Leith ATHLETIC 16s are right on the heels of Division 1 leaders Tynecastle after a hard-fought 4-2 victory over Salvesen CFC at Forrester High.
Leith are now only three points adrift of their rivals and are yet to suffer defeat ahead of what promises to be an exciting climax to the season.
Leith’s Martin Owens admits Tynecastle are favourites to land championship glory but admits his players will be giving it everything between now and the end of May.
Owens said: “We played really well but Salvesen made it a difficult game for us. Tynecastle are probably the strongest team in the league and we’ve still got some very difficult games to play, but if we can keep winning then it will put them under pressure.”
It was Salvesen who broke the deadlock when Adam Robertson netted but Jonny Nicol equalised when he headed home Jake Owens’ in-swinging corner.
The visitors then moved ahead when a free-kick into the Salvesen penalty box wasn’t dealt with and Robbie Ewing was quickest to react to fire a half volley into the bottom right corner.
Leith went in 3-1 ahead at the break when Gavin Brown found space at the back post to head into the net from Jamie Cook’s deep cross.
Leith then completed a hat-trick of headed goals after Ryan Flannigan was the recipient of a Paul Kennedy cross to make it 4-1 before Calum Jackson’s rasping effort grabbed a consolation for Salvesen.
Salvesen coach Jason Hastie said: “We’ve been playing really well lately and creating chances but we’ve been unable to capitalise on them. The match was competitive and action-packed but Leith took their chances well when they came along.”
Hutchie Vale into semis
HUTCHISON VALE 17s are through to the semi-finals of the SPORTSassist South East Region Cup after a 3-0 triumph over rivals Tynecastle at Saughton.
First half goals from Dylan Moore, Sean Stevens and Dean Robertson were enough to see off the threat of the home side who created several chances themselves but were unable to find a route past Hutchie No. 1 Danny Kerr who was in terrific form.
Moore finished off a fine team move when his low, driven shot nestled in the bottom right corner after receiving a deft back heel from Devan Burnside.
Stevens then made it 2-0 with a quick finish before goal-scorer Moore was upended in the Tynecastle penalty box and Robertson stepped up to make it three from 12 yards and put the game out of reach for the maroon jerseys
Despite both sides creating a number of opportunities after the half-time interval, neither could add to the goal tally.
Hutchie coach Colin Cameron said: “We expected a difficult game but we made a couple of changes to the formation which seemed to help and tighten things up.
“I think we caught them out in the first half but our goalkeeper made a couple of great saves as well. But we easily could have nicked a goal or two in the second half.”
United beat namesakes
EDINBURGH UNITED Juniors 19s of Division 2 defeated Edinburgh United FC 2-0 at Paties Road to progress to the second round of the Federation of Hibs Supporters Cup.
It was a welcome victory for Juniors who can now look forward to an away tie against Musselburgh Windsor Colts in the next round after conquering their Division 1 opponents.
Laurie Bertoia proved to be the difference between the sides as he grabbed both goals either side of the interval. The player’s first arrived from inside six yards to give Juniors the lead before he delivered a crisp finish from a similar position to seal the tie with number two.
Juniors’ coach Tony White felt his side were deserved winners. “We dominated the game and I think 2-0 flattered them. We had quite a number of other chances but they had a few chances themselves just before we got the second goal. However, we’re pleased to beat a Division 1 side.”