Lothian ATHLETIC’S Thomas Crease netted twice in a 3-1 victory over the Jolly to claim the LEAFA Sunday Premier Division 1 League Cup.
The match, played at the windy Civil Service sports ground in Muirhouse, began at a blistering pace as Lothian Athletic took an early lead only to be pegged back by The Jolly. A second goal came for Athletic before half time and, as The Jolly pressed for an equaliser, netted a third in the dying minutes.
Lothian Athletic coach Gary Smith was pleased with the victory and the opening spell of the match, but felt his side let The Jolly back into the game with the equaliser.
He said: “I’m very pleased. We got off to a good start and took the lead with a great finish, but then we sat back and allowed them back into it and gave away a really silly goal. We’ve had a bad season with injuries as well as other setbacks but hopefully we can take this win forward into next season and try to push on for the league title.”
Lothian Athletic got off to the perfect start and just two minutes into the match when Crease latched onto a through ball and smashed a shot high past keeper Darren Marshall to make it 1-0.
The Jolly tried to pull themselves back into the match and after a series of free-kicks, Kevin Pacitti managed to stab the ball home but was adjudged to have been offside.
Robin Williams did little to trouble Lothian keeper David Courtney as he swivelled and struck a shot into his arms before The Jolly did get back on level terms midway through the first half. James Reilly found space and slotted the equaliser from ten yards after the ball had ricocheted off the Athletic back line.
Looking to build on their goal, The Jolly went searching for a second and had it not been for a miraculous header off the goal line from Stephen Davidson, they would have found it as Daniel Donoghue’s headed effort looked destined for the net.
The Jolly were made to pay for their missed opportunities as Thomas Crease was on hand again to punish them. Athletic’s No. 9 showed great composure to sweep past Marshall as he rushed out of his goal, and calmly finished from a tight angle.
The Jolly did have one chance as the first-half action tailed off, but Courtney was alert to parry Harry Turner’s strike away from goal.
In the second half, The Jolly threatened once more from a set piece. Ryan Campbell rose above the pack to meet the ball in the area, but his effort lacked sufficient power to test Courtney.
At the other end, Grahame Mills’ effort was well saved by Marshall as the game became a battle of the two goalkeepers.
Courtney got a vital hand to Ian Crease’s low strike but it came at great cost with the player injuring himself in the process, meaning a very tense last ten minutes were in store for Athletic and their substitute goalkeeper.
Hughie Meenan’s charging run down the left relieved pressure from the Lothian Athletic defence, but this skilful play only culminated in a tame shot from Mark Glasgow which ended up in the side netting.
Although The Jolly retained possession for long spells late on, they failed to put enough substance to it in order to mount a serious comeback.
The win was sealed for Lothian Thistle four minutes from time as James Clarkson broke away cleanly and unselfishly cut the ball back to Mills to roll past the helpless Marshall.
The Jolly coach, Evin Dougal, felt that his side’s opponents deserved their victory with more desire shown than that of his own players. Dougal said: “We should have maybe had a penalty in the second half which could have changed the game. But I think the0y probably deserved to win as they took their chances and looked the hungrier team.”
Teams (including substitutes)
Lothian Athletic: David Courtney, Hughie Meenan, Terry Carlin, Stephen Davidson, Darryl Coll, David Aitchison, Mark Glasgow, Thomas Crease, James Clarkson, Paul Forbes, Martin Mya, Grahame Mills, Jordan Mein.
The Jolly: Darren Marshall, Paul Murray, Liam Robertson, Callum Conaghan, Ryan Campbell, Robin Williams, Ian Crease, Kevin Pacitti, Daniel Donoghue, James Reilly, Harry Turner, Michael Robertson, Scott Anderson, Ryan Rodgers, Jordan Robertson.