Pieyam Khosrowpour bagged a hat-trick as Heriot Vale continued their title push with a heated 5-2 away victory over Spartans at Ainslie Park.
The three points edge Vale closer to LEAFA Premier 1 leaders Edinburgh South Vics, who have played five games more than Vale and now sit 12 points ahead.
They took the lead through prolific hitman Khosrowpour on 23 minutes. When the ball was played to him around 25 yards from goal, without hesitation the striker hit it sweetly and found the top corner. The goalkeeper didn’t have any chance of stopping the ferocious effort.
Spartans responded in style, however. Just a minute later, they equalised through Andrew Howat. Vale’s Michael South was down injured and controversially the referee allowed play to continue. Consequently, Howat was played into the left side of the danger area and scored – despite the best efforts of Mark Sinclair in goal.
Howat took advantage again to score his second goal in four minutes. A through ball was overcooked and ran to Sinclair, but Howat’s pressure was enough for the keeper to lose grasp of the ball and, with an open goal in front of him from ten yards, Howat fired in off the crossbar for 2-1.
Vale then got back on level terms when the ball was floated in to Alan Sheriff, who found strike partner Khosrowpour with a header as he raced to the back post to tap in for 2-2.
Vale gathered momentum and regained the lead just four minutes on with a very controversial goal. A high ball was played into the penalty area and Sheriff appeared to handle the ball into the net, the incident causing great anger from Spartans’ coaches. The referee allowed the goal to stand and Vale were 3-2 to the good.
To rub salt in the wounds of Spartans, Sheriff scored again right before half-time, the ball being fed to him by Khosrowpour in the centre of the field near the edge of the box, Sheriff moving past a defender who slipped to fire low into the corner.
The second half was a more low-key affair but still had moments to note, Khosrowpour heading off the bar and Sheriff hitting the post for Vale.
Khosrowpour eventually got his deserved hat-trick in the 89th minute, as he was found by a cross on the right channel. He waited for a bounce or two before swivelling and hitting his shot low into the corner for 5-2 – and three points in the bag for Heriot Vale.
Tynie book final place
Tynecastle reached the Holyrood Cup final as they comfortably saw off Pathhead 4-1, Lee Cairns scoring a double.
Jason Watson opened proceedings 15 minutes in with the first goal, putting the ball past the goalkeeper from 18 yards.
Cairns then claimed the first of his brace, latching on to a through ball and then rounding the goalkeeper with ease to slot in for 2-0.
After an hour, it was 3-0 to Tynecastle when Darren Borthwick of Pathhead headed into his own net from a yard out following a cross from the right.
Pathhead pulled a goal back after 80 minutes, Stevie Fraser tapping in following a defensive error.
However, Cairns wrapped up the Tynecastle victory when, with five minutes left on the clock, he finished well with a shot from inside the penalty box.
Sporting still in cup hunt
Sporting Icapb kept their Ronnie Travers Memorial Cup dreams alive with a Section A win over West Lothian, winning 4-0 at Saughton 3G.
Having lost to Ratho Athletic earlier in the competition, Sporting knew only a win would keep them in with a chance of the last four and that’s what they achieved.
Scott Gallagher put the home side ahead after just ten minutes, his powerful shot from outside the box taking a big deflection and looping over the goalkeeper.
Sporting were then two goals up after 20 minutes. A corner was delivered from the right and David Jarvis was there to convert a cushioned volley.
It was looking like game over when Maunel Breuer made it 3-0 after 30 minutes, as he received the ball from a throw-in before peeling off a defender and firing into the top corner.
With ten minutes left, Sporting wrapped up the three points. Ibrahim Onisarotu advanced on goal from the right wing and passed the ball low into the far corner to complete the scoring.