Hillfield Swifts 19s survived a late onslaught from Cavalry Park to claim a 2-1 victory in the SERYFA Bob Bankier Cup final at New Dundas Park, Bonnyrigg.
Hillfield lead for the majority of the match due to early goals in each half, but Cavalry Park ensured for a tense finale as they pulled a goal back with just eight minutes remaining.
Hillfield coach Jim Wilkinson was pleased his side held on to claim victory but more importantly, some silverware.
He said: “We are pleased to put down a marker and lift the cup. We’ve still got Cavalry Park to play in further cups before the season is out.”
The match started at a slow pace as neither side showed any real urgency to take control of the game. Then in the 18th minute, Hillfield’s Calum Whisker cut in from the right wing and had enough time and space to pick out Dylan Wilkinson, who smashed the ball into the bottom right corner past Andrew Mackay.
Wilkinson almost doubled his tally just four minutes later, but was unable to keep his header down from an accurately placed in-swinging corner from teammate Jack Matson.
With the rain coming down heavy, this did nothing to encourage either team to get the ball down as they both stuck to a long ball approach and getting the ball out wide.
It took until the 38th minute for Cavalry Park to have their first meaningful attack of the game. Stewart Adams bombed down the right wing and fizzled in a dangerous low cross which almost resulted in Hillfield’s Liam McCulloch putting the ball into his own net, but the ball trickled past the far post and out for a corner kick.
Cavalry would once again go close to equalising in the first-half as Kris McLoughlin deftly chested the ball 20 yards from goal and proceeded to volley just over the crossbar with an audacious effort which would be worthy of gracing any cup final.
If the first-half had started off at a sluggish pace, the same certainly couldn’t have been said about the second, as Cavalry once again went close to levelling the score line. After 48 minutes Stewart Adams was at it once again, as he wriggled his way in from the right flank and into the Hillfield penalty area, only to blaze his effort over from around 12 yards.
On the stroke of the hour, Hillfield would make Cavalry Park pay for their wastefulness in front of goal and double their lead. Christopher Steedman peeled off the right flank to latch onto a precisely weighted through ball from Alasdair Brown before stepping inside his marker and firing the ball in at the far post. The next twenty minutes saw Hillfield take control of the game as they looked to wear down their opponents.
However, in the 82nd minute, Cavalry Park handed themselves a lifeline as they pulled the score back to 2-1 thanks to a brilliantly, and somewhat fortuitous, coordinated free-kick. Steven MacGregor fed defender Chris Joyce who saw his low strike from 20 yards deflect off Hillfield defender Corin Anderson and in past the rooted goalkeeper Kyle Marley at the far post.
Cavalry would go close to equalising on several occasions in the final five minutes but couldn’t find the net, as Sean Guiney was denied from close range by Marley, and Adams saw his free-kick go inches over the crossbar.
Hillfield Swifts: Kyle Marley, Euan Munro, Liam McCulloch, Corin Anderson, Murray Frazer, Jack Matson, Calum Whisker, Dylan Wilkinson, Alasdair Brown, Christopher Steedman, Ross Stewart, Jamie Forrester, Stuart Condie, Wesley Lockwood, , Ryan Smith, Gregor Steedman, Scott Small, Dale Mason.
Cavalry Park: Andrew Mackay, Chris Joyce, Dale O’Hara, Lyle Finney, Greg Douglas, Christopher Barron, Stewart Adams, Sean Guiney, Kris McLoughlin, Steven MacGregor, Frazer McKinlay, Lloyd Robertson, Michael Park, Johnny Malcolm, Frazer Andrews, Liam Tomassi.