Lethal finishing by Redhall Star secured a 6-0 win away to North Merchiston Vale in the first round of the East of Scotland Cup, leaving the home side wondering what might have been.
The scoreline suggests it was one-way traffic for the 90 minutes of this cup tie, but, in truth, North Merchiston may have been looking ahead to the second round if they had taken their chances in the first half.
The opening quarter was a real joy to watch, with both sides intent on getting forward and Vale were unlucky not to be ahead in the opening minute after a frantic start.
Blair Paterson did well to get his cross into the box from the right flank, which fell at the feet of striker Chris Reid, but he couldn’t divert it past Steven Gilchrist.
Reid was left to rue his missed opportunity, when, just two minutes later, Darren Carter completed a swift counter attack. Gavin Shanley showed great pace to drive down the wing and his delightfully weighted pass met Carter inside the box and he rocketed the ball high into the net past Manuel Delso.
Vale thought they had equalised on 15 minutes from a free kick, only for referee Darren Patterson to rule it out. Craig O’Rourke swung it in from the left, somehow missing everybody inside the area, and it landed in the net – only for Patterson to rule it out – claiming it was indirect.
Still smarting from the decision to rule out their “equaliser”, Vale found themselves 3-0 behind as Redhall scored two goals in a matter of minutes. Redhall found space in midfield and a through ball found Greig Weir who split open a lacklustre Vale defence, putting him one-on-one with goalkeeper Delso. His initial strike was saved, but he slammed in the rebound.
Then, with Vale again causing problems for themselves in defence, Redhall scored another. Carter turned provider, his cross aimed at Shanley on the near post, but Vale’s Stephen Notman put the ball in his own net.
Redhall went four ahead shortly before half time with striker John McDonald – who was a real workhorse for his side all afternoon – set up Shanley with a through ball, who took one touch before firing past Delso.
Vale’s manager, Scott Newby, was incensed by his side’s defensive mishaps and he gave a rip-roaring team-talk during the interval in order to restore some fight into Merchie, but the damage was already done.
Merchie controlled possession early in the second half, but they weren’t able to make a breakthrough with Redhall’s defence solid and the away side were 5-0 ahead after 62 minutes.
A rampaging run from right-back Craig Robertson who was a stand-out for Redhall, took him from the halfway line into Vale’s box before he was cynically taken out and Shanley sent Delso the wrong way.
Edinburgh Central side Redhall made it six with 20 minutes remaining when substitute Scott Brady lobbed the ball over Delso to set up a second round tie at home to fellow LEAFA outfit Dunalba.
Meanwhile, Lee Cairns was the star as Tynecastle’s amateur side set up a second round tie with Fallin AFC in the East of Scotland Cup after a 6-0 away win over Musselburgh United.
Striker Cairns found the net four times at Pinkie, with captain Jason Watson wading in with a double.
The first half was fairly even until Lothian East side Tynecastle scored two before the interval. Cairns did well to get in front of Musselburgh’s goalkeeper to claim his first goal with a header, then shot diagonally into the corner of the net fron inside the box for his second.
Cairns sealed his hat-trick in style early in the second period when he dinked the ball over the head of a Musselburgh defender before side-stepping two challenges and then sliding the ball into the net. Watson got his first from the penalty spot, and then Cairns added his fourth before Watson rounded off the scoring with a powerful shot from 20 yards out.
Elsewhere, Salters Athletic from LEAFA Sunday’s Premier 2 continued their defence of the Presidents Cup with a 7-4 victory at home to in-form Rosewell Miners, setting up a quarter-final away to St Bernards.
Salters secured their eighth victory out of eight this season, but they left themselves with work to do after going down 2-0 inside the opening eight minutes.
Brian Wilson put Rosewell ahead with a shot into the bottom corner before Finlay Toulouse headed into the net from a corner.
But Salters were back in the tie when a Rosewell defender handled inside the box and Drew Calladine got the first of a hat-trick from the penalty spot.
Salters were level when winger Paul Mathieson teed up Paul Milligan for a simple finish.
Euan Miller put Salters ahead, but Rosewell levelled immediately when Ryan Robertson’s low free kick was diverted into the net by Wilson.
Salters went back in front in this crazy cup-tie when Milligan’s shot was initially saved, but Calladine hammered in the rebound.
Milligan put Salters 5-3 ahead after half-time, but Rosewell pulled one back with 20 minutes remaining through debutant Martin Sneddon.
Kevin Cornwall restored Salters’ two-goal advantage Calladine – with the aid of the wind – secured his third goal when his corner kick, swung in from the right, swerved into the net without a touch.