Sporting ICAPB moved to within a point of second place in the Lothian and Edinburgh Amateur FA Edinburgh West division after overcoming Heriot-Watt University thanks to a stunning last minute free-kick by Anthony Black.
Both teams stuck to their principles and tried their best to play passing football despite the torrential rain and windy conditions at Saughton 3G.
Sporting’s victory was made even more unlikely after Scott Gallagher was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 57th minute, with Heriot-Watt leading 2-1 at the time.
The students started the match strongly and Jamie Booth forced Sporting goalkeeper Matthew Lyst into a good low save, after receiving a through ball from Dan Fisher.
Sporting had to wait 20 minutes for their first opportunity. Black’s cross found Alex Kotlovski but his acrobatic shot flew over the bar.
Heriot-Watt opened the scoring after 29 minutes. Gabriel Fayah’s corner found Booth on the edge of the penalty area and he unleashed a superb, powerful shot into the right corner of the net.
The lead did not last long though with Sporting equalising three minutes later when centre back Luke Lewis headed into the net from six yards, from Black’s corner kick.
Craig Sutherland’s goal, four minutes before half time, regained the lead for Heriot Watt as he unleashed a shot from eight yards which nestled into the bottom right corner.
Sporting goalkeeper Lyst played as an attacking midfielder in the second half, and he tested Heriot-Watt goalkeeper Alex Milne with a shot from seven yards out in the 54th minute. Three minutes later, Gallagher received his marching orders. After receiving a yellow card in the first half, he was booked again after fouling Booth on the left side of the pitch. However, the red card galvanised Sporting and they duly equalised in the 58th minute. Kotlovski headed into the goal from close range after Lewis’ corner had picked him out perfectly.
Heriot-Watt looked the most likely team to grab a winning goal in the final 30 minutes and Booth shot a yard wide of the right post in the 69th minute.
Murchan’s free kick went over the bar from 25 yards and Heriot-Watt nearly grabbed a winner deep into stoppage time when Booth’s shot from 16 yards skimmed the right post once again. But Sporting punished Heriot-Watt with the last attack of the match. After winning a free kick on the left by-line, Black’s audacious effort flew into the top right corner and the final whistle was blown moments later.
Heriot-Watt manager Mark Jones rued his side’s inability to convert countless chances. He said: “We bossed the match for 90 per cent of it and they get a free kick that we foolishly gave away. He [Black] will not score a goal like that for years. So it went dreadfully. We were the better team for most of the match but we did not pass it well enough in the end and did not finish well enough.
“We want to do well in the We are a club that tries to pass the ball around and make our players better. For us, playing well is more important than the result.
“It is obviously disappointing when you lose, but for us it is more about improving our players and make them able to push for places in our top teams.”
Sporting captain Lyst complimented Heriot-Watt’s style of play. He said: “Both teams wanted to play football but it turned into a bit of a battle in the second half.
“There were a lot of fouls from both teams. We’ve struggled against Heriot-Watt before. They’re really fast and really fit and they were exactly the same in this game.
“They are one of the better teams in the division. We scored a great free kick at the end and that was the difference. We were struggling last season and finished second bottom. At the moment we are mid table. If we can finish in the top half of the table we will be very happy.”
Sporting Icapb: Matthew Lyst, Sander Granneman, Luke Lewis, Alex Kotlovski, Eduardo Fraga, Scott Gallagher, Anthony Black, Martin Wilkinson, Manuel Breuer, Gerald Barry, James Reddington, James Douglas, Daniel Nussey.
Heriot Watt University: Alex Milne, Ross Middleton, Mark Murchan, Justin Seve, Calum Davis, Gabriel Fayah, Dan Fisher, Craig Sutherland, Chris Cronin, David Hodges, Jamie Booth, Jamie Lawson, Matt Wilson, Mark Jones.