HADDINGTON ATHLETIC 15s held on to progress to the Scottish Cup third round after a narrow 5-4 win over Edinburgh City.
A flurry of goals, including a hat-trick from Ross Grieve, gave the visitors a commanding 5-1 lead. But with 20 minutes left City fought back, scoring three to make it a tense finish.
It didn’t take long for Haddington to get into their stride and by the third minute they were 1-0 up. Against the run of play, a ball was played through the Edinburgh back four which found Harry Thomson. With one touch to control the ball, he slotted it underneath Dean Shearsby in the home goal.
With City pushed up the field searching for an equaliser, Haddington had another opportunity to counter and they made the most of it. Grieve used his pace and strength to get to a forward ball first before having a shot in the area. It was well-saved by Shearsby initially, but the ball was spilled and from a tight-angle Grieve fired in.
After being outplayed early on, the hosts gradually settled and managed to pull one back. They began to show some decent build up play and won their first corner of the match. The ball came into the area and unmarked at the back post was Wallace Jennings, who made no mistake to head in. Despite an improvement going forward, City weren’t able to iron out their defensive problems quite as swiftly. A long ball forward from the back was chased down by Grieve, who guided the ball in with a placed finish to extend the lead.
The visitors showed no signs of taking their foot off the gas and grabbed another five minutes after the restart. Grieve had his shooting boots on and having received the ball on the right-hand side of the area he aimed for the far corner of the goal. A last ditch attempt at a tackle from City’s Antony Little was enough to deflect the ball past the goalie.
In the thick of the action, Grieve then created Haddington’s fifth soon after. On the counter he took the ball wide on the right-hand side before crossing in to Thomson, who grabbed his second of the game with a clinical finish.
Edinburgh City really had been nonexistent in the game but with 20 minutes left Kalvin Nicol scored and his side finally started to play. A through ball forward was chased onto by the number 11 and he buried the ball into the bottom corner.
The hosts looked a completely different side and soon pulled another goal back. Five minutes since scoring they made it 3-5. A hopeful ball into the box was poached in at the near post by substitute Alistair Hogg, who just did enough to beat the defender to the ball.
Incredibly, City scored another with ten minutes to go to put themselves on the verge of a remarkable comeback. From the edge of the area, Nicol hit an instinctive first-time shot. which flew into the net.
With the clock against them, the hosts really were going for it in a bid to force extra-time. But with Haddington bodies behind the ball it was becoming increasingly difficult to create anything in the final third.
City sub Lewis Bonnar came mighty close to equalising when his shot from range, but it was met by a good save from Haddington keeper Daniel Sked to keep the scores unchanged.
Edinburgh City 15s: Dean Shearsby, Kyle Rylance, Antony Little, Ryan Foggo, Wallace Jennings, Ryan Deans, Aidan Lawson, Cameron Turner, Jason Whitehead, Ross Mckenzie, Kalvin Nicol, Lewis Bonnar, Henry Arthur, Alistair Hogg, Ryan Mackay.
Haddington Athletic 15s: Daniel Sked, Alan Doherty, Harry Thomson, Euan McNaughton, Harry Phillips, Ryan McClung, Jake McClung, Conal McGregor, Matthew Paterson, James Crow, Finn Connell, Ben Clark, Ross Grieve, Michael Brown, Nick McLeod.