Free-kick king Ballantyne gives South Vics that little bit extra

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“The players showed a lot of character after Leith Vics scored goals at crucial times”

The blustery conditions at Saughton 3G played their part in this game, but did not stop the teams serving up a thrilling encounter. South Vics were 2-0 up by half-time thanks to goals from Craig Millar and Peter Gilhooley, but their Newcraighall counterparts, with the wind behind them in the second half, came out fighting and also scored two goals, one a minute after the restart from Andrew Dailly, and one in the dying minutes through a converted penalty by Stuart McLaughlin.

The game looked like it was heading for penalties with strikes by Edinburgh South Vics’ Mark Wilson and Newcraighall’s David Turnbull again keeping the teams all square in extra time, however South Vics’ Ian Ballantyne curled a free-kick into the top corner with the last kick of the game and seal the victory.

South Vics started the brighter creating several chances with Craig Millar in particular causing problems for the central defence. And it was Millar who opened the scoring 20 minutes in after latching onto a Gilhooley pass. He charged down the right wing and flung in a cross to the unmarked Millar who, on the edge of the area, turned and sent a thunderous shot into the bottom corner past the outstretched hand of keeper Chris Diotauti.

Within ten minutes South Vics doubled their lead with Gilhooley finishing off a move he started, firing an unstoppable shot into the left-hand corner. Gilhooley picked the ball up just inside his own half and played a quick one-two with Colin Lawson before turning past the defender and sending a fierce shot into the bottom corner.

One minute after the half-time break, Newcraighall created their first clear-cut opportunity, reducing the deficit through Dailly’s tap into an empty net. David Turnbull broke down the left hand side and, as he reached the by-line, cut the ball back to the unmarked Dailly who side-footed home from six yards out.

It was in the dying minutes of normal time that Newcraighall levelled the score with the referee awarding a penalty after keeper Graeme Lennie brought down Gary Burns. Burns, who had moved further up field in pursuit of the equaliser, picked the ball up on the left wing and drove into the box, skipping past the defence and firing wide of the mark. However, after the wide man got his shot away, keeper Lennie’s momentum took him through the attacker resulting in a penalty kick. Up stepped McLaughlin to fire into the left-hand corner sending the game into extra-time.

South Vics gained the upper-hand once more in the last minute of the half with Jon Blues heading his side in front after a mistake by Craig McManus. South Vics were awarded a throw-in down the left wing and as the ball came in, McManus tried to head the ball back to his keeper only to see the on-rushing Blues nip in to flick past the stranded Diotauti.

However within a minute of the restart, Newcraighall were level again after Turnbull smashed a volley into the bottom corner. Newcraighall were awarded a corner at the end of the first period of extra-time and Ryan Moore, with an out-swinger, found Turnbull on the edge of the area and the striker fired in an unstoppable left foot volley.

The second period of extra time was a continuation of the first with both teams struggling to out-do one another. However South Vics’ Ballantyne stole the show with a last-minute winner, curling in a free-kick past the helpless Diotauti. John Love, the Edinburgh South Vics coach, was naturally delighted to advance to the next round. He said: “We didn’t play as well as I would have liked but it was just important to get through to the next round. The players showed a lot of character after Leith Vics scored goals at crucial times.”

Graeme McDonald, the Newcraighall Leith Vics manager, was gutted to lose the cup-tie and felt his team did enough to win the game. He said: “The players were whole hearted, getting back into the game after losing two goals. However it was a typical cup tie, with both teams going for the win.”

Edinburgh South Vics: Graeme Lennie, Robert Nisbet, Scott Sutherland, Nicky Martin, Ryan Smithwaite, Peter Gilhooley, Colin Lawson, Ryan Moore, Craig Millar, Paul Murray, Ian Ballantyne, Jon Blues, Mark Wilson, James Hunter, Sean Loughlin, Jamie Watson.

Newcraighall Leith Vics: Chris Diotauti, John Daly, Paul Waugh, Gary Burns, Kevin Smith, Frank Arthur, Paul Armstrong, Stuart McLaughlin, David Turnbull, Andrew Dailly, David Milne, Craig McManus, Ross Alexander, Sephen Finnie, Trevor Grieve.