Tynecastle 17s edged out Musselburgh Windsor 3-2 with an epic battle in the final of the Sportsassist South East Region Cup which needed extra-time to separate the two sides on a tremendous playing surface at Hallhill, Dunbar.
Musselburgh Windsor can count themselves rather unfortunate having been 2-1 ahead with just five minutes remaining, only to concede a goal late on and then another in the first-half of extra-time.
Musselburgh Windsor coach Stuart Turnbull was left to rue his side’s inability to hold on to their lead but spoke highly about the commitment from his squad.
He said: “We’re hugely disappointed being five minutes away from winning the cup. We knew there wasn’t going to be much in it but I’m proud of the boys’ efforts as they stuck with it right until the end and that’s all you can ask for.”
Tynecastle began in the ascendency and created the first opportunity of the contest. Dylan Rintoul broke free into the Musselburgh penalty area and rounded goalkeeper Chris Anderson, but his first touch took him wide enabling Craig Turnbull to clear the striker’s goal-bound effort. Rintoul had a further chance shortly after but his strike was deflected just wide of the target after receiving a pass from Kern Hutchison.
Tynecastle’s early pressure paid off in the 15th minute from a corner kick. Hutchison’s swerving delivery was flicked on at the near post by Kevin Dyet who bulleted the ball into the back of the net.
Tynecastle continued their surge on their opponents’ goal and a great aerial ball over the Musselburgh defence from Jamie Tubby found the lively Rintoul hovering once again, but his controlled effort was just too high to trouble Anderson.
Then out of nothing, Musselburgh found themselves back on level terms. A great reverse pass from Jack Thomson found target-man Jordan Burrows who placed a low shot past Neil Fairnie from close range.
Rintoul then squandered two more opportunities, one striking the woodwork and the other an easy take for Anderson.
Musselburgh then somehow gained the lead shortly before the break. Kevin Keane collected a pass on the left and drove into the penalty area before squaring it to Burrows who bundled the ball over the line for his second.
Burrows then passed up the opportunity of a hat-trick when Jack McIntyre played a clever pass to the centre-forward but he failed to hit the target as the ball went wide.
Musselburgh were now beginning to show their worth, particularly in the attacking areas of the pitch with Burrows and McIntyre proving a lively partnership.
Musselburgh’s Ryan McConville then found the side netting with an ambitious attempt before Danny Graves’ strike was deflected wide as Tynecastle searched for the goal they so urgently required.
That goal finally arrived with just minutes remaining, bringing ecstasy to the Tynecastle faithful when Hutchison drove the ball into the far corner past Anderson to level it at 2-2.
Extra-time managed to produce a winner and it was Keiran Muirhead who proved to be the hero as he fired his side to victory with a quite superb strike. The winger collected the ball 25 yards from goal, jinxed past a defender into the box before curling an exquisite left-footed shot into the far corner leaving Anderson completely stranded.
The Musselburgh team must have thought they’d equalised in the final minute of extra-time when Keane’s powerful effort appeared net-bound until a quite magnificent fingertip save from Fairnie diverted the ball over the bar and out to safety as referee Kevin Ferguson brought the game to an end with the final whistle.
Tynecastle’s Douglas Ormston felt the opportunities not taken, particularly in the first-half, would have perhaps come back to haunt his side but was delighted such a conclusion didn’t materialise.
“I thought we had a lot of chances in the first half and probably should have done better with those. But I think we had more of the game overall and deserved to win. The boys had to work really hard on a hot day so I’m delighted for them,” he said.
Musselburgh Windsor: Chris Anderson, Andrew Cameron, Patrick Harrold, Craig McLeod, Marc Berry, Jack Moffat, Ryan McConville, Daniel Moffat, Jordan Burrows, Craig Turnbull, Kevin Keane, Jack McIntyre, Gary S-Learmonth, Ben Stewart, Jack Thomson.
Tynecastle: Neil Fairnie, Jamie Tubby, Danny Graves, Martin Innes, Mark McCracken, Liam Peden, Kevin Dyet, Liam Conaghan, Dylan Rintoul, Jamie Henderson, Keiran Muirhead, Kern Hutchinson, Brendan Edwards, Calum Edwards.