Father-to-be Graeme Page was the hat-trick hero for Gotham City as he helped his side to a 3-2 win over Macmerry Miners Athletic in the Sunday Morning Division Two at the Gyle.
Miners have been the closest challengers to runaway league leaders Vittoria Group AFC, who have 46 points from 17 matches, but this defeat in their final league game ensures that the only team who can now mathematically catch Vittoria are Edinburgh Caledonian.
Gotham player/manager Harry Kolinsky was a commanding presence for his side in defence and he made a courageous block to deny Miners’ Ryan Stevenson a shot on goal early on.
Al Houston flashed a shot over for Gotham soon after, while Jamie Buglass headed wide from a Stevenson corner on 15 minutes.
It was Gotham who took the lead two minutes later when Page, a pre-match doubt for Gotham due to his wife’s impending labour – she gave birth to baby boy two days later – flicked the ball in with a header from a Ewan Millar free-kick.
A deflected effort from Miners’ Paul Love was held by Gotham keeper Paul Pratt on 25 minutes, while Ibrahim Onisarotu – making his first appearance for Gotham – and Tunji Alli formed a good partnership up front.
Macmerry equalised with a penalty on 38 minutes through Sean Murray after the referee had spotted an infringement just inside the penalty area, before the game was held up for a few minutes due to a shin injury sustained by Onisarotu.
Gotham did go in at the break one goal to the good when Page scored from the penalty spot after his free-kick appeared to strike the arm of Steven Love in the Macmerry wall.
Macmerry started the second half strongly, with Steven Love’s close-range angled drive pushed away by Pratt, before Gotham’s Kenny Millar made an important intervention to prevent Stevenson from pulling the trigger.
Macmerry substitute Ewan Porteous came close to an equaliser on 64 minutes when his snapshot was saved by Pratt, with Colin Porteous sending the rebound over the bar.
Gotham were looking to close the game out against their opponents and were defending valiantly, but it was the Miners who got an equaliser for the second time in the match on 80 minutes. Sean Murray sent over a looping free-kick and Allan Grant rose above the Gotham defence to glance home.
Gotham refused to buckle, however, and after Alli could count himself unfortunate for not hitting the target following a mazy run, they were soon handed an opportunity to regain the lead from the penalty spot yet again.
Murray made a last gasp tackle on Page as he strode forward, but the referee adjudged the tackle to have taken place just inside the area and the player taken first before the ball.
Page stepped up and comfortably stroked the ball into the bottom corner with Macmerry’s protestations falling on deaf ears, their disappointment compounded moments later when Grant was ordered off for dissent.
Miners frantically searched for a leveller in the closing minutes, with Darren Cleland spurning three opportunities. He had a shot from 15 yards out kept out by Pratt at his near post, another effort from distance that flew inches wide, before a swirling free-kick clipped the top of the bar as Gotham held on for the three points.
Gotham City: Paul Pratt, Barry Davidson, Paul Lyall, Harry Kolinsky, Kenny Millar, Jack Crooks, Ewan Millar, Graeme Page, Al Houston, Ibrahim Onisarotu, Tunji Alli, Casey Crooks, Robert Masters, Sean McFarlane, Shaun Begg, Mark Cairney.
Macmerry Miners Athletic: Michael Taylor, Jamie Buglass, Darren Cleland, Allan Grant, Craig Love, Paul Love, Steven Love, Fraser McKinlay, Sean Murray, Colin Porteous, Ryan Stevenson, Daniel Thomson, Greig Wood, Ewan Porteous.