Newcraighall Leith Victoria moved level on points with their Tynecastle 96 counterparts in mid-table of Lothian Buses South East Region under-16 Division One after winning a topsy-turvy encounter between the teams at Saughton 3-2.
A blustery Sunday afternoon set the scene for a game in which the balance altered just as often as the weather.
A moment of madness in the Tynecastle rearguard accounted for the opening goal. Sam Tulloch floated in an innocuous looking high free kick from just inside his own half which evaded everyone and nestled in the far corner of the net to put the visitors in front.
The home side responded with some neat hold-up play from Dylan Thomson on the edge of the box, and he played a slick through ball to Fraser Murray. The latter’s tame effort, however, was straight at Craig Hunter in the Newcraighall goal.
At the other end, Calum Marr almost doubled the away side’s lead with a fine half-volleyed effort from inside the box which swerved inches wide of John Clayton’s right hand post.
Tynie then responded with a counter attack of their own, and they were duly rewarded with an equaliser.
Murray ventured forward and found space in the box before slotting a cool finish past Hunter at his far post to square the game at a goal apiece.
Newcraighall were not to be disheartened by the Tynecastle goal and almost regained the lead when Dean Ballantyne found space on the edge of the box, the striker firing a low shot a yard wide of Clayton’s right hand post.
It was to be Tynecastle who found the net next, however, when Thomson fooled the onrushing Hunter, catching him off his line and floating a delicate chip over the goalkeeper to put Tynie in front for the first time in the match.
It looked like the home side would go into the break with the lead but Newcraighall struck them a real blow with an equaliser on the stroke of half time.
Jonathan Court weaved his way past two maroon defenders before hitting a low drive past the onrushing Hunter to leave the game perched on a knife edge at the interval.
After the break, Newcraighall almost built on their dramatic equaliser with another close shave. Tulloch floated in a teasing corner which was met by the head of Daniel Taylor, whose glancing effort dipped just over Clayton’s bar.
It was end to end stuff and Murray found himself clear inside the Victoria half with a run at goal. The striker ventured forwards, set himself on his left foot and fired a hard shot straight down the throat of Hunter, who collected gratefully.
It was now Tynecastle who were starting to look the more likely to score and they almost took the lead again, this time through Sean Williamson.
The midfielder ran past three Newcraighall defenders before swerving a shot towards goal which Hunter dived for and expertly tipped onto the post and away to safety. The final passage of action proved the decisive one, as with five minutes to play Newcraighall’s Ballantyne found space inside the Tyne-castle box and slotted past Clayton into the bottom left hand corner.
Newcraighall coach Mark Ballantyne was pleased with his side’s winner, but was quick to praise David Lapping’s Tynecastle.
Ballantyne said: “A draw was the fairer result. We both came off a high from last week with some impressive results. I was a bit disappointed [for Tyne- castle], but we’ll take the goal.”
Lapping echoed the sentiment of Ballantyne, saying: “A draw would have been the fair result. We had a great result last week but it didn’t quite fall in our favour in this game.”
Tynecastle 96: John Clayton, Benjamin Williams, Brendan Sleigh, Jack Ormiston, Mark Maclean, Liam McNeil, Blair Rutherford, Sean Williamson, Fraser Murray, Dylan Thomson, Daniel Baron, Ronan Lapping, Jack Montgomery.
Newcraighall Leith Victoria: Craig Hunter, Kyle Ian Knox, Stuart Mackay, Robbie Watson, Robbie Munro Martin, Daniel Taylor, Shaun Lawrence, Scott Chapman, Sam Tulloch, Dean Ballantyne, Jonathan David Court, Joseph Ross Fennell, Stuart Tragis, Sam Rintoul, Cameron Waddell, Calum Marr.