Craigroyston BC 13s celebrated lifting the AC Taxis Cup after a closely-fought 2-1 victory over Blackhall Athletic 13s at Spartans Academy.
After a scrappy first 35 minutes, the game opened up after the break and goals from Tyler McKinlay and Max Macgillvray sent Craigroyston on their way.
Blackhall showed courage with 15 minutes to go, pulling a goal back through Owen McMillan but the West Edinburgh side were unable to find another before the end, as Craigie held on to claim the silverware.
As the wind picked up at Ainslie Park, Craigroyston kicked off and they came closest to breaking the deadlock with some early pressure. Ben Hunter ran onto a through pass from midfield but Matthew Adams in the Blackhall goal made himself big to ensure the No.11 fired his effort wide.
Minutes later, the North Edinburgh outfit came close again when Macgillvray tried an early shot from outside the box but it sailed marginally wide of the upright.
Blackhall gradually settled into the final and 20 minutes in they almost grabbed the crucial opening goal when Owen McMillan struck a powerful shot from outside the box but it was well saved by Craigie goalkeeper Darren Owen.
With neither side able to snatch an opening goal before the break, the teams came out in the second half with all to play for. After shaking off a few cup final nerves, Craigroyston took control of proceedings with two goals in the space of five minutes. First Tyler McKinlay struck a thunderous 25-yard freekick from the right which hit the left post, then the right, before finally nestling in the back of the net. Then, Macgillvray was played in behind the Blackhall defence before blasting in to double Craigie’s lead.
It sparked the West Edinburgh side into life and after, a dangerous ten-minute spell, they finally had a goal to show for their efforts. Thomas Palmer played a well-weighted pass which unlocked the Craigie defence before McMillan finished off the move to set up a nervy finish. With the last kick of the game, Blackhall came close to forcing extra time when Nathan Pearse played in McMillan, but the striker couldn’t double his tally for the evening as his shot across goal sailed just wide of the mark.
The referee then blew his whistle and Craigroyston lifted the trophy. It was a pleasing victory for Craigroyston’s Graeme Bell and his coaching team Derek and Sean Moorhead.
Bell said: “I’m absolutely delighted. I’m delighted for the team, the coaches and, of course, the parents.
“We played a very good Blackhall side and they came here and showed mettle. But I have to give credit to our side as we handled it well.
“Once we went 2-0 up we decided to hold the lead and it’s paid off in the end. I think if they managed to pull one back sooner it could have been different but we held on really well and saw the game out.” Bell then went on to reveal he hopes to see his side lift more trophies before the season is over. We’re aiming to win the league and we’ve got a few games in hand there. We’ve also got a cup final against North Merchiston coming up so that’s another day out to look forward to.”
Craigroyston BC 13s: Darren Owen, Daniel Crooks, Lewis Hunter, Chelsea Diamond, Liam Moorhead, Ryan Adamson, Steven Pouton, Alan Selkirk, Max Macgillvray, Christopher Bell, Ben Hunter, Callum McMillan, Tyler McKinlay, Mackenzie Dott, Jamie McEwan, Brandon Ndlovu.
Blackhall Athletic 13s: Matthew Adams, Thomas Palmer, Ewan Henderson, Alex Shanks, Andrew Jack, Nathan Pearse, Thomas Hedges, Owen McMillan, Josh Hunt, Scott Muirden, Owen Paton, Craig Affleck, Thomas MacKay, Pablo Edwards, Toby Peters.