make Martin work though, as he cut inside from the right after Andy Irving’s nice lay-off, but the Hibs keeper was equal to it.

The only other moment of note before the half-time whistle was in the final minutes of the first 45, when Hearts played a quick corner into Anthony McDonald, and his cutback found Jack Gillan outside the box, but his curling effort was never convincing enough to test Martin in goals.

Going into this cup final you perhaps would have found it difficult to separate these two teams, with both performing well in their league campaigns this season. However, a clinical Spartans side were able to breeze past a hardworking Loanhead on a scorching hot day in Bonnyrigg.

You would think the conditions may have left the players of both sides feeling somewhat lethargic, but the match started at an electric pace from the first whistle, as neither team wanted to give their opponents a split second on the ball and, as a result, chances were few and far between in the opening stages.

The towering Cameron Dawson created the first real chance of danger in the seventh minute with a low driven ball across the box, but Mark Mackay just couldn’t reach it in time to convert. He went one step closer to opening the scoring five minutes later, when he latched onto the through ball and attempted a cheeky dink over the onrushing keeper. It may have beat Ross Jardine, in goal, but it didn’t find the back of the net and it was cleared before anybody could apply a finish.

Loanhead, and particularly Aidan McMillan, were working hard to get themselves the first goal as his first thought was always to take his man on, but they just couldn’t create anything clear-cut. Joshua Fital also threatened, with a series of inviting deliveries being flung into the box from set pieces, with the right back also trying his luck from range on a few occasions.

The opening goal was always going to be difficult to create in a frantic match like this, but it came in the 19th minute of the match for Spartans. Although there was a large degree of luck when a defensive clearance went completely wrong after an unfortunate bobble and Mackay found himself one-on-one. Whilst the goal had a hint of fortune about it, the finish that followed was sheer composure, as Mackay stroked the ball into the far corner and Jardine could only get a hand to it.

Loanhead then had a series of threatening corners which caused problems, but ultimately failed to result in a clear cut chance. Calum Crawford also went close with a good first time effort on 22 minutes, but his shot was always rising.

Set pieces also posed a goal-scoring opportunity for Spartans as well, as Josh Williamson rose highest to connect with Lewis Hall’s inviting delivery on 27 minutes, but his low header was well held by the alert Jardine, who got down low to cover his far post.

Jardine was called into action only a few minutes later, and this time, produced an even more impressive save. The ball was played up to Mackay, who turned provider this time, chesting the ball down for Dawson who hit a fierce first-time effort, but Jardine threw himself at the ball and tipped it over the bar with barely a second to set himself. Dawson then had another crack from the resulting corner, but he was only able to divert his effort wide as the ball came in with such pace.

McMillan looked hell-bent on dragging his side level and was so unlucky to hit the post ten minutes from half time. He drove at the defence, went inside and outside, struck a low effort and it cannoned off the woodwork and behind for a goal kick, his team’s best chance up until that point.

Spartans FC Reds made the South East Region Cup their third piece of silverware of the season with a 3-2 win over Musselburgh Windsor in an engrossing match. They added to the Prison Officer’s Cup and the Victor Paris Bathrooms Cup with a glorious comeback. Musselburgh had been in front twice but lost the decisive third with 19 minutes to play.

Ross Greig struck first with a fabulous free kick to give them the lead, against the run of play, but Matthew Brady volleyed Reds level three minutes later. Lewis Kynoch restored Windsor’s advantage 12 minutes into the second half before Cameron Dawson headed another equaliser.

The eventual victors took the lead for the first and last time thanks to a composed finish from substitute centre back Jake McCreadie, and he and his team-mates saw off some late Windsor pressure to hold on.

Dawson had an early opportunity but was foiled by Jack Stewart, while Greig took advantage of some hesitant defending at the other end but sent his shot over the bar.

Spartans began to dominate the ball, and always looked to build through Lewis Hall and James Pringle in the middle of the park. Hall in particular was making things tick.

Dawson had a header blocked near the line before the same player had the ball in the net, only to be ruled offside when he tapped in at the far post.

Ross McLaren had a clear sight at goal for Musselburgh but his volley was held by Jamie Mitchell.

Greig earned his side the lead in spectacular fashion after 35 minutes. His Beckham-esque free kick bent over the wall from the right hand side and onto the opposite stanchion before ending up in the net.

The joy was short lived though when striker Brady evened it up. Oran Hosey crossed from the left and Brady met it first time on the volley which he buried past Stewart.

Monday, 30 May 2016 15:10

Rose rise to occasion in extra time

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A very close, taut affair ended with Bonnyrigg Rose Colts beating Tynecastle, after extra time, to lift the South East Region Cup.

Tynie took an early lead through a Josh Winnik header but Bonnyrigg fought back well and had enough chances to win in 90 minutes, although it took until the 49th minute for them to equalise.

Jack Solway and Arran Laidlaw were big players for them on the day and the two combined to set up Calum Glen to level with another header.

Winnik’s opener, coming in the 7th minute, was the first action of note after a tense and scrappy beginning to the match. The centre back rose to meet James Scobie’s corner to clinch a dream start.

Solway made some surging runs from his advanced central midfield position but did not find a way to goal.

In fact it was the men in maroon who threatened again through Scobie. He smacked a free kick, from 35 yards, but Mackenzie Watson matched it.

Rose stepped it up near half time and had two chances. An exchange of passes between Ryan Hodge and Jack Solway presented William Scott with a slight sight of goal. He was quite wide though and he could not get his shot on target.

Laidlaw’s pace saw him make headway down the right several times. On one such occasion he won a free kick, which he took himself and picked out Solway, but he headed over.

At the other end, Kieran Ngwenya fired in a teasing cross but there were no takers.

Leith Athletic A Team secured the Under 13 South East Region Cup with a 2-0 win over Edinburgh City Blacks. A goal in each half was enough to secure yet another trophy for the east end of the capital, 8 days after Hibs had finally brought the Scottish Cup home. Impressive wingers Cameron Kerr and Strathy Mackay scored them and both had very lively games. City worked hard to stay in the game but the two-goal deficit deflated them when it came with 21 minutes to play.

City had the first shot on target when Ben Henderson guided a side footer towards goal but Jamie Smith held it.

Kerr started to have a big influence down Leith’s right hand side, and he won the ball high up the pitch before crossing to Thomas Ramage who was denied by Fraser Taylor.

The winger then created an opportunity for himself by dribbling through several bodies, but Taylor was in the way again.

The keeper was not the only one keeping them at bay with a hard working bunch in front of him doing all they could to close down and harry. Kieran Millar was at the heart of it and he organised, and made tackles, blocks and clearances.

Louie Clark had his work cut out against Kerr, who never stopped running, but the full back stuck to his task manfully.

Leith did find a way past the keeper, after 28 minutes, and it was largely down to a surging run by Mackay after he had intercepted a clearance. The ball broke loose to Kerr who slid it into an unguarded net.

Taylor produced another fine save to keep it at 1-0 a minute just before half time. Kerr was the supplier again and Cameron Stewart’s strike was kept out.

The venue for this Buyrite Bathroom Cup Final on a dry, cloudy afternoon was Blackburn United’s ground. The conditions were good to play on and pass the ball about as they were playing on AstroTurf.
 
The last time these sides met in April, Kirkfield had triumphed 2-1. This time around both sides were in the middle of a long league campaign, with Whitburn two points clear of Kirkfield, but who still have five games in hand over Whitburn. Whitburn ran away with the first half going in at half time leading 4-0. The second half was the start of the comeback for Kirkfield as they scored three to make it 4-3, but unfortunately for Kirkfield that is all they managed. The ultimate comeback could not be pulled off, and Whitburn narrowly held on to win 4-3. 
 
The first half was all Whitburn. They took the lead after just nine minutes through Jordan McFadyen. Aaron Greer kicked the ball long from his hands and the ball bounced awkwardly for the Kirkfield defence who struggled to deal with it. This allowed the ball to fall to McFadyen, who volleyed a superb strike past Scott Murray into the top left corner from the edge of the box to open the scoring.
 
Whitburn soon had a glorious chance to make it 2-0, but Murray easily saved this chance. Not long after, however, they did double their lead with 21 minutes on the clock through Jamie Dunlop. A throw-in on the far side for Whitburn was headed on by a Kirkfield defender. Dunlop hit the second ball on the volley from around 30 yards out. His awesome effort looped over Murray and into the back of the net.
 
The third goal came in the 27th minute, with McFadyen netting another. Kieran Hilditch played the ball through with McFadyen sliding to reach the ball before Murray got there to knock it in.
 
Whitburn then scored their fourth after 41 minutes with Hilditch this time getting on the scoresheet for 4-0. It was a scramble in the box which fell to Whitburn’s Hilditch, the free man at the edge, who spectacularly volleyed the ball into the top right corner.
 
Whitburn went into the break with a commanding 4-0 lead and left everyone thinking that this would finish about 6 or 7-0. 
It was a bright sunny evening for this cup final. The pitch was in good condition and both teams were well matched physically. 
 
The first half was very quiet and neither side created many chances. Both teams had one or two one-on-one chances, but both keepers were on top form. It looked like it was going to be a game of both keepers. The second half was very different, as Broxburn came out looking full of energy and desire to win. This desire payed off as Broxburn opened the scoring in the 55th minute, as the ball was crossed in from a free kick into the back post where it found an unmarked player who volleyed the ball into the open net. 
 
Only a few minutes later Broxburn had made it 2-0 as the Fauldhouse keeper made a great save, but he was only able to parry the ball into the path of the Broxburn striker who tapped the ball home to put Broxburn two goals to the good. 
 
As the game was coming to a close Broxburn put the game to bed with a third goal from a defensive mistake. The ball was deflected off the striker's leg, which put him through one-on-one with the keeper and he slotted the ball passed him to kill the game and seal victory in the final for Broxburn. 
 
The first half was very quiet and both teams only had one or two chances from long balls played from the back and bouncing over the defenders into the path of the striker. But both keepers were on top form and looked like they were not going to be beaten. The game was very slow and both teams liked to play possession football so most of the action was going on in the midfield. The half ended goaless.
This Leage Cup semi-final was played at Tall Oaks on a lovely sunny afternoon, although the grass pitch was poor as the ball continuously bobbled whenever someone tried to make a pass.  
 
The first half was poor quality from both teams although Beechwood did manage to score just before the break. The second half was not much better. Although Fernieside were the much better team, the Beechwood goalkeeper Calum Willis was very good and helped Beechwood hold onto a narrow 1-0 win.  
 
In the first half nothing really happened apart from a goal and two substitutions. The first substitution came for Beechwood after nine minutes with Gordon Strachan coming on.
 
The next substitution came in the 21st minute for Fernieside with Liam McIntosh. The first and only goal came in the 41st minute with lovely play from Harry Devine on the left hand side. Then he played the ball across the face of the goal for Jamie McDermaid who blasted it into the back of the open net from five yards out. The score remained 1-0 to Bechwood going into the break. The Fernieside coach was not looking very happy about that, especially given how Fernieside had been the better team.
It was Royal High School’s evening as they triumphed over The James Young High School 4-0 to win the hotly contested U18s Lothian Schools FA Cup final at Ainslie Park.
 
It was a Friday night to remember as goals from Callum O’Neill, Gregor Jack and a brace from Mario Falsone saw RHS ease to victory with no reply from James Young.
 
The first ten minutes were tense as both teams tested each-other out. James Young were finding good space down the right hand side with Jamie White, but the first real chance of the game went to Royal High. Ali McCann’s shot following a cross from Matthew McKenzie was blocked and the ball fell to Calum Brown who fired over the bar with 16 minutes gone.
 
Target man Aidan Quinn was next to have a go for the team in black as he headed over the bar from a corner just a minute later.
 
Eventually Royal High’s pressure paid off and it was the impressive No.10 Mario Falsone who opened the scoring at Ainslie Park. A long ball from the defene caused a mix-up between the James Young goalkeeper and his centre-half and the two clashed together leaving Falsone with the easiest of tap-ins after 22 minutes.
 
It was all RHS after their opening goal and they nearly bagged a second through Cameron Paton after 34 minutes. Paton picked up the ball near the half-way line and after playing a quick one-two with Aidan Quinn he made his way into the box and lashed a fierce shot from the right which hit the bar.
 
Just five minutes later Royal High had their second. It was Falsone again and after a cross from Calum Brown was not cleared properly the ball fell to the winger who drove into the box and curled a finish into the far post from 15 yards to bag his brace.