Ryans leave Leith smiling

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Leith Athletic 97 posted a convincing away win at Liberton United in the first round of the SportsAssist under-15 South East Region Cup.

Two goals from Leith striker Patrick Ryan at Liberton Park helped Leith to a 5-1 victory, but the highlight of the match came with their last goal as Ryan Colbert launched the ball into the net from long range.

Luke Cresswell managed to pull a goal back for Liberton minutes after the start of the second half and the hosts will feel that they deserved more from the match after playing well for large periods.

Ryan opened the scoring in the fourth minute when he picked up a through ball and dribbled into the area before unleashing a powerful shot into the bottom right corner of the goal.

Just a minute later, Leith doubled their lead. This time, Keith Turner placed the ball into the bottom left corner after a low cross from the right bye-line by Andrew Baird.

Brandon Brammer should have scored in the 15th minute for Leith Athletic but he volleyed wide after chipping goalkeeper Daryl McKinnon. Liberton had the chance to pull a goal back before half-time when McKinnon’s long ball played Cresswell in one-on-one, but his shot was well saved by Leith goalkeeper Campbell Johnston.

Ryan added another goal nine minutes before the break when he picked up a long ball inside the area and chipped it over the onrushing McKinnon.

Liberton pulled a goal back with the first attack of the second half. Steven Hinds’ cross from the right found Cresswell 12 yards from goal and he launched the ball into the middle of the net.

After 60 minutes, Cresswell nearly added his second goal. A long free-kick by Dary McGuire found Cresswell in the left of the area. His first shot was parried by Johnston and his second attempt was cleared off the line by Neall Lloyd.

A minute later, Cresswell was at it again, forcing a superb double save from Johnston.

Leith put the game beyond all doubt when Brammer’s shot found the bottom left corner of the goal after Ryan found him with an inch-perfect pass into the area.

Colbert completed the scoring for Leith with five minutes remaining, and it must be a contender for his team’s goal of the season. Having picked up the ball 35 yards from goal, he proceeded to hammer it into the top left corner.

Leith manager Gary Colbert was pleased with the win, but felt his team switched off at the start of the second half. “It was a good start to the game and we dominated the first half, but we put ourselves under pressure unnecessarily. We slowly got back into it in the second half and I think the score line is about fair. It was a decent game and I’m happy with the result. With a bit of luck we might have a chance of winning Division 3. There are a lot of good teams in the league and we’ll definitely be close. We can hopefully go far in the cups as well.”

Liberton United Under 15s manager Paul Hunter felt that the scoreline did not reflect the quality of play that his team showed. He said: “It was a steady game for us and a big improvement from last season. It was never a 5-1 game, and there were a few mistakes and a couple of chances that we could have scored from.

“It was a good game and both teams competed well. They took their chances and we didn’t. They have a good goalkeeper and they were confident throughout the back four.

“We perhaps didn’t put them under as much pressure as we should have”

Liberton United: Daryl McKinnon, Kia Hamilton, Dary McGuire, John Weir, Stuart Robertson, Steven Hinds, Matthew Coull, Luke Cresswell, Conner Miller, Blair Foggo, Darren Miller, Calum Smith, Sam Cotton.

Leith Athletic 97: Campbell Johnston, Andrew Baird, Osama Mahmoud, Ryan Colbert, Keith Turner, Neall Lloyd, Leighton Paterson, Blair Kemp, Lewis Robertson, Gordon Kinnear, Jack Watt, Brandon Brammer, Christopher Slater, Ryan Love, Patrick Ryan.