A wonder goal from n Allan Grant propelled Tranent Athletic into the final of the Edinburgh Cup as they defeated North Merchiston 1-0 at Saughton.
Grant said: “I was about 25 yards out when the ball got played to me and the way it landed gave me the perfect angle to catch it sweetly on the half volley. I’m delighted that we’ve reached the final as it was a hard game against tough opposition but it was a good all-round performance from the lads and especially in defence we were solid.
“I think in these cup games sometimes the teams in the leagues above us can underestimate us a bit as that’s three we’ve beaten so far in this cup. Fingers crossed we can make it four by beating Meadowbank in the final.”
On a glorious spring afternoon in west Edinburgh hosts Merchie got the semi-final underway and they wasted little time showing their attacking intent. Jordan Bate tried his luck from just outside the box but Athletic’s goalie Stewart Ferrier made an easy save to deny the midfielder.
A ball into the area from the right was picked up by Dale Aitken and he turned his marker to shoot from close range, but it was far too easy for Ferrier once again.
With 30 minutes gone Tranent started to settle and move the ball about, edging the possession. John Brash hit an early shot from out wide on the right that surprised Merchie goalie Sam Gray but the ball swerved just wide of his left-hand post.
Then, with five minutes remaining of the first half, Athletic got the breakthrough in spectacular style. The ball came to Grant 25 yards from goal and he took one touch to control it before letting rip on the half volley to pick out the top left corner.
Athletic could have grabbed another just minutes later. But they were left to settle for the one-goal lead going into half-time as Darren Cleland’s long-range strike cannoned off the crossbar.
After a few half chances Merchie really should have been on level terms midway through the second half as Ryan Avinou ventured down the right before crossing to Jonny Cowper. The No.4 got up well to send a header at goal but again it lacked placement and Ferrier gratefully held on to the ball.
Athletic were defending the best they could but Merchie were showing great desire to level the scores. Once again they went close to grabbing an equaliser with 13 minutes remaining. A corner from the left was met by Fraser Black from three yards but he headed just over the crossbar.
Merchie continued to press as Athletic held a deeper defensive line in order to keep their opponents at bay. With the clock against them Merchie desperately tried to force a goal but it wasn’t to be their day as Athletic held on for the victory thanks to Grant’s strike.
The midfielder was chuffed to see his effort fly in, for the match-winning goal.
North Merchiston: Sam Gray, Ryan Avinou, Dale Aitken, Jordan Bate, Fraser Black, Sean Burt, Jonny Cowper, Liam Day, John Elliott, Arran Foster, Jamie Hartley, Stuart McGregor, Stuart Rendall, Demitris Stevens, Josh Stewart, Jamie Vernon
Tranent Athletic: George Armstrong, Daniel Black, John Brash, Darren Cleland, Bruce Cunningham, Daniel Davie, Vincent Devine, Stewart Ferrier, Allan Grant, Martin Hay, Stewart Hood, Steven Love, Alexander Varndell, Scott Young, Andrew Paterson