Reigning Edinburgh and District Sunday AFA Premier Division champions Salters FC believe their 3-1 defeat of rivals Sporting Chesser at Saughton 3G will help them at least ensure second place this season.
Paul Milligan, the Salters player-manager, said: “We won the Premier Division last year but had a poor start this season and second place is probably the best we can hope for. Spartans AFC are above us with games in hand so second is what we are aiming for. The three points really do help with that.”
Salters rediscovered some of their title-wining form and started the match strongly, scoring two goals after 13 minutes. Milligan grabbed the opener after six minutes when he buried a shot into the bottom left corner from eight yards after David Jurgenson’s cross from the right by-line.
Keith MacFarlane scored the second seven minutes later. A quick Salters counter attack left the Chesser defence outnumbered and MacFarlane stroked the ball into the middle of the net after Marc McAskill’s pass into the penalty area.
It took 20 minutes for the Chesser attack to fashion a chance but Salters keeper John Paget made a good, low save after James MacCusker’s shot.
Paget was called into action again on the half hour when Gavin Millar’s shot from the edge of the area was superbly turned over the bar by Paget.
Salters put the game beyond reach after 50 minutes. Chris Robertson’s shot was blocked by central defender Joe McVey but McAskill followed the ball up and tapped it over the line from inside the six-yard box.
It was only after they had gone three goals down that Chesser began to show their quality. McVey thought he had scored after 57 minutes when his header looked destined for the top right corner but Paget managed to tip the ball away. A few moments later, Ross Pryde’s shot rolled narrowly wide to the right of the goal.
The team in orange finally managed to beat Paget with 60 minutes on the clock. Ross Henderson’s shot went into the right side of the net after Millar’s well-placed pass into the penalty area.
And they could have added a second two minutes later, but Pryde’s shot from the edge of the penalty area was caught after a nice passing move.
Salters had chances to increase the difference in the final 16 minutes. MacFarlane’s powerful effort from 20 yards would have produced a fantastic goal had it been six inches lower. Unfortunately for him, it rattled against the crossbar.
The Salters all-time top goalscorer Milligan uncharacteristically missed his chance to score a second with ten minutes remaining. He put his shot wide after receiving Paget’s long ball in yards of space.
In the final moments, Chesser player Henderson forced yet another great save from Paget, as he leapt high to tip the powerful shot over the bar.
Milligan felt that the match went exactly to plan for the Salters team. He said: “The game went exactly how we expected it to. We thought it would be a battle and that the team who wanted to win it the most would. We wanted to win it the most and played very good football. We had a few very good chances and we battled harder than them.”
Sporting Chesser manager, Ronny Turner, felt that the team’s slow start was key to the result. He said: “We were sloppy at the beginning of the match and lost a couple of goals. I had told the team not to let Paul Milligan get close to them as he would turn and shoot, and that is exactly what he did after three minutes. We could have avoided the second goal, but we got into the game after the second goal. We matched them in a lot of positions, apart from their striker Paul Miller who was dropping off deep all the time. We were too rigid at the back and should have had somebody following him in and challenging him.
“We’ve just been promoted to the Premier Division and have not taken any heavy losses to any team. I think we’ve worked ourselves really well in pre-season, with a lot of new players. We are just gelling this season and next season we might progress even further. Every team we’ve played have told us we’re a good team.”
Sporting Chesser: Patrick Hutton, Lee Redpath, Ross Lewis, James McCusker, Joe McVey, John McDonald, Fraser Jeffrey, Ross Pryde, Alan Sheriff, Gavin Millar, Thomas Wylie, Ross Henderson, Claye Thomson, Ryan Redpath.
Salters: John Paget, David Jurgenson, Ryan Newton, Kevin Cornwall, Michael Jones, Drew Calladine, Chris Robertson, Keith MacFarlane, Euan Miller, Paul Milligan, Marc McAskill, Stephen Brown, Paul Nelson, Darren Smith, Kris Murdoch, David Jamieson.