North Merchiston Colts 13s showed clinical finishing as they beat ten-man Arniston Rangers 8-4 at Harrison Park.
Merchie got off to a blistering start to the Division 2 Section B game as Fraser McLellan burst through the Rangers defence to bury the ball into the bottom right corner with barely 30 seconds on the stopwatch.
It was 2-0 a minute later as Luke Ramage took advantage of some slack defending from Rangers to loop the ball in from ten yards.
It was an uphill battle for Arniston which was made even more difficult when goalkeeper Bailey Forbes left the game with illness, meaning midfielder Bailey Maclean had to go in the sticks. With no substitutes on the bench, Rangers were down to ten.
Rangers had to compose themselves but, to their credit, they began searching for a way back. Aiden Galloway played a great ball across the face of goal from the right but none of his team-mates were quite quick enough to get on the end of it.
Rangers worked desperately hard to change their fortunes but they conceded twice more with Merchie looking more and more dangerous as the game wore on. Arran Watt reacted first to George Hand’s rebounded shot to extend the lead before Fraser Macrossan took advantage of time and space in the box to make it 4-0.
It seemed the game was destined to end with a comfortable Merchie victory but Arniston were thrown a lifeline midway through the first half. Galloway was chopped down in the Merchie box and the referee instantly pointed to the spot. Max Swan made no mistake with a fine penalty dispatched into the bottom right corner.
It did nothing to deter Merchie’s attacking efforts however. They were ruthless in front of goal to make it 6-1 before half-time. Shaun Smith took his chance well through on goal for the fifth and Macrossan added his second with a thumping shot high into the Rangers goal from outside the box.
Rangers didn’t quit trying and were rewarded with a second goal before the break. Galloway chased on to a hopeful ball forward before rounding keeper Ben Tweedale and firing into the open goal.
Rangers began to play some fine football after the break. Daniel Ormeroid, Swan and Galloway passed the ball around well in the middle of the park as they patiently probed. They were just lacking with a final ball in the danger zone.
Galloway was in the thick of the action again as he found a gap in the Merchie defence to burst through and fire in, for a third goal for the ten men.
There was a glimmer of hope for Rangers to turn the game around but North Merchiston, to their credit, immediately responded to deny the comeback.
Smith pounced on a loose ball in the box to hit a right-footed shot past the stand-in keeper, making the score 7-3.
Another goal wasn’t far off for Merchie and they made it 8-3 with five minutes remaining as Macrossan hit his hat-trick with a fine strike from 20 yards.
It had been a struggle with ten men all day for Rangers but they did at least get to find the net again and deservedly so for their positive and hard-working attitude. Ashley Nyath’s long ball forward picked out Galloway to complete his hat-trick with quick feet and a neat finish in the box.
North Merchiston Colts 13s: George Hand, Arran Watt, Sam Inglis, Fraser Macrosson, Euan Sanderson, Charlie Robertson, Fraser McLellan, Corran Dingwall, Shaun Smith, Luke Ramage, Pablo Laird, James A’Hara, Ian A’Hara, Ben Tweedale, John Young.
Arniston Rangers 13s: Bailey Forbes, Bailey Maclean, Scott Sutherland, Ashley Nyath, Robbie Melrose, Aiden Galloway, Ben Clark, Luis Davidson, Max Swan, Leon Hayes, Daniel Ormeroid, Daniel Ormar.