Partizan continued their early-season form with a 4-3 away win over Stables in the first round of the Presidents Cup, sealing their victory with two goals in the final 15 minutes.
The match was evenly balanced and looked to be heading to extra time until striker David Johnston came on for Partizan midway through the second half and his brilliance inspired his side as he set up their third and fourth goals of the afternoon.
Partizan – who top the LEAFA Sunday morning league with three wins out of three – were ahead after ten minutes. Brad Smith’s shot from the edge of the area was deflected on its route to goal, leaving Gavin Barclay with no chance.
Stables levelled things up through Phillip Carter, when the left winger was gifted possession by Partizan and he strode clear down the wing before firing past Mark Peacock in goal.
The home side grew in confidence from their leveller and should have been ahead moments later when Neil McGlade’s inch-perfect ball over the top of Partizan’s defence found Ryan Kecheran but the striker rushed his effort and he fired over the bar.
Stables did go ahead before half-time though, with Partizan again conceding possession too easily in their own half. Kecheran went through on goal and he unselfishly squared to Craig Stachini who was left with a simple tap-in from close range.
Partizan drew level five minutes into the second half when they were awarded a penalty after a trip in the box and Patrick Shelvin scored from the spot.
The league leaders regained their lead through Shelvin’s brother, Daniel, after Johnston’s pass from just outside the box set it up for Shelvin at the front post and he side-footed into the net.
With five minutes remaining Partizan sealed the win with Johnston again involved in the build-up. This time the striker set up Smith for his second of the afternoon, and he finished well into the bottom corner.
Stables reduced the deficit to just one with midfielder Andrew Brown finding the net from distance after a poor clearance by Peacock, but were unable to find an equaliser in the remaining few minutes.
Meanwhile, Lochend continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 2-1 home win over Penicuik United in an early-season top-of-the-table clash in Saturday’s Premier 2 league.
Left-back Nicky Murray put the home side ahead from a corner amid Penicuik’s slack defending, finding the net from just inside the box.
Lochend were well on top in the first half with Penicuik failing to create many chances, but they drew level just after half-time when Stuart Inglis dispossessed a Lochend defender before driving in on goal and beating the goalkeeper.
Tom Crease scored the winner for Lochend after beating the offside trap late in the second half. The on-form striker showed great pace to run in and slide the ball under the Penicuk goalkeeper to put his side top of the table.
Lochend secretary Gary Amos said of his side: “Their attitude has been fantastic. The boys have been training really well, with great numbers turning up. Penicuik are a good side but I felt we dominated. It was a very important victory.”
Elsewhere, Clermiston Star put three past Dunedin Athletic on Saturday as they moved above their opponents into fourth place in the Edinburgh East league.
Striker David Menzies gave Clermiston the lead with a powerful left-foot finish after Jonathon Downie’s through ball found the frontman.
Sean Byrne made it two with a header from a David Lewis cross before Lewis put Paul Sheerin through for Clermiston’s third of the afternoon.
Clermiston secretary Graeme Stewart feels his side could have a real say in the Edinburgh East league this season, now they have a full squad available: “With our strongest team I feel we could get promotion or even win the league,” he said.