With heavy snow and wind battering the 3G park, Alba took the lead when Ritchie reacted first to a save from Loco goalkeeper Darren Lawrie to tap in early on.
The response from Loco was immediate and Shaun Dunn levelled with a 25-yard thunderbolt that flew past goalie Bruce Callan. Soon after, Alba went ahead when Robert Ure headed in from a corner, only to see the goal cancelled out by Loco’s Omar Ali with a controlled volley. The end-to-end nature of the tie continued but it was Alba’s Ritchie who bagged his second and third – taking advantage of two defensive mix-ups – to secure the win.
• Edinburgh Rose continue to bloom
Edinburgh Rose retained their place at the top of the Premier Division as they came from behind to defeat Sandys 4-3 at Duddingston Playing Fields.
Five minutes in, Rose took the lead when Craig Stewart lashed in a free-kick from just outside the box. Sandys stuck to their game plan and soon drew level when Steven Philp latched onto a clearance before hitting a first time shot high into the goal.
Both sides were playing some fine football but it was more down to fortune that Rose went back ahead. Goalkeeper Adam Lewis scored for his side with a drop kick from his own penalty box which the wind helped carry downfield and into the goal.
Once more, though, Sandys fought back to find a deserved equaliser. Bob McKenzie showed good individual skill to ghost past three Rose defenders before slotting the ball home from close range.
After the interval, Sandys went ahead through Tam Crease and looked good value to see out the win. But a spirited performance from Rose saw them pull level and then find a winner to make it 4-3. After patient build-up, Ray Walker set up Liam Frost to find the back of the net. Then, late on, Frost produced a bicycle kick to claim the points.
• Fernieside up for cups
Fernieside continue to impress in the cups as they recorded a 3-0 win over Hermiston Vale in the Challenge Cup second round at Peffermill.
Despite their lowly league position, the Scottish Cup remains the only competition Fernie have been eliminated from. Despite bad weather, the game went ahead on the artificial surface and Fernie went ahead after five minutes. A goalmouth scramble ended with Vale’s Andy Morris turning the ball into his own goal.
Vale could have pulled the scores level before the break but Fernie goalkeeper Scott Walker made a handful of decent stops.
After the break, Fernie upped their game to find two more goals and cement victory. Jeremy Bonett played a measured through ball from halfway to Christopher Gordon and he steered an effort in. And the same plkayer struck once again as he latched onto Rob Gillespie’s forward pass to slam in the third.