Hutchison Vale Under-14s battled their way to South East Region Cup success after a narrow 3-2 triumph over Tynecastle at New Countess Park.
The team in yellow-and-black needed to dig deep to seal their glory after trailing at the interval to a Daniel Purves effort.
Vale coach Norrie Lewis does not fall short when it comes to the standards he expects from his players and despite suggesting he wasn’t entirely satisfied with the overall performance, he was pleased to see his squad come through the challenge with their hands on the cup.
“We only achieved that (the standards expected) in patches,” Lewis commented. “The goals we lost were extremely poor, but I think we had a lot of tired legs from our final last Friday night. I’ve got to be pleased though as we tried to win the game and I think it was the right result. The boys never gave up and they came together, the chances arrived and we managed to take them.”
Jack Murray nearly got the ball rolling for Hutchie in the ninth minute when his shot had to be tipped onto the crossbar by Tynecastle’s Jordan Brown.
However, against the run of play, Tynecastle edged in front through Purves’ deft flick after he capitalised on some poor defending from the Hutchie rearguard from a throw-in on the far side – a decision that was heavily disputed by Lewis himself.
With Hutchie now trailing, they peppered their opponents’ goal with headers from both Dale Skinner and Murray calling Brown into action.
Euan Henderson then tried his luck from range after a foul by Jordan Purves – a tackle he was subsequently booked for – but Brown tipped Henderson’s effort round the post.
Tynecastle then had calls for a penalty turned away by referee Paul Taylor, Mark Brooks’ clumsy tackle on Cameron Mills not worthy of penalty in the referee’s eyes.
Henderson then seemed destined to increase his side’s advantage moments before the break, but a terrific last-ditch tackle from Ciaran McKenzie prevented the player getting his strike on goal away.
Henderson again went close with an effort minutes after the restart, a shot on goal that prompted cheers from the Hutchie supporters on the near side who thought the ball was creeping in at the post.
With the pressure now increasing on the Tynecastle side, Skinner again went close for Vale, before parity was finally restored through Gregor Lamb’s well-placed header from a Daniel Nichol cross.
Hutchie’s confidence began to ooze in their play, some intricate passing with Declan Glass a particular stand-out, and it was Glass who rifled his shot into the top corner from a Henderson cutback that gave Hutchie the advantage for the first time in the match on the hour mark.
But, with just seven minutes remaining, Tynecastle were back on level terms after goalscorer Mills had pulled the ball back across goal and there was Andrew Lickley to stab home despite the Hutchie defence’s efforts to stop it crossing the line.
Steven Mackay should have restored Hutchie’s lead when he was given acres of space in the Tynie defence, but could only head his effort wide.
However, there was joy etched across the faces of the Hutchie XI on the pitch as from a Glass corner from the right, the ball was diverted into the path of Skinner, who tucked away into the corner with just three minutes remaining.
Hutchison Vale: Bryan Cairns, Calum Hall, Steven MacKay, Mark Brooks, Daniel Nichol, Michael Barfoot, Gregor Lamb, Euan Henderson, Grant Rose, Declan Glass, Ben Swan, Sam Colley, Jordan Meere, Dale Skinner, Sean Paterson, Jack Murray, Matthew Keddie.
Tynecastle FC: Jordan Brown, Andrew Lickley, Lewis Gill, Todd Teviotdale, Ciaran McKenzie, Dean Galloway, Jordan Purves, Max Bendle, Daniel Purves, James Cameron, Aaron Wilson, Cameron Laurie, Cameron Mills, Cameron Young, Paul Allan.