Local heroes: Revenge is sweet as last-minute wonder strike wins Challenge Cup for Tynecastle

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Tynecastle FC won the SYFA 15s Challenge Cup after a 1-0 victory over Antonine Blacks at the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie.

With the match heading towards extra time, a last-minute wonder strike by Tyler Connachan confirmed that the prestigious trophy would be heading back to the Capital.

This was the first time that the same two teams had contested the final for two years running. Blacks lifted the cup in 2011 after a 1-0 extra-time win, so revenge was sweet for the boys in maroon.

Antonine dominated possession in the first half, but Tynecastle had the first scoring chance when Jaimie Purves’s cross from the right fell to Kyle Mitchell, but his shot was well saved by Antonine goalkeeper Paul McKenna.

The Clydebank team then threatened, but Declan McGraw’s shot went wide of the left post.

Another Purves cross created a further opportunity after 20 minutes, but Cameron Jeffrey headed over the bar from 12 yards.

Three minutes later, Antonine’s Liam Deane shot too high from 25 yards, then the youngster wasted another chance by shooting over from eight yards after a floated pass fell kindly for him.

Tynecastle’s superb defensive efforts were forcing Antonine to shoot from distance and Euan Urquhart’s long-range free kick went narrowly over the bar on the verge of half-time.

The Edinburgh team grew in confidence in the second half and Jason Kerr’s long-range shot was caught by McKenna after 42 minutes.

Jeffrey and Lewis Murray were close to scoring four minutes later. From a corner, Jeffrey’s shot from ten yards was cleared off the line by an Antonine defender and when the ball arrived back in the box, Murray headed over the bar from six yards.

A midfield battle ensued as both teams struggled to find an opening. It took until the 70th minute for Tynecastle to create their next chance but Kyle Mitchell’s shot from 12 yards was too high.

Then with seven minutes remaining, Antonine’s Craig Cowan fancied his chances but shot over after Urquhart’s cross.

With extra-time looming, Connachan finally broke the deadlock which would see his side head back east with the cup. A chipped through ball was poorly dealt with by McKenna, whose clearance went straight to Connachan. The teenager still had a lot to do in front of him but unleashed a shot which nestled into the net from 30 yards.

Deep into stoppage time, Cowan’s shot from long range went over the bar and Tynecastle were confirmed as SYFA Challenge Cup winners for 2012.

Tynecastle coach Simon Kinghorn was complimentary to his side’s opponents but felt his players just about edged it with the desire to keep going and the final minute proving decisive.

“It was a very close game, just like last year,” Kinghorn said. “Antonine are a very good footballing side and like to play the ball on the deck and move it about. The wind was swirling around the stadium and that made it difficult for us to play the football that we like to play.

“The difference between the sides was that we were able to keep the momentum going by making some substitutions and, from the pressure we created, we forced them into a mistake from which we scored our goal. There weren’t many clear-cut chances, but that’s because of the two evenly matched teams.”

Tynecastle FC: Billy Taylor, David Wright, Calum Cowan, Matthew Quinn, Craig Russell, Greg Binnie, Jaimie Purves, Jason Kerr, Cameron Jeffrey, Kyle Mitchell, Lewis Murray, Euan Graham, Mark Shiells, Matthew Graham, Tyler Connachan, Jamie Hamilton.

Antonine Blacks: Paul McKenna, Euan Urquhart, Calum Campbell, Christopher Dooley, Sam Gallacher, Aaron Graham, Ryan Forrester, Andrew Hume, Craig Cowan, Kevin Lavelle, Liam Deana, Michael Gaughan, Declan McGraw, Mark McNaught.