Leith Athletic 19s kept their league title hopes alive as they came from behind to salvage a point against Tynecastle 19s at Meadowbank.
Going into the fixture both sides had games in hand over second-placed Hutchie and leaders Currie Star, so a win for either team was going to give any hopes of Division 1 silverware a massive boost.
With the game only three minutes old Athletic had the first real chance. James Burt played the ball over the top for Harry Davis, but Chris Burt in the Tynecastle goal was out quickly to save with his legs.
It was a pretty even affair early on in the encounter, with neither side able to keep the ball for any length of time. Athletic looked the more dangerous of the sides, however, and were looking to test Chris Burt at any given opportunity. James Burt had a speculative effort from 25 yards out, but it didn’t trouble Tynie’s keeper.
Tynecastle’s first real chance fell to Jack Cowan with 15 minutes played. The forward found himself on the edge of the Athletic penalty area, and with little support around him he struck an effort towards goal but goalie Jamie Shiel saved comfortably.
Midway through the first half the deadlock was broken by the home side. Ross Larmer drove down the right-hand side past the challenge of three Tynecastle defenders. He got to the byline and picked out the unmarked Davis inside the six-yard box who slotted home for 1-0.
Athletic really should have added another before half time but Burt made two saves to deny Sam Laverty and then Davis. The saves proved vital as with half time minutes away, Tynie equalised. Sonny Swanson’s shot from the corner of the box was diverted in by Cowan six yards out. Despite mass Athletic protests that Cowan was in an offside position, referee Thomson awarded the goal and the scores were level.
Incensed by the decision, Athletic came out for the second period looking to set the record straight.
They were first to threaten as set-piece specialist Tommy Patterson swung a delightful ball into the penalty area but Laverty couldn’t direct his header at goal.
Then, minutes later, Davis almost doubled his tally to put his side back in front. A long diagonal ball from midfield maestro James Burt picked out the striker, who rounded Chris Burt, but Aaron Nugent saved his goalie’s blushes with a goal-line clearance.
The momentum of the game then began to swing the way of Tynecastle and they took the lead for the first time in the game with 20 minutes to go. On the counter attack Cowan picked up the loose ball and he fed Daniel Cameron down the right-hand side. The midfielder danced through the Athletic defenders to pick out substitute Ciaron Small unmarked for 2-1.
With that Tynie were well and truly on top, seemingly on course to take all three points. However Athletic didn’t give up and late on they were gifted a penalty which led to both sides taking a share of the spoils. Nugent brought down Laverty in the area and although Burt produced a fine save from Davis’ spot-kick, the number ten quickly followed up to rifle in his second goal.
In the only other SERYFA game of the weekend, unbeaten Leith Athletic YFC 19s defeated Division 2 leaders Spartans FC 19s 4-1 at Meadowbank. Brodie Mackenzie put Athletic 2-0 up by half time.
But Spartans pulled one back after starting brightly in the second half thanks to Callum Wales.
However, Athletic upped their efforts to find two more thanks to Jordan Henderson and Christopher Robertson, to secure a hard-earned win.
Leith Athletic 19s: Morgan Mcintosh, Ross Aitchison, Sam Mclaren, Calum Sandison, Tommy Paterson, Ross Larner, Sam Laverty, James Burt, Stephen Faichney, Jay McManus, Lee Moore, Jamie Chapman, Harry Davis, Jamie Shiel
Tynecastle FC 19s: Chris Burt, Scott Hay, Matthew Quinn, Dominic Foulkes, Ciaron Small, Daniel Cameron, Daniel Headspeath, Aaron Nugent, Hamish Levein, Jake Hughes, Matthew McKenzie, Sonny Swanson, Jack Cowan, Ben Gardiner, Scott Page