Hillfield Swifts 19s won 3-2 in the final of the Federation of Hibs Supporters Cup against close rivals Cavalry Park in a tight tussle at Ainslie Park.
After a 0-0 stalemate in the opening 45 minutes, the second half produced a five goal thriller in a match that could have gone either way.
Swifts’ Jim Wilkinson is delighted with the way his side have performed in their first season at this level. He said: “We’ve been in three cup finals against Cavalry Park and won two of the them, so we’re happy with how this one went. We produced a good battling performance. This is our first season at Under-19 level so we’re quite pleased with the way things have gone.”
From the start, both teams looked to pass the ball from back to front. Cavalry had the first opportunity when midfielder Christopher Barron switched play from left to right and from Steven MacGregor’s deep cross, Stewart Adams glanced his header marginally wide of the target.
Fraser McKinlay then broke through the heart of the Hillfield defence and just as he was about to pull the trigger on Kyle Marley’s goal, Sean McGrowther prevented any damage with a superbly-timed tackle.
The robust Liam Tomassi was effective in the Cavalry midfield and his clever pass to McKinlay created the next shot on goal, but the No.11 miscued wide.
A great run and cross by McKinlay then presented Tyrone Marcus Jimenez with a free header, but once again the ball drifted wide of the post.
Cavalry were left to rue the missed opportunities from the first half as Hillfield edged in front only three minutes after the interval. The ball fell kindly to Jamie Forrester inside the penalty box and when is shot was fumbled by Andrew Mackay, Dylan Wilkinson was on hand to rifle the ball into the roof of the net.
Forrester should have made more of a fast break shortly after, finding space on the right, but he elected to go it alone with a strike that went well wide when he perhaps should have crossed for his teammates who had gathered to provide support.
Cavalry equalised moments later through Barron’s neat header from just inside the six yard box, the player managing to break free from his defender and finding the bottom corner after being picked out by McKinlay’s cross.
However, parity was short lived as Hillfield restored their lead on the hour mark. A hesitant Cavalry defence enabled Forrester to make his way towards goal and he fired an accurate drive across goal which nestled into the far corner.
A mistake by Ryan Smith then almost let Barron in, but he lacked composure as he placed a casual shot into the arms of Marley from a good position.
Barron and striker Kris McLoughlin both continued to test Marley in a bid to find an equaliser, but the Hillfield No.1 made some fine reaction blocks.
Poor defending once again proved Cavalry’s downfall as Murray Fraser was allowed space to jink his way into the box, and he wasted little time in firing past the exposed Mackay to effectively seal the tie.
However, Cavalry continued to press despite being 3-1 down with only moments to play, and set up a tense finale with a strike in the final minute.
A cross from the left was out of Marley’s reach and defender Chris Joyce slid in at the back post to get his name on the scoresheet. But this proved nothing more than a consolation as Hillfield held on to their 3-2 lead and lifted the cup.
Hillfield Swifts: Kyle Marley, Euan Munro, Corin Anderson, Jack Matson, Murray Fraser, Dylan Wilkinson, Alasdair Brown, Ross Stewart, Jamie Forrester, Wesley Lockwood, Ryan Smith, Sean McGrowther, Stuart Condie, Scott Small, Dale Mason.
Cavalry Park: Andrew Mackay, Chris Joyce, Dale O’Hara, Lyle Finney, Greg Douglas, Christopher Barron, Stewart Adams, Sean Guiney, Kris McLoughlin, Steven MacGregor, Fraser McKinlay, Steven Handran, Jack McIntosh, Tyrone Marcus Jimenez, Michael Park, Johnny Malcolm, Fraser Andrews, Craig Cockburn, Liam Tomassi.