AC OXGANGS 19s were edged out 1-0 by Dunipace Juniors 19s in a tense SPORTSassist South East Region Cup final at Hallhill, Dunbar.
The boys in red and white started the better of the two sides, coming close to breaking the deadlock in the opening ten minutes. A corner from the left-hand side was half-cleared to the edge of the area where Harvey Blackie hit a first-time shot, only to see the ball clear the crossbar.
Minutes later, Oxgangs felt as though they should have been awarded a penalty when Murray Cockburn fell down in the box under pressure from a Dunipace defender. The referee wasn’t having any of it, however, and the game continued with both sides working hard to try and take the lead.
Oxgangs must have thought they were about to grab the early advantage when Blackie played in Cockburn but a last-ditch tackle from defender Mark Black prevented what looked to be a certain goal. It livened up Dunipace, who started to control the game more, looking a more threatening outfit.
Minutes after looking like they would go behind, Dunipace should have been ahead. Conlyn Comrie’s free-kick into the box found Andy Meade but his header was glanced just wide from close range. As the half drew to a close Meade’s side went up a gear, continuing to cause problems at the heart of the opposition’s defence. Erik Mitusch went on a mazy run down the left before teeing up Sean Brown to spin and shoot but his effort was straight at goalkeeper Robbie Brown. After continuing to persevere, Dunipace were finally rewarded with a goal five minutes before the interval. Comrie whipped in a free-kick from the right which completely deceived Brown in the Oxgangs goal, missing all the bodies in the box before taking a bounce and nestling into the corner.
When the second half got underway, the Edinburgh outfit switched to a 4-4-2 formation, desperate to quickly turn their fortunes around.
Dunipace still had a firm grip on the game and they could have had another as the second half opened up.
Brown was the focal point of their attack and he got on the end of Ross Weir’s cross in the area but could only send a shot straight at his namesake in the Oxgangs goal.
Dunipace continued in the same attacking vein and once again could have extended their advantage when the ball dropped to Weir in the area.
It looked to be a certain goal but Sam Leslie got a block in to deny the substitute.
With 15 minutes remaining, Oxgangs upped the tempo and began to play some of their best football as they tried to break down their opponents’ solid defence.
It appeared Dunipace would see the game out but, after some substitutions, Oxgangs got right back into things as they searched for a leveller.
With five minutes to spare, it was sub Lewis Murray who sent in a corner to Isaac Thomson which, with space in the area, he hit straight at keeper Taylor Jackson. As their cup dreams looked to be fading, Oxgangs pushed even more bodies forward and came inches away from sending the game to extra-time.
Sub Paul Macari received the ball on the corner of the area before rifling a shot at goal which rattled the inside of the post and bounced away, much to the frustration of his team-mates.
AC Oxgangs 19s: Robbie Brown, Tom Embleton, Campbell Stephen, Sam Philp, Sam Leslie, Gavin Reid, Lewis Temple, Neil Middleton, Murray Cockburn, Harvey Blackie, Jamie Hamilton, Lewis Murray, Elliot Sked, Isaac Thomson, Paul Macari, Shaun Marshall.