Hutchison Vale 14s remain on course to end the season on a high after defeating Cavalry Park 2-0 in the final of the Bill Sheridan Cup at Saughton Enclosure.
The South East Region Division One outfit are currently in pole position to lift the league championship, but have also cast their eyes over further cup success with a number of finals still to be played between now and the end of the season.
Hutchie coach Tam Smith was delighted with his players’ grit and determination to pull through in the end against some stern opposition of Cavalry Park.
He said: “It was a tight affair as Cavalry played really well so there wasn’t much in the game. It was a really good contested final but I thought our two goals were the result of some really good build-up play and great finishes. But I’m really pleased overall in what was a really enjoyable game.”
Both teams began on the front foot looking to gain the early initiative. A terrific ball over the Cavalry defence from Jack Cook had Innes Goodall in the clear but he failed to deliver with a shot straight at Cavalry goalkeeper Kerr Robertson.
Then, Cavalry’s Robbie Conway battled hard for possession on the right before shooting from the narrowest of angles which forced Byron Gibb into making the save.
With both defences holding firm, the attacking personnel of Hutchie and Cavalry were restricted to shots from distance with neither goalkeeper really tested to any great extent.
However, confusion between Hutchie’s Cameron Milne and Cameron Begbie presented an opportunity for the lively Conway, but the little striker dragged his shot well wide of the target when having the first clear sight on goal.
Cavalry defender Ben Stirling was not only proving his worth defensively as the teenager was also assisting his attacking team-mates in and around the Hutchie penalty area.
It was Stirling’s robustness which saw him bear down on Gibb’s goal but just as it looked as if Cavalry would grab the lead before the half-time interval, Stirling’s composure deserted him at the last second as he fired a weak shot straight into the arms of Gibbs.
Hutchie came out the traps in the second half with Regan Hendry in particular looking to impose himself. It was the wide-man’s trickery which played in Ethan Feachen but the No. 10 failed to convert as he shot wide of the target.
Feachen then went close once again as he managed to regain control of the ball in the Cavalry box after slipping and fired a rasping drive which struck the upright with Robertson rooted to the spot.
A corner from the right found an unmarked Aidan Holligan at the back post but his shot proved a comfortable take for Gibb who was untroubled.
A superb passing move between Holligan and Adam Watson provided the latter with an opportunity at the edge of the box, but despite expertly using a defender as a decoy to block goalkeeper Gibb’s view, the striker just curled his shot inches wide of the post.
Hutchie’s Hendry then found the breakthrough with a superb strike into the far corner after being played neatly through from the deft touch of Feachen to put Hutchie 1-0 up.
The Cavalry boys’ heads appeared to drop and with that, Hutchie added their killer second only moments later. Sam Birch played a ball out towards Feachen on the left wing and with his cross, Robertson could only palm the ball into the direction of Cameron Sclater who dispatched into the corner with ease.
Cavalry’s Watson had a late effort which went just over in a last-ditch attempt to salvage something from this closely fought affair.
Cavalry Park’s Derek Turkington felt it was always going to be the odd goal that would settle the outcome but felt his side tired towards the end.
Turkington added: “Our lads began to tire after working really hard for most of the match and with the kind of game it is, it can take it out of you.
“Had we taken the chances we had earlier in the match then it might have been a different result.”
Hutchison Vale FC: Byron Gibb, Cameron Milne, James Ahari, Sam Birch, Cameron Begbie, Brandon Archibald, Murray Sutherland, Aiden Quinn, Ryan Fox, Ethan Feachen, Regan Hendry, Innes Goodall, Sean McKirdy, Cameron Sclater, Cameron McAlpine, Lewis Swaney, Jack Cook, Cameron Fraser.
Cavalry Park FC: Kerr Robertson, Ben Stirling, Cal Sheridan, Roan Turkington, Aidan Holligan, Andrew Taylor, Sam Nicol, Adam Watson, Robbie Conway, Cai Smith, Tylar Gibson, Sean Gilroy, Jack Kidney, Alexander Simpson, Euan Greig, Kobi May.