Two sides who have grown familiar with each other over the course of the season met in the SERYFA Under-14 Kenny McLean Cup final at Saughton Enclosure, with Cavalry Park beating Hutchison Vale 2-1.
The two clubs have met on numerous occasions in cup and league fixtures this term, with this final showpiece proving to be just as entertaining. It was the Duddingston-based outfit who claimed cup glory, much to the relief of coach Derek Turkington.
He said: “I think Hutchie started very quickly and they are a big strong team. We changed our formation and put five in midfield and tried to hit them on the break and it worked well – that is what got us through in the end. I think our striker Adam Watson was a deserving man-of-the-match, as he took his two goals really well.”
Early on, Hutchie’s Cameron McAlpine jinked into the box before forcing a save out of goalkeeper Kerr Robertson. Hutchie were attacking at every opportunity and Regan Hendry was next to test Robertson.
Cavalry did create their first chance of the game after 15 minutes and it was due to a poor kick-out from Hutchie’s Byron Gibb. The goalkeeper’s clearance landed at the feet of Alexander Simpson and he slipped a neat pass through to Adam Watson with his fierce strike forcing a save out of Gibb, who tipped over the crossbar.
Then, an uncharacteristic error from the two Hutchie defenders allowed Watson through on goal and he toe-poked it past Gibb to give Cavalry a surprise lead.
Hutchie weren’t deflated by the loss of a goal and went in search of an equaliser, continuing to pass their way from back to front. McAlpine went close once again after latching on to a high ball over the Cavalry defence but knocked it wide from just inside the penalty area.
Hutchie almost grabbed themselves an equaliser within a minute of the restart as a corner swung into a packed Cavalry penalty area created havoc, and after a game of head tennis involving a number of players, the ball had to be tipped over by the stretching arm of Robertson.
Good control in the middle of the park from Hutchie’s Sean McKirdy enabled the midfielder to play McAlpine in on the right, but the player chose the wrong option, shooting from distance when a cross into the box may have proved a better alternative.
However, Hutchie were level after ten minutes of the second-half. McKirdy’s surging run on the left took him into the Cavalry penalty area and, with the defence standing off, the midfielder had time to shoot. Robertson appeared to have it covered, but the ball somehow managed to find its way into the corner of the net.
The score didn’t remain level for long, however, as Cavalry restored their lead only moments later. A ball in from the left touchline picked out Watson and, with the deftest of touches, he wasted no time in lashing the ball beyond Gibb to hand his side the initiative once again.
An in-swinging corner gave Cameron Begbie a great chance to tie the game at 2-2 when the ball landed at the defender’s feet, but his lack of composure was clear to see as he failed to put Robertson under any serious threat, allowing the keeper to gather comfortably. Chances were arriving thick and fast in the latter stages of a pulsating match and, after Cavalry’s Ben Stirling had rattled the crossbar with a thunderous strike from 25 yards, Ethan Feachen had one final opportunity but headed straight into the arms of Robertson as Cavalry held on.
Cavalry Park: Kerr Robertson, Ben Stirling, Cal Sheridan, Roan Turkington, Kobi May, Aidan Holligan, Andrew Taylor, Sam Nicol, Adam Watson, Robbie Conway, Euan Greig, Sean Gilroy, Jack Kidney, Alexander Simpson, Cai Smith, Tylar Gibson.
Hutchison Vale: Byron Gibb, Cameron Milne, James Ahari, Sam Birch, Cameron Begbie, Brandon Archibald, Murray Sutherland, Aiden Quinn, Ryan Fox, Ethan Feachen, Regan Hendry, Cameron Sclater, Sean McKirdy, Cameron Fraser, Innes Goodall, Cameron McAlpine, Lewis Swaney, Jack Cook.