Hallhill Park in Dunbar was the venue as Hutchison Vale 14s ran out 3-0 winners against West Lothian outfit Murieston United Blues in the final of the SPORTSassist South East Region Cup.
It wasn’t until the second-half, however, that the Hutchie players found their momentum and were allowed to show their superiority as Murieston proved to be worthy finalists.
Hutchie Vale defender Jack Cook felt his side were deserving winners over the course of the match and is thrilled at how the season has progressed for the club overall.
Cook said: “It was a good performance as we passed the ball around well, created chances and got the goals so we’re very pleased. We’ve done really well this season in both the league and cups so it’s been great.”
Hutchie began the match in similar fashion, passing the ball around at ease and dictating play. However, they were met by a resolute Murieston defence in the opening stages who restricted the Scottish Cup winners to very few opportunities. Regan Hendry finally put Hutchie ahead with a great solo effort when he eased himself past two defenders and proceeded to round Mark Napier and slot home.
Great trickery from Hendry’s team-mate Ethan Feachen almost created an opening for a second but there were no takers when he delivered an accurate cross into the box. Great vision from Sean McKirdy then set up Brandon Archibald whose long range effort had sufficient power behind the shot but unfortunately for the No.6, Napier held well in the Murieston goal.
Without creating much in the way of any clear-cut chances of their own in the first-half, Murieston always looked dangerous on the break with energetic striker Harry Knox willing to chase every loose ball.
Hendry’s ability to outrun his opponents was proving invaluable to the Hutchie side, and it was from his great cross from the left that they almost added a second when McKirdy headed inches wide of the far post.
Hutchie did grab their second goal of the game 15 minutes into the second-half when Feachen picked out the run of substitute Sam Birch into the Murieston box, and he showed great composure in lifting the ball over Napier, who was off his line, and into the net.
The outcome was assured moments later when Hendry notched his second and Hutchie’s third. A great pass from the outside of Archibald’s foot put Hendry in at the edge of the box, and with a superb change of pace, the hugely gifted player struck a low drive across Napier, which nestled in the bottom corner of the net. Hendry then almost gained a memorable hat-trick after McKirdy’s accurate pass found the player in a similar position to his last strike, but this time the No.11 was foiled by the base of the post.
Murieston then had an opportunity to claw one back, but Jason Jack couldn’t take advantage when in front of goal as he fired over Byron Gibb’s crossbar after an uncharacteristic mistake from the stalwart Cook. Hutchie’s Cameron McAlpine tried to emulate Birch’s earlier strike with a deft chip of his own but his luck was out as the ball trundled wide of the target. McAlpine then had another chance in the final minute but his crisp strike from Innes Goodall’s cross produced a tremendous save from Napier. Murieston’s David Atkinson was delighted to have reached the final stage of the competition but believes his side always faced a battle against a top side in Hutchie Vale. He said: “They should be very proud of themselves as they’ve worked their socks off to get here. I think we put on a good showing considering who we were up against. If we’d managed to get a break or two then it would have been good to get a goal but as I said, Hutchie are a top side. We won the West Lothian Cup so we’re delighted how the season has gone.”
Hutchison Vale: Byron Gibb, Cameron Milne, Sam Birch, Cameron Begbie, Brandon Archibald, Murray Sutherland, Aiden Quinn, Ryan Fox, Ethan Feachen, Regan Hendry, Cameron Sclater, Sean McKirdy, Innes Goodall, Cameron McAlpine, Lewis Swaney, Jack Cook.
Murieston United Blue: Mark Napier, Harry Knox, Luke Dwyer, Samuel Reid, Neil Atkinson, Callum Logan, Kerr Fraser, Michael Hunter, Gary McGeouch, Craig Wright, Jason Jack, Andrew Turner, Liam Murray, Cameron Bendall, Paul Davidson, Andrew Paterson, Kieran McGolgan.