Youths: North Merchiston 19s win 12-goal thriller

North Merchiston 19s came back from 5-0 down to win 7-5
North Merchiston 19s came back from 5-0 down to win 7-5
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North Merchiston 19s kept up their chances of title glory in incredible fashion as they recovered from going five goals down in the first 25 minutes – to win 7-5 against Salvesen CFC 96 at Saughton 3G.

Salvesen went into the Division 1 clash as underdogs but that didn’t stop them making a blistering start.

They took the lead after just five minutes when Harvey Kirk ran on to a through ball down the left and poked it past Ryan Forsyth.

Three minutes later they doubled their lead when Bryan Pollock’s throw from the left was eventually chipped into the box and Bradley O’Donnell found the net with a first-time shot.

North Merchiston were losing their cool and they succumbed to another goal, with Pollock cutting it across from the byline to Grant David Aitken, who side-footed home for 3-0.

Salvesen were rampant and Kirk made it four with his second of the day when he fired home another low shot from the left side of the penalty area. On 25 minutes, it was 5-0, with Ryan Miller playing in Kirk on the right side of the box, who found the net at the near post for his hat-trick.

Fraser Thompson nodded in from a corner just before half-time to get a goal back for North Merchiston, but nobody could have predicted what was to follow after the break.

After 55 minutes, Merchie’s Callum Baptie crossed from the right and Jake MacDonald tapped in at the back post.

Ten minutes later, Anton Dowds was left unmarked at the back post to head home a corner and make it 5-3.

When Sam Tulloch crossed for Nathan Evans to tap home on 75 minutes, there was a sense that something remarkable was about to happen for Merchie.

The pressure was relentless by now and the equaliser came in 77 minutes when striker Joe Turner-Law pounced upon a spill on the edge by ‘keeper Grant Steele to knock the ball home.

Having gone that far in the comeback quest, Merchie were bursting with confidence to take the lead and they did just that in the 79th minute, with MacDonald clipping home his second of the match from just inside the box.

There was still time for another goal, though, as Merchie grabbed their seventh of the day through Turner-Law.

The striker completed his double when he collected a low Fraser Eddington cross, giving his side all three points on a drama-filled afternoon of football.

Meanwhile, Hutchison Vale hammered their under-19 rivals Leith Athletic 7-0 to be crowned winners of the Bob Bankier Trophy at New Dundas Park.

Hutchie took the lead when Jason Coyle finished well after being set up by Jordan Combe.

Combe then got on the scoresheet himself. A free-kick was played into the box on the left from Kevin Keane and he found Combe, who made an excellent leap to head the ball powerfully into the back of the net via the crossbar.

Hutchie were rampant and made it three, when Liam Henderson’s byline cross was met by Coyle who fired in his second at the back post.

The fourth came through Connor McGregor, with the youngster running on to a goal kick to side-foot into the corner.

McGregor found space in behind the Leith rearguard to lob the goalkeeper for the fifth goal, while Henderson scored the sixth with a chest-and-volley effort from inside the box. McGregor completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot as he sent the ’keeper the wrong way to round off a thumping 7-0 victory.

Elsewhere, AC Oxgangs 17s reached the last eight of the Prison Officers Cup with a 2-0 victory over title-chasing Edina Hibs.

Both goals came in the first 45 minutes, the first through in-form Jamie Hamilton. Oxgangs had some fine build-up play which ended in the ball breaking to Hamilton 20 yards from goal and fired confidently into the net.

They grew in stature after that opener and doubled their advantage shortly after.

A good move developed down the right and when a cross was played in from the right wing, Paul Macari rose above the Edina defence to head home.

Edina searched for a way back into the game but couldn’t break through a resolute Oxgangs defence.