Longniddry Villa Colts 14s lifted the Paladin Cup after a hard-earned 4-3 win over Lauriston Thistle 14s at Saughton Enclosure.
The Division 3 leaders racked up a 4-0 lead at the break with all four goals coming from striker Jack Allan.
After half-time Lauriston came out looking rejuvenated however, pulling three goals back and almost taking the Colts to extra time.
It was the east coast side that held on at the death though and Coach Jim McAvoy was delighted with his team’s efforts.
“I’m chuffed and relieved. Lauriston came back into the game in the second half and we had to do our best to deal with that. I was impressed with our first-half performance but in the second half they closed us down better and made it difficult. We dug deep at the end though and saw the game out,” he said.
Longniddry sit top of Division 3 and McAvoy is keen to see them still there at the end of the season. “It’s tight in the league with four teams including ourselves still competing for the top spot with games in hand so I think it’ll be tough. We’ve still to play Lauriston, Currie Star Colts and Edinburgh City though so we’ll be hoping to make those games count. It’s been a great season though and the boys are enjoying it which is the most important thing,” he said.
Longniddry began strongly in the final, looking to test Steven Chalmers in the Lauriston goal early on. After Allan fired a warning shot across goal minutes into the affair, the striker made sure he found the net with his next opportunity on the tenth-minute mark. Samuel Leveque showed pace and determination down the left to create space before sending in a low cross for Allan at the near post to blast in.
It was a composed finish and he kept calm in front of goal again minutes later to fire past Chalmers for 2-0.
Longniddry continued to pose a threat down the left with Leveque causing a nuisance on the flank. With 20 minutes on the clock the winger cut in and won a penalty after he was brought down. Allan immediately took charge and aimed his kick just left of the centre of the goal for his hat-trick.
Urged on by the fans, Lauriston looked to respond but could not quite break through the Colts’ defence. As the half drew to a close, Longniddry bagged a fourth and it was the No.10 once again who got it. Blake Dyer played a perfectly-weighted ball over the top to Allan and the forward sent a lob over Chalmers from the edge of the box into the goal.
After a stern talking to on the pitch at the break, Thistle started a spirited second-half performance with two goals in ten minutes. Ryan Williamson began the fightback when he burst into the area from the right before pinging a shot across goal and into the far corner. Lauriston then found another when Lewis Watson created space down the left before squaring the ball for Steven Bell to stab in at the near post.
With the game almost over Thistle put themselves on the verge of an epic comeback when Watson sent Declan Howlett’s ball in at the back post. It was to be too steep a task to find another in stoppage time however and Longniddry held firm to see out the game.
Longniddry Villa Colts 14s: Calum Cairney, Thomas Hughes, Samuel Scott, Luke Verrall, Blake Dyer, Connor Orphant, Ryan Osborne, George Wyeth, Jack Allan, Samuel Leveque, Jamie Gallagher, Kai Hain, James Hudson, Jay Niven, Craig Humphries.
Lauriston Thistle 14s: Steven Chalmers, Josh McIntyre, Declan Howlett, Brandon Sharpe, Gary Mair, George Reid, Jay Thorburn, Kalem Campbell, Tague Gallagher, Lewis Watson, Ryan Williamson, Steven Bell, Nico Whittaker.