Craig Ferrier sent Leith Athletic 2000 (Under-14s) flying into the last 16 of the Trans-Atlantic SYFA Cup with a second-half hat-trick after league rivals Spartans had led 2-1 at the interval.
The diminutive striker took all the acclaim from his team-mates – and rightly so – after three instinctive finishes secured a 5-2 victory for Leith to set up a tough fifth-round tie away to Grangemouth side Syngenta Juveniles.
Leith won’t care too much about their next opponents , though, as, on the basis of their second-half performance, they will fancy their chances against anyone in the competition.
Lewis MacKinnon had given Leith an early lead after three minutes with a well-executed volley after Reenan Ward’s cross found him at the back post only for Spartans to draw level on ten minutes when Washe Manyathelo capitalised on a defensive error.
Midway through the first half and Spartans took the lead in spectacular fashion from a free-kick. Manyathelo was cruelly taken out by Leith’s Nathan Brown and, from 25 yards, Andrew Dempster curled his strike into the top corner with Leith goalkeeper Adam McLean unable to get anywhere near it.
Into the second half and Ferrier came to life for Leith. He was afforded an early chance to get the equaliser but narrowly put his shot wide of the post from inside the box – a gilt-edged opportunity, but as a matter of fact he was just sorting out his bearings.
Bradley Barrett had been a stand-out for Leith in the first period with his rampaging runs from left back and one such foray forward brought the equaliser for Leith four minutes into the second period when his shot from the edge of the box looped over the head of Spartans keeper Jordan Cherrie.
Leith were now well on top and with Spartans shell-shocked from their opponents second-half revival, Ferrier notched his first after a great solo run. The striker took the ball from 30 yards out, drove down the left wing as defenders trailed behind him before cutting back inside and firing across Cherrie into the bottom corner.
Spartans had Cherrie to thank for keeping Leith out as they looked to increase their lead, with the keeper producing save after save. He could do nothing to stop Leith getting their fourth through Ferrier, though, who was given a simple tap-in after Barrett had slid the ball across goal.
Ferrier then sealed his hat-trick from the penalty spot after being hacked down before McLean tipped a Spartans spot-kick onto the post minutes later.
Meanwhile, Edina Hibs eased into the last 16 of the SYFA Cup with a 5-1 away win over Larkhall United AFC to set-up another away tie against Blantyre Boys Club Yellow.
The greens were rarely troubled on an afternoon which they were dominant throughout, with five players each getting their name on the scoresheet.
Liam Richardson got the ball rolling for Edina after 15 minutes with a header direct from a corner and then former Hearts youth player Ross Greig increased their lead before the interval with a strike into the top corner.
Jamie Weir added a third from outside the box before Craig Swanson teed up Lewis Kynoch on a plate to tap-in from two yards out.
Larkhall got a consolation but there was no stopping Edina and Ryan Colgan got their fifth after a diagonal ball found him on the left-hand side before he shot across Larkhall’s keeper.
Elsewhere, Salvesen CFC Under-17s continued their Scottish Cup journey with a 4-0 home hammering of St Mirren YFC to move into the fifth round.
Lewis Ross gave Salvie an early lead after just two minutes when he broke through the St Mirren defence before slotting into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
John Dunbar then added a second before half-time with a front-post header from Alex Hastie’s corner as Salvie built on their great start.
Into the second half and a good move down the right wing saw Adam Robertson squaring to Ryan Campbell inside the box, with Campbell finding the net at the second attempt before Alex McNeil fired in to set up a home tie against Mill United.