Edinburgh City overcame a stubborn Drumsagard 3-1 to progress to the semi-finals of the SYFA Cup on an extremely windy Sunday afternoon in Newton.
Jonathan Sedstrem’s double along with a goal sandwiched between the two from Dean Burgesss ealed the win for City, although Ballie Hunter pulled one back for Drumsagard.
Edinburgh kicked off in blustery conditions and had the ball in the back of the Drumsagard net within two minutes. A long free kick from the halfway line found captain Joseph Healey on the edge of the box; the central midfielder couldn’t get a shot away but the ball fell kindly to Sedstrem, who lashed in a powerful shot from 25 yards.
Both sides clearly wanted to set the pace of the game and flew into a number of increasingly rash challenges. The two sets of players flew into tackles and play rarely lasted more than 15 seconds before the referee blew his whistle again.
Clear-cut opportunities were hard to come by for either side as they struggled to break each other down, although Drumsagard looked slightly vulnerable to City’s counter-attacking threat.
Edinburgh thought they had their second when Samuel Newton poked the ball in at the back post but the linesman raised his flag for offside.
City wouldn’t have to wait long for a second though – moments later, Burgess made it 2-0 to the visitors. Newton hit a low, powerful cross into the box that reached Burgess. The attacker got his first-time shot away and the ball took a couple of deflections on its way to goal before reaching Paul Everett, whose reaction stop wasn’t enough to stop the ball bouncing over the line.
Edinburgh dropped the pace a little after the second, pressing with slightly less intensity than they had previously. Left-winger Newton looked increasingly dangerous on the left, using his pace and agility to outwit the Drumsagard defence.
Around this point Aaron Lonie had to be substituted off – already on a yellow, he could have picked up a second on no less than three separate occasions. Realising this, the Drumsagard coaching staff replaced him with Gary Clark in central midfield.
Drumsagard came within inches of pulling one back after some impressive wide play from Ian Last. The winger broke down the left a fired a low cross to the edge of the box where Hunter was waiting. The attacker struck a powerful effort but the ball rebounded off the bar.
Edinburgh then came close to a third in fortuitous circumstances. Blair Short hit a free kick from the halfway line and the wind caught the ball, forcing Everett to palm the ball over the bar. The keeper showed an excellent reading of the ball in testing conditions.
With half an hour played, Drumsagard then pulled one back, making it 2-1. Jay Nelson drove with the ball from deep before sliding it to Hunter, who held possession for a couple of seconds before playing it back to Nelson. Nelson drove towards goal and coolly slotted past the onrushing Thomas McLean.
Edinburgh had one last chance before the break to make it three when striker Liam Edmonston got on the end of a ball in behind the Drumsagard defence. The forward used his strength to hold off the defender but had his shot blocked by Everett, who palmed the ball behind for a corner.
The referee blew his whistle not long afterwards to bring a hard-fought first half to a close.