Kevin Smith celebrated ten years as a Newcraighall Amateurs player when his team beat Newcraighall 21s at Newcraighall Park 6-1 in a special celebration match.
As well as honouring the centre-half’s long service with the club, the friendly marked a celebratory occasion for both sides as they won league titles in the 14/15 campaign.
The Amateurs secured the LEAFA Premier 1 title for the first time in their history while the 21s won Division 2.
Smith’s side, which included many former Newcraighall players, began strongly, keen to set the record straight after the 7-1 defeat the last time the teams met.
After taking control of proceedings, they were soon ahead, with their opponents yet to get going in the fixture. Five minutes in and Scott Waterston intercepted a pass at the heart of the 21s’ defence to take the ball around goalkeeper Scott Dowie and tap in from close range.
The confident start from the amateurs continued and they soon had a second as Waterston doubled his tally. A hopeful ball forward from midfield picked out the striker and he took the ball down in the box before sending a lob over the 21s keeper. The Premier 1 winners scored a third when a corner in from the left found Smith at the back post and he scored. Still reeling from the goal, the 21s then conceded another just two minutes later. Stuart McLauclan’s ball in from the left was half cleared but only to Andy Daily and he blasted in from the edge of the box for 4-0. As the first period drew to a close the Amateurs scored a fifth just before the interval. A loose pass by the boys in black was intercepted by McLauclan and chipped the ball over the head of Dowie.
The 21s began the second period with a point to prove and they almost pulled a goal back straight away. Liam Peden’s corner from the right picked out Keiran Muirhead at the back post but his half volley could only find the side netting. And a sixth goal then came against the run of play. Joe Malcolm, one of many former players introduced at the break, ran onto a through ball before tapping in. It seemed like the 21s were destined to finish the game goalless. Callum Young’s cross-cum-shot was begging to be tapped in at the back post and Cammie McFarlane rattled the upright with a powerful strike from ten yards.
However, the referee gave the striker a golden opportunity when he awarded a penalty for Mark Burns’ handball.
The forward fired past goalkeeper David Livie.
A delighted Smith, 30. said afterwards: “It was a good game, an entertaining game, and it was nice to have older members of the team back as well. It was nice to round off the occasion with a goal as well”
“As good a day as it was, I’d say that winning the league this year was a better way of marking the milestone. Over the ten years, we’ve come close a few times, but to better that was fantastic. To actually go and win the league was special, the players and everyone associated with the club deserved it. I take each season as it comes and I’ll be playing on again this year. For me, it’s about the enjoyment of it all and I’m still enjoying playing the game”
Newcraighall Leith Vics Amateurs XI: David Livie, Paul Armstrong, Paul Waugh, Kevin Smith, David Russell, Mark Burns, Andy Daily, Liam McIntosh, Stuart McLauclan, Scott Waterston, Nicky Martin, Martin Short, Jai Whyte, Joe Malcolm, Steven Igoe, Grant Dick, Tommy Doig, Ross Alexander.
Newcraighall Leith Vics 21s: Scott Dowie, Peter Burt, Donald Motion, Lewis Todd, Andy Paterson, Connor McLeod, Josh Lawrie, Liam Peden, Kevin Stewart, Jason Coyle, Cammie McFarlane, Callum Young, Lyle Finney, Keiran Muirhead, Ryan Malcolm.