Amateur football: North Merchie progress | Salters see off Dunedin | Seventh heaven for South

North Merchiston Vale snuck into the third round of the McDonald Cup, winning 8-7 on penalties. Pic: TSPL

North Merchiston Vale snuck into the third round of the McDonald Cup, winning 8-7 on penalties. Pic: TSPL

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North Merchiston Vale defeated Salvesen FC 8-7 on penalties to reach the third round of the McDonald Cup.

It was a competitive and physical start to the cup tie, with both Merchie and Salvesen not holding back with their challenges. The deadlock was broken on 17 minutes as Salvesen’s Matthew Duncan got up well to head his side in front.

With that, Merchie had the bit between their teeth as they knuckled down for an equaliser. They pressed on and after spurning a handful of chances, they appeared to have scored when Luke Leiper dinked the ball from the edge of the box in off the underside off the crossbar and over the line, only to see the referee not give the goal.

Merchie were livid, but they didn’t let their heads drop to equalise before half time. Alan Bannon whipped the ball in from the right and Stephen Notman leapt to divert a header into the Salvie goal.

As the second half progressed, chances came and went at 
either end of the field, but 
another goal wasn’t forthcoming. Therefore, with the scores locked at 1-1 by the full time whistle, the tie went straight to penalties.

Both sides managed to score their first seven penalties, but it was Salvesen that missed the eighth as Duncan fired over the crossbar. It meant that Marc Ritchie had the chance to win it for Merchie and he did with a composed finish past keeper David Livie.

• Salters Athletic held off a stubborn Dunedin Athletic side to win 3-1 in the Miller Cup second round.

On a mild December afternoon at Millerhill, Dunedin battled hard in the early stages as they looked to take their league form into the cup competition, but it was Salters who struck early on against the run of play as Richie Murray held play up before squaring the ball for Stevie Thomas to send an exquisite lob into the opposition goal.

It gave Salters a timely boost and they upped their performance to add another soon after when Paul Milligan burst through the heart of the Dunedin defence and fired home from 12 yards out.

Dunedin had by no means rolled over in the game and had chances of their own. However, Salters keeper Willie Turner was in fine form to deny them time and time again in the box.

It just wasn’t Dunedin’s day in front of goal and Salters took advantage to add a third as Milligan cut inside from the left to pick out the left hand corner of the goal.

It was game over for Dunedin, but they did at least manage to pull a goal back as Paul Munro finally beat Turner.

• Edinburgh South Vics breezed into the third round of the McDonald Cup 
after defeating Shotts Thistle 7-0 at Calderhead High School.

Shotts were keen to get stuck into their opponents early doors, but Vics quickly settled into the game to take an early lead. Paul Murray ran on to a ball from keeper Graham O’Brien to cut into the box and smash in the opener.

Vics didn’t take their eye off the ball and increased the scoreline when Ryan Moore finished from close range to mean Vics were in a strong position by the break.

A chance to regroup for Shotts didn’t impact on proceedings as Vics threw caution to the wind and continued to attack time and time again in the second half. Murray and Moore both doubled their tallies for the afternoon with controlled efforts in the penalty box.

However, they weren’t quite finished there. As the half wore on Vics continued to pour forward in numbers. Daniel Mcaleavy found the net from the penalty spot before Stephen Abbott hit a vicious strike after cutting in from the right to further put the game out of reach for Shotts.

Late on there was still time for a seventh as Ryan Smithwaite got a goal to his name.