ST BERNARD’S sailed into the Second Round of the Scottish Amateur FA East of Scotland Cup thanks to a 5-3 win against Alba Athletic at Muirhouse Millennium Centre.
With both teams in the Lothian and Edinburgh Amateur FA Lothian West Division, the North Edinburgh derby match was always expected to be a close affair but a double from St Bernard’s player Kris O’Neil helped them on their way to victory.
The action started quickly. After two minutes, St Bernard’s Frank Finlayson shot past Alba Athletic goalkeeper Martin Kirby from inside the penalty area.
One minute later, Athletic’s Barry McGaughan rounded St Bernard’s goalkeeper Gavin Barclay and finished into the centre of the empty net. Then, after 14 minutes, St Bernard’s Stewart Stevens’ cross from the right evaded everyone and ended up in the net.
Steven Smith then hit the bar after a skilful dribble by O’Neil a few minutes later but St Bernard’s lead was extended after 23 minutes when Smith’s flick-on fell to O’Neil whose lobbed shot found the net from 12 yards.
O’Neil scored his second goal of the match to take the St Bernard’s lead to 4-1 on the verge of half time. He shot powerfully into the bottom right corner after Andrew Morris’ pass reached him in the penalty area.
Stevens should have added another goal to the St Bernard’s tally after 50 minutes but somehow missed from close range after Smith’s square ball found him in space.
Alba had an opportunity to pull a goal back after 61 minutes, however, Michael Duffy’s shot from the edge of the penalty area was tipped over the crossbar by Barclay.
St Bernard’s extended their lead even further three minutes later. Smith’s powerful shot nestled into the bottom right corner of the net after a superb chipped pass by Finlayson. Alba did pull a goal back after 79 minutes though. Scott Mitchell’s shot hit the post from ten yards but Alasdair Cairns finished the move off with an easy tap-in from close range.
In the final minute, Michael Duffy managed to make the scoreline look more respectable for Alba as he shot low into the net from the right corner of the six-yard box.
St Bernard’s manager George More said: “In the first half we played well but in the second half, if we were playing against a better team I think they would have beaten us. If we continue to play as well as we did in the first half we’ll have a successful season.”
Alba Athletic player manager Craig Nisbet felt that his team only started to play well in the closing stages of the match. He said: “We started off poorly and were very slow. We found ourselves 2-1 down after 15 minutes and then we fought back into the match. We played better in the second half but we conceded another goal against the run of play. We played for pride after that and in the last 30 minutes I felt that we were more positive.”
St Bernard’s: Gavin Barclay, Stewart Stevens, Aaron Killin, John McGinn, Lee McDonald, Frank Finlayson, Michael Doyle, Scott More, Alan Rutherford, Arran Campbell, Andrew Morris, Barrie MacNamara, Kris O’Neil, Stuart MacLeod, Steven Smith, Ryan Dynse.
Alba Athletic: Martin Kirby, Jamie Mitchell, Michael Barrett, Michael Duffy, Craig Nisbet, Stuart Affleck, Scott Mitchell, George Nisbet, Barry Gordon, Barry McGaughan, Miguel Lamb, Connor Edglington, Carl Bermudie, Alasdair Cairns.