Tynecastle edged out Tranent Juniors 2-1 in the final of the Under-21s Sportsassist
South East Region Cup at Hallhill, Dunbar.
The men in maroon had to fight their way back after surrendering the opening goal in what was a hugely entertaining spectacle for football.
Tynecastle’s elated coach Dougie Jardine offered his gratitude to both sets of players for putting on a tremendous showpiece despite the extremely hot conditions.
He said: “It was difficult with it being very warm and it was a hard-fought game where tempers frayed towards the end. A huge credit must go to both sides as their efforts never dropped and it was a great final and good way to end the season. We’ve struggled in the league but this is the level the players want to play at and on our day we can compete with anybody.”
Tranent took the lead after 15 minutes. A cross from the left was insufficiently dealt with by the Tynecastle defence and that allowed Robert Berry to bundle the ball into the back of the net from close range.
Some nice link-up play between Tranent’s Robbie Mason and Anton McKillop enabled the later to shoot from the edge of the box but he failed to trouble Tynecastle goalkeeper Liam Robertson.
Tranent had appeals for a penalty turned away when a long ball from Alexander Christie sent McKillop through and, after rounding Robertson, the goalkeeper appeared to bring the striker down, but referee Malcolm Stewart wasn’t convinced.
Tynecastle created their first decent opportunity after half an hour. Steven Togneri’s free-kick just inside Tranent’s half reached defender Andy Munro, but his glancing header went wide of the far post.
Five minutes before the interval, Tynecastle managed to find themselves an equaliser. Lewis Russell was allowed too much time and he picked out Scott Wright in the penalty area and he controlled the ball superbly and fired a powerful drive beyond Ross McMullen into the bottom corner.
Just after the break, Gordon Harris found goalscorer Wright and he jinxed his way into the penalty area before flashing a shot across goal.
Tranent created a good chance themselves shortly after. A great delivery from the left boot of Blair Murray picked out team-mate Craig Wojtowycz who headed just past the target.
Wright then grabbed his second immediately after to give Tynecastle the lead. The little No. 10 showed all the composure to slot it past McMullen after being freed in the box.
Tranent really should have made it 2-2 when Kenny Hall picked out Robbie Mason’s near-post run but somehow the advanced midfielder knocked it over Robertson’s crossbar from four yards. The East Lothian side once again had a good shout for a penalty waved away after Wojtowycz’s shot appeared to strike the hand of Munro – much to the dismay of the Tranent players who immediately went back on the attack through Andrew Horne’s delivery which picked out Wojtowycz and his crisp left-footed volley had to be turned away by the feet of Robertson to keep the score at 2-1 before a thunderous effort from Hall went inches over the bar.
Tynecastle were struggling to defend the aerial threat of the Tranent players and Berry should have at least hit the target when he met Murray’s pinpoint cross.
With just under ten minutes remaining, a confrontation on the touchline between Tranent’s McKillop resulted in the striker smashing the ball into the Tynecastle support and he was subsequently shown a straight red card. A frantic final few minutes ensued as Tranent tried everything in their power to find an equaliser but the Tynecastle rearguard held firm to see out the match 2-1 winners.
Tranent’s Blair Glynn believes the referee made a catastrophic error in not awarding his side a penalty during the second half.
Glynn said: “I think we deserved to take the lead as we were the better side so I was disappointed to lose the goal just before half-time. We never got started in the second and found ourselves 2-1 down but as the half wore on, we came into it more again. There was a blatant handball in the box and everybody could see that apart from the officials so it’s really hard to take when we’re working so hard.”
Tranent Juniors: Ross McMullen, Ryan Hall, Blair Murray, Alexander Christie, Steven Glynn, Craig Wojtowycz, Robert Berry, Robbie Mason, Anton McKillop, Cameron Reynolds, Kenny Hall, Andrew Horne, Michael Porteous, David Ross, Mark Moncrieff, Ruaridh Fleming.
Tynecastle: Liam Robertson, Blair Montgomery, Greig Jardine, Gavin McCarthy, Andy Munro, Steven Togneri, David Boyle, Scott Houston, Lewis Russell, Scott Wright, Gordon Harris, Lewis Knight, Jordan Dunsmore, Danny Gemmell, Stewart Ogilvie, Callum MacDonald.