HUTCHISON VALE under-13s will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of last year’s team after they secured their place in the final of the SPORTSassist South East Region Cup with a 5-0 home win over Hillfield Swifts.
Hillfield had battled well and were still in with a chance until a trio of late goals secured Hutchie their trip to Dunbar where they will face fellow Division 1 outfit Newcraighall Leith Victoria. Hutchie will be hoping to replicate the current under-14s side who were 2-1 victors over Loanhead Miners Youth in the showpiece final last June.
Hutchie had got off to the best possible start after just three minutes, when, after a period of intricate passing, Luke McMahon gave the home side the lead with their first shot on goal.
Division 2 outfit Hillfield were starting to regain their confidence after a poor start, with central-defensive pairing Ali Bouhaddou and Marc McGuire doing their best to nullify the threat from Hutchie and only a goal-line clearance from Hutchie’s Ross Young prevented Brogan Proudfoot from prodding the ball home for an equaliser.
A poor goal kick from Hillfield keeper Ronan Fox-Begley then gifted Hutchie a crucial second just five minutes before half-time. Lewis McCann did well to anticipate the slack kick and he unselfishly passed to Callum Anderson who swept the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
Fox-Begley made amends shortly after though, when he palmed Declan McFadden’s shot from the right-hand side of the box to clear.
Hutchie goalkeeper Niall McFadden wasn’t doing too bad himself, either, the 11-year-old having been drafted in to the squad from the under-12s after first-choice keeper Ciaran Cairns was injured. He looked composed and assured when coming out of goal to thwart Daniel Adam of Hillfield early in the second half, diving at his feet to clear.
With five minutes remaining McMahon got his second of the match with an excellent strike from 25 yards out. The striker created space for himself outside of the box before curling a left-foot strike high into the air and it dipped under the bar just in time to put his side three ahead.
Anderson then returned the favour to McCann for his earlier assist when he played him in on the right side of the box and he powered his shot home with two minutes to go.
McMahon still had time for his hat-trick and he got it in the final minute when he shot across Fox-Begley and into the bottom corner.
Meanwhile, Tynecastle Under-15s secured a final showdown against Hutchison Vale in Dunbar by scoring a dramatic extra-time winner to beat Spartans Reds 2-1.
The two sides had drawn 2-2 in the league earlier in the season and another close match was on the cards, although there was only one team in it in the first period.
Spartans had looked dominant in the first half, but only took a one-goal lead into the interval for their efforts, with Tynie goalkeeper Fraser Britton on form for the visitors at Ainslie Park. Lewis MacKay got Tynie back on level terms with an incredible free-kick on 65 minutes. From 30 yards out he sent the ball flying over the Spartans wall and into the net from the left side of the box.
Neither side could get the winner in normal time and it was Tynecastle who looked more likely to get a winner in extra time. And they did so with just four minutes of the second period remaining as striker Cameron Dawson sparked wild celebrations amongst his team-mates with his strike from the edge of the box which crashed into the net via the post.
Elsewhere, Hutchison Vale Under-19s overcame Musselburgh Windsor 96s 4-2 at Pinkie to secure their place in the final of the South East Region Cup against last year’s Under-17s finalists, North Merchiston.
Visitors Hutchie started the brightest against fellow Division 1 rivals Windsor and were unlucky not to take an early lead after Jordan Comb’s lobbed effort from 25 yards struck the crossbar with Windor’s goalkeeper beaten.
Musselburgh got themselves in front however ahead of the half-time whistle when Scott Chapman got the better of Hutchie’s keeper with a free-kick.
Hutchie were level early in the second half after Ryan Malcolm headed in a Connor McGregor corner, however Windsor stole back their lead immediately from the restart when Darren Handling chipped the keeper from the edge of the box.
Their lead didn’t last long though as minutes later McGregor powered his shot past Windor’s goalkeeper from 18 yards out. Matthew Maguire then gave Hutchie the lead for the first time with a great finish into the corner, before Rob Dent bundled in the rebound after Comb’s free-kick couldn’t be held on to by Windsor’s keeper.