Haddington won't fear Scottish Cup trip to Brechin after blowing away title rivals Leith
Haddington Athletic boss Scott Bonnar’s only gripe was that his side didn’t put more past Leith Athletic as they blew their title rivals away in dominant 4-1 South Challenge Cup victory.
In the first meeting of the top two from 1st Division Conference A, this was expected to be a closely fought encounter which could go either way. The Hi-Hi, who stretched their incredible unbeaten start to 17 games, blew that notion out of the water with a rampant first half performance.
A double from Guy McGarry and a Gabri Auriemma strike had the home side looking ahead to the next round at the interval.
“I thought the boys were brilliant from the first minute to the last. We had loads of chances in the second half although I thought Leith played better in the second half. It could have been five, six or seven, I thought we battered them in the first half,” said Bonnar.
“I said to the boys in the dressing-room before the game that ‘Leith have done really well but I don’t think they played a team like ourselves yet’, and that proved to be the case with our energy and movement in the first half.
“It doesn’t matter who is in front of them, it’s just a different set of strips we come up against, but it’s the same effort and whatever the challenge is they work hard until they overcome it. The team spirit between them is unbelievable.”
Leith’s diminutive midfielder Cameron Stewart headed in seven minutes into the second half to give the visitors some hope, but they couldn’t muster another goal, and Auriemma finished beautifully late on to complete the win.
The Hi-Hi will step it up a level this week ahead of visiting Brechin City in the Scottish Cup second round, a tie they go into with nothing to lose.
Bonnar added: “We shouldn’t be going there with any aspirations of winning. They are a higher level, but it is 11 v 11 and if we keep working hard, and maybe train a wee bit extra this week to get our fitness levels up again, we could have a chance. We’ll not be feared, we’ll tell them to go and enjoy it, to thrive on it.”
Elsewhere, Broxburn Athletic claimed the shock of the second round with an impressive 4-3 penalty shootout victory away to Berwick Rangers after a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes. Brox goalkeeper Shaun Donoghue was the hero with three penalty saves.