LBC Lochend cemented their position as one of Edinburgh’s top amateur teams after defeating North Merchiston Vale 2-1 in the final of the LEAFA Victory Cup at a rain-drenched Meggetland.
The fixture was originally due to be played at Paties Road but the conditions of the grass pitch in Colinton required the location to be changed to the 3G surface to enable the game to go ahead.
Lochend coach Jason McCrindle paid tribute to the battling qualities of North Merchiston Vale and is delighted to add another trophy to what has been a hugely successful season for the Lothian West outfit.
McCrindle said: “We knew it would be a hard game and they made it really difficult for us but we managed to get the victory in the end. We’ve won a lot of silverware this season including the league so the guys have been excellent.”
The match began in blistering fashion with the first goal arriving within the opening minute. A cross from the left evaded the Merchiston defence and Craig Rankin nipped in to score from close range to give Lochend the lead.
Lochend continued in the ascendency with Rankin the creator in their next surge on the Merchiston goal. The lively No. 10 showed great trickery to pass his defender and then delivered a tempting cross which goalkeeper Christopher Donaldson could only spill, with a team-mate needed to knock it away for a corner.
Lochend began to penetrate the Merchiston goal with a number of long-distance shots which failed to cause any great concern for Donaldson, but their build-up play was proving a joy to watch with their short passes and movement off the ball dictating the flow of play.
Then, out of the blue, Merchiston found themselves back on level terms with a well taken goal on 15 minutes. A long ball out of defence was flicked on by striker Chris Boylen and Chris Keir showed great strength to hold off his opponent before firing a half volley into the bottom left-hand corner.
Merchiston didn’t use their equaliser to build in confidence as Lochend continued to pressurise goalkeeper Donaldson. Rankin once again was the architect as he created space for a strike on goal which went just wide of the far post and then Marc Lothian curled a free-kick wide of the top right corner as the sides went in at half-time all square.
The second half began in similar fashion to the first with Lochend taking the game to their opponents and trying to make things happen in front of goal. On occasions, the Lothian West champions were perhaps guilty of trying to be too clever when the simple pass may have proved more effective.
However, their patience paid off after 65 minutes when a corner from Ean Gilhooley was met by Craig Hume who managed to out jump a crowded penalty area to nod past Donaldson.
Hume was on the prowl for a second and fired a vicious free-kick just wide of the post shortly after before he found himself in a similar position to where he had previously converted, but was out of luck this time round as he headed over.
Merchiston had a good chance of their own when Jamie Knox’s shot from the edge of the box forced Christopher Robertson into a fine save but with the ball hit with such power, the goalkeeper could only parry the strike to his left which Mark Hogg picked up on but couldn’t convert at the near post.
Rankin then had the opportunity of having one final say when he was released down the left wing from MacIntosh’s clever pass, and he curled an effort of his right boot which Donaldson had to scramble across goal to turn away producing a great stop.
North Merchiston Vale: Christopher Donaldson, Jordan Banks, Stuart Gibbons, Jamie Knox, Stuart Millar, Christopher Johnson, Chris Adams, Chris Sproule, Chris Boylen, Chris Keir, Leigh Newby, Steven Ret, Martin Duffy, Mark Donaldson, Mark Hogg, Manuel Delso.
LBC Lochend: Christopher Robertson, Stuart Smith, Simon Riley, Lee Pyrkosz, Colin Waddle, Ean Gilhooley, Martin Cairney, Craig Hume, Scott Coventry, Craig Rankin, Marc Lothian, Craig MacIntosh, Mark Boggie, Gary Low, Michael Smith, Allan McCrindle.