Leith ATHLETIC continued their promising start to the season with a 3-1 win over Lochend YFC in the Lothian Buses SERYFA Under-19s League Section A at Leith Links.
Both teams exhibited their passing philosophy and much fancied Leith Athletic had Conor Spowart to thank for the win, after he set up the opener and then scored two goals. Connor Combe grabbed a late consolation goal for Lochend.
Leith dominated the possession throughout the match, but it took a while for them to breach Lochend’s defence. Long range shots from John Robertson and Kayne Paterson, as well as a Spowart header all missed the target in the opening stages.
After 35 minutes, Spowart’s cross deflected off a Lochend defender and Michael Downie showed superb technique to volley the ball powerfully into the roof of the net.
Leith’s passing game improved further in the second half, as they started to show why they had beaten Preston Athletic 9-0 just two days earlier.
Lochend goalkeeper Ross Wood was nearly embarrassed in the 50th minute. The lively forward Spowart closed him down, forcing him into a hurried clearance straight to John Robertson who only managed to shoot narrowly over the bar.
A one goal lead is always dangerous, and this nearly proved to be the case for Leith. A long ball from Lochend central defender Alan Murray found Jonathon Robertson who volleyed narrowly wide. A few minutes later, Lochend’s Ross Grant delivered a low cross into the area, but Robertson could not stretch far enough to divert the ball towards goal.
On the 75th minute, Leith found that elusive second goal. Steven Brown’s high cross found Spowart unmarked in the area. He placed a simple header over the on-rushing goalkeeper Wood into the middle of the goal.
Ten minutes later, Leith’s Ged Grant played a delicious through ball to Brown, who found himself one on one with Wood. Brown passed it passed Wood to Spowart who finished the move off with an easy tap-in.
Lochend ensured that Leith goalkeeper Jake Louden would not be going home with a clean sheet. Straight from kick-off, striker Combe dribbled into the area before rifling a shot over Louden into the net. It was all too late for Lochend, as Leith held on to the win to go two points clear at the top of the league.
Lochend coach Tom Gannucci felt that his team gave a good account of themselves against a strong team. He said, “It was a close fought match. Leith had the bulk of the possession, but we always knew that was probably going to be the case. Our goal was to try and contain them and catch them with counters, which almost worked.
“It was a good match for the neutral. Both teams played good football and passed the ball about. If they didn’t score the second we could have grabbed an equaliser. Most people would consider Leith as one of the favourites so given our performance we could be in the top three.”
John Robertson, the Leith Athletic coach, is aiming for the league title: “We showed that we’re quite a good passing team. Lochend are quite good. They gave us a good game. We’re relieved in the end to get the goals and finish the game off. We want to win the league and do well in as many cups as possible. We’ve got some good players here.”
Leith Athletic: Jake Louden, Declan Fergus, Neil Fleming, Tommy Lyall, Conor Inglis, Kieran McDonald, Kayne Paterson, Steven Brown, John Robertson, Michael Downie, Dean Forbes, Liam Smith, Conor Spowart, Ged Grant, Jamie Todd
Lochend YFC: Ross Wood, Frazer Notman, Mark Heard, Alan Murray, Scott Fergus, Connor Combe, Scott Laidlaw, Jonathon Robertson, Selos Sfyris, David Ireland, Andrew Keighren, Ross Grant, Connor Gannucci, Aaron Blues, Andrew McCallum