In the Royal Edinburgh Cup final, Musselburgh Windsor 19s ran out comfortable 4-1 winners in an entertaining encounter against North Merchiston.
As the sun beamed down on Bonnyrigg’s New Dundas Park, the tie promised goals aplenty. The fans gathered were not to be disappointed.
The early stages of the game brought about a frenetic contest which saw end-to-end football, but neither side could create any clear cut chances. Musselburgh were trying efforts from distance, as were Merchie, with both sides yet to settle.
North Merchiston were to threaten with the first real chance of the game after ten minutes. Unmarked at the back post, Ryan Clarke received the ball from a corner, but could only half-volley an effort over the crossbar.
Clarke was left to rue that miss as just ten minutes later Musselburgh took the lead through Paul Dery. A diagonal ball was played into the box from midfield and Dery got enough on it to head past Darren Mitchell in goal.
Musselburgh hadn’t been in the game much in the opening phase with Merchiston firmly in the ascendency, but the goal seemed to spur them on and within a matter of minutes, found themselves 2-0 up thanks to a penalty by Dean Ballantyne. The No.10 had been chopped down in the penalty box himself but was composed enough to step up and slot home the resulting penalty.
Converting opportunities was proving the real difference between the sides so far and it was North Merchiston with the next real chance in the game just past the half hour mark. A corner was whipped into the box but only half cleared by the Musselburgh defence before reaching Joe Turner-Law, who hit a cracking half-volley from the edge of the box that flew into the back of the net.
With the score 2-1 at the interval, the outcome of this year’s Edinburgh Cup was far from conclusive. Musselburgh, however, really stepped it up a gear and showed just how compact a unit they are. They grabbed a third in the 55th minute and in spectacular fashion.
A long ball forward by goalkeeper Stuart Mackay was sent deep into the Merchiston half and bobbled around as both teams fought for possession. But a half clearance by the North Merchie defence threw the ball up in the air and Aaron Congleton caught it first time from 25 yards, which was a sensational effort worthy of winning any game.
The goal didn’t manage to knock the wind from Merchiston’s sails, however, as they kept on pushing in hope of finding a route back into the game. In the space of five minutes they had two fantastic chances from set-pieces. Firstly, Turner-Law headed over from a corner as he looked to get his and Merchie’s second before Anton Dowds did exactly the same from a similar position. It proved a frustrating afternoon for North Merchiston who had played some good football, but there seemed to be a certain degree of inevitability about the result which was compounded when Musselburgh grabbed a well-worked fourth goal late on to seal glory.
With North Merchiston pouring bodies forward, Musselburgh looked to spring a counter-attack late on. Ballantyne was put through on goal and with Merchie keeper Mitchell looking to intercept, the No.10 sent a cheeky lob over his head and into the goal. It was a whole-hearted performance from Musselburgh who never stopped pressing forward all game. They were clinical in front of goal and essentially the difference between two impressive looking sides on the day.