Substitute Marcus Philp inspired ten-man Salvesen CFC 98 19s to overcome league rivals AC Oxgangs 19s with a 3-1 win at Forrester High School.
With the scores at 1-1, and with Salvesen a man down, the midfielder was thrown into the fray and he repaid his manager’s faith by scoring and then setting up Michael Hunter to see off determined opponents.
It was by no means a straightforward victory for the home side however. The opening stages saw a determined Oxgangs keen to score goals left, right and centre. Four minutes in Josh Neil tested Kerr Robertson in the Salvesen goal with a header from Charlie Stewart’s cross but the goalie palmed the ball away well. Then, Joseph Rutherford fired the rebound over the bar when it looked easier to score from 12 yards.
It was a let off for Salvesen but the warning wasn’t heeded and Oxgangs continued to surge forward, taking the lead ten minutes in. Calum Scott’s freekick from the left was stroked home brilliantly by Neill who remained composed under pressure from defenders.
The goal gave Salvesen a new lease of life in the game having started slowly. They began to compete in all areas of the park, but couldn’t quite break through the last line of the Oxgangs defence. Trialist Kerr Frazer tried his luck from range in a bid to get his side back in it, but the ball trickled wide of keeper Lewis Whitelaw’s goal.
Kyle Dixon then emulated Frazer by trying a strike from distance himself, and his half volley dipped mighty close to sneaking just under the bar.
When the second half began the pattern of play continued and the hosts came inches away from getting on level terms. Milosz Pajak sent a cross from the right into Chris Buchanan but he sliced the ball wide as he spun and shot.
Then, eventually, Salvesen got the breakthrough they had long been searching for and it was no more than they deserved for their efforts. Dixon burst down the right, skinning his marker before drilling the ball to Buchanan who stabbed in at the back post.
With their tails up, Salvesen looked favourites to go on and win the game but their chances were dealt a blow when Dixon then got himself dismissed for adjudged violent conduct. Oxgangs looked to immediately exploit their opponents and Ben Pritchett might well have headed his side back in front, if not for a top reaction save from Robertson.
Despite the odds now being against them, Salvesen upped their game again, and they took the lead with 20 minutes to go. Marcus Philp took the field and he didn’t take long to make an impact, cutting in from the right hand and blasting home at the near post to give the ten men the advantage.
In response, Oxgangs upped their efforts and Scott was twice denied by Robertson, who was leading from example at the back.
The momentum began to swing towards Oxgangs who were pressing high up the 3G pitch in search of an equaliser, but Salvesen were getting bodies behind the ball and chasing every last pass.
Into the last ten minutes Salvesen were defending for their lives and, against the run of play, they found a third goal to put the result beyond any doubt. Philp this time was provider as he delivered a corner into the box for Michael Hunter to nod in at the backpost for 3-1.
Salvesen CFC 98 19s: Kerr Robertson, Corey Robertson, Chris Buchanan, Kyle Dixon, Michael Hunter, Jake Henderson, Richard Kerr, Samer Lazim, Lloyd Livingstone, Milosz Pajak, Marcus Philp, Cameron Sweeney, Ryan Ritchie, Kerr Frazer
AC Oxgangs 19s: Lewis Whitelaw, Calum Miller, John Weir, Paul Weir, Raymond Law, Alexander Lee, Lewis Gormley, Joshua Neill, Scott Broughton, Charlie Stewart, Ben Pritchett, Calum Scott, Kamil Szczesnowicz, Nathan Johnson, Joseph Rutherford, Greg Lloyd