South East Region (402)
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.
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 road to Tynecastle came to an end as Spartans and Hutchison Vale did battle to determine the winner of the Willie Bauld Cup Final, with both sides in good form and not a huge amount to split between them.
Spartans, who beat Tynecastle 3-1 in the previous round, controlled the majority of possession early on, with Keir Russell dragging an early free-kick wide after four minutes.
In the early stages it became evident that Hutchie had pace and energy in abudance upfront, and they displayed that with seven minutes on the clock as Rory Hamilton raced through and won a corner for his side, but Kieran Moyles was there to clear it away.
Only three minutes later their counter-attacking style led to the opening goal, once again it was Rory Hamilton who was in the centre of the action as Reuben Walsh floated an inch-perfect ball over the back-line, and Hamilton took the shot well on the half-volley, striking the ball into the far corner and over the goalkeeper.
Five minutes later Russell attempted to put his team level with another dig from distance, but he dragged the shot wide of the post. Hutchie countered down at the other end, as Brandon Hunter broke away from his man and worked it to Hamilton for his second, but this time he could only hit his powerful effort over the bar for a goal-kick.
On 19 minutes there was a second goal and it levelled the scoreline. If the opening goal was a brilliant piece of build up and a clinical finish, the equaliser was as simple as it gets; Russell wouldn’t have expected his inswinging corner to find the back of the net, but exactly that happened as his delivery soared over the heads of everybody, including the goalkeeper, and into the top corner. The most unlikely of ways to get his side back into this final.
Hutchie persisted with their counter-attacking style and it nearly paid dividends when Cameron Fraser found himself through on goal, but Harry Stone was quick off his line to smother the resulting shot and keep it at 1-1.
The half ended on a quiet note after the earlier barrel of chances, with Reece Mason having the only real chance for Spartans before half-time, as he controlled a cross on his chance, turned well and got his shot away, but could only hit it into the midriff of goalkeeper Dean Beveridge.
The second and third placed teams in Division 1, Spartans and Tynecastle, faced off against each other in the Jewel Miners Trophy at the Saughton Enclosure after great form in the cup from previous wins against Hutchison Vale and Musselburgh Athletic. With both teams out on a sunny Edinburgh evening, the stage was set for an entertaining cup final.
The game kicked off with chances for both teams as James Scobie came close for Tynecastle with a lofted cross into box that almost went all the way in. However, 'keeper Harry Stone was able to catch it comfortably, whilst at the other end of the pitch a scramble in the box ended in Keir Russell sliding in to shoot but falling to 'keeper Aaron Heap's hands.
Tynecastle began dominating the attack with lots of missed chances, their biggest one coming from Robbie Neave as he struck the ball from outside of the box and almost lobbing into the back of the net. The ball was well tipped over the bar by Stone awarding Tynie a corner.
On the stroke of halftime Tynecastle had the best opportunity of the game as Scott Hunter played a low cross, from the right wing, to Neave who, right in front of the goal, shot down the middle where keeper Stone was equal to it, saving it brilliantly going into halftime with both teams scoreless.
North Berwick Colts took a step in the right direction in their quest to achieve a top four finish, in Division 2, against a Peebles side who had started the day only one place behind them in the table. Manager Keith Gibb has set that as a target for his men after admitting that first and second places might be a step too far.
The match was closer than the score line suggests, particularly in the first half. But the away side created more in the second with Peebles seeming to tire in their third game this week. On top of that, they had their team day out the day before which must have zapped even more energy from them.
An even first period remained goalless, although that takes nothing away from the fayre on display as both sides passed the ball about well. It was far from a ‘boring 0-0’ half.
Owen Mackie threatened first for Colts after Peebles goalie Evan Polak had cleared a long ball, but Mackie fired over. And Jack Drijver-Headley rounded Polak but had his cross cut out by Lewis Swan.
Kyle Erskine had a shot tipped wide at the other end, but Ben Duncan came closest to opening the scoring. The big defender found himself with plenty of time to shape up a shot 30 yards out. He struck it beautifully but saw it smack the crossbar.