Edinburgh South Under-14s battled hard to claw their way back from a goal down to land the Paladin Cup after beating North Berwick Colts 2-1 in South East Region Division Three final.
The match certainly didn’t reflect the 22-point margin that separates the sides in the league as North Berwick proved a stubborn outfit to break down for Edinburgh South, the current league leaders.
South’s initial pressure was almost rewarded when Charlie Adams fancied his chances from distance, but the striker dragged his shot agonisingly wide from outside the box.
North Berwick started to show their authority midway through the first half, and, from a series of corners, almost took the lead. Edinburgh South’s inability to clear their lines resulted in the ball twice being cleared off the line with the six-yard box resembling that of a pinball machine after several ricochets off a number of bodies.
The best chance of the half fell to South’s Ben Gardiner who found himself clean through on goal. However, with all the time to pick a spot past the advanced Craig Cockburn, the youngster’s composure appeared to desert him as he struck the ball straight against the knees of the North Berwick goalkeeper.
The East Lothian side were then rewarded for their resilience as they opened the scoring.
Cameron Law showed great pace and energy down the left hand side to skip past his marker, before delivering a sumptuous cross which Tyrese Reynolds dispatched clinically into the top corner.
Edinburgh South responded well to the disappointment of going in a goal down at the interval and they came out in buoyant mood for the restart. They went close moments into the second-half with Adams again showing his technical ability as he dribbled away from two opponents and clipped the outside of the post with a well placed strike which had Cockburn well beaten.
Despite a real surge from Edinburgh South to get back into the game, North Berwick’s Cameron Hutchison, in particular, was turning in an excellent defensive display.
However, Edinburgh South eventually equalised with 15 minutes remaining. A corner from the right fell to Brendon Ogg and he smashed the ball back across goal from 12 yards and into the far corner of the net.
Clearly heartened by forcing their way back into the game, Edinburgh South could smell victory and they duly turned the tie on its head.
Adam Crawford found space deep inside North Berwick territory and powered through on goal. With the goal at his mercy, Crawford unselfishly laid the ball to Gardiner, who had caught up with his team-mate in attack, and he rolled it into the net to send the large congregation of Edinburgh South supporters into jubilation.
North Berwick were then handed the opportunity they needed to get back into the game with only minutes remaining. A long searching ball over the Edinburgh South defence sent goal-scorer Reynolds in the clear, but despite rounding goalkeeper Reece Sneddon, his shot lacked the power required to cross the line and Paul Reilly cleared to safety just as extra-time appeared a certainty.
Edinburgh South coach Joe Sneddon was extremely satisfied with his side’s performance, and believes it has been an excellent season overall for the Inch Park club. He said: “I’m delighted with the win as it was a close game where North Berwick played really well. We have only been defeated once in the league this year, so it has been a really good season.”
Sneddon’s opposite number, Mark Samson, was proud of his teenagers despite the defeat, but was left to rue a missed opportunity of cup success after going 1-0 up. Samson said: “It was a hard match but we never gave up, so I’m happy with that. We kept going right until the end so we were maybe a bit unlucky to lose in the end. To go ahead and not win is disappointing.”
North Berwick Colts: Craig Cockburn, Jason Samson, Thomas Tait, Cameron Hutchison, Finlay Goodlad, Tyrese Reynolds, Stuart Lorimer, Alasdair Ireland, Cameron Law, Callum Ward, Kevin Caie, Benjamin Cunningham, Lewis Govenlock, Fraser Milligan.
Edinburgh South: Reece Sneddon, Kevin Forrest, Kieran Stark, Jordan Walker, Ben Gardiner, Jake O’Hanlon, Charlie Adams, Bradley Stewart, Arran Fraser, Regian McGuire, Josh Breeze, Jordan Benzie, Adam Crawford, Jack Ritchie, Brendon Ogg, Paul Reilly.