South Gyle AFC battled to a hard fought 3-0 victory over defending Premier Division champions Newcraighall Leith Vics at Gyle Park.
After losing half of their first team before the start of this campaign, Vics were a well co-ordinated outfit in the early stages as they battled hard in midfield against their division rivals. Neither team wanted to squander possession which meant a flat opening 15 minutes with neither side really creating in the final third.
The first real threat came minutes later from Dean Clements who stung the palms of Vics keeper Graham O’Brien with a shot from the edge of the box. The man between the sticks then produced another fine save minutes later to deny Clements as he cut in from the right to again.
Gyle had began to look lively and they scored on the break with 25 minutes gone. Johnnie Niven attacked down the right before rifling the ball across goal where Peter Burt shot in at the back post.
Gyle had their tails up but the momentum of the encounter then swung the way of Vics as they looked to fashion a response. Stuart McLaughlin carved out a pass to David Turnbull on the edge of the Gyle box and he spun and shot, but only over the top of the crossbar.
A minute later Vics again came close with a shot from just outside the danger zone. Turnbull this time turned provider as he teed up Gordon Ramsay, forcing a fine save from Gyle goalie Steven Syme.
You could sense a goal was coming and for a split second, Vics thought they’d found a way back into the game. Donald Motion got up well to head the ball from a corner but despite connecting well with the ball, it flew just over the top.
Then, on the stroke of half time, Gyle ended Vics’ momentum as they found a second with a special strike. Sean Mcallister scored from a dipping free-kick which flew over the wall and into goal just under the bar.
When the game resumed after the half-time break Gyle added another to all but secure the victory. Clements seized upon a defensive mix up between O’Brien and Kevin Smith to win the ball 25 yards out and half volley into an empty net, compounding the misery for the Vics.
There was only going to be one winner now but Vics never gave up and could easily have pulled one back before the end. McLaughlin again came close when he whipped a free kick round the wall, only to be denied by a good save low down by Syme.
Gyle could have added another late on when Niven was chopped down by O’Brien with the referee having no choice but to award a penalty. Ross Alexander stepped up to take it, only to see his effort foiled by the man between the sticks.
The miss wasn’t going to really matter though with Gyle seeing out the game to win 3-0 on the day.
Coach Shaun Sweeney savoured his side’s result against the champions after the game.
“I think the scoreline definitely reflects the team’s performance out there and it’s a pleasing result against last year’s league winners.
“The guys kept their heads well when things got a bit heated and remained focused and it’s paid off. We push on from here and we’re hopeful of a successful season ahead.”
South Gyle AFC: Ross Alexander, Dean Anderson, Andrew Easton, Sean Mcallister, Keith McIntyre, Johnnie Niven, Scott Riddell, Neil Ross, Peter Burt, Dean Clements, Gordon McCreadie, David Robertson, Steven Syme.
Newcraighall Leith Victoria: Graham O’Brien, Robert Johnstone, Daniel Kay, David Turnbull, Stuart McLaughlin, Graham O’Brien, Andrew Paterson, Keith Shields, Kevin Smith, Jai Whyte, Paul Whyte, Paul McLear, Donald Motion, Kevin McLaughlin, Gordon Ramsay, Sean Loughlin.