Leith Athletic 14s pushed Bellshill Boys Club all the way before losing 1-0 in the fourth round of the Inspiresport Scottish Cup.
Both teams looked lively early on at Leith Links, each creating chances in front of goal only to be denied by some inspired defending.
It was a proper cup match, very physical game with clear scoring opportunities at a premium.
The only goal of the game came in the 12th minute. Leith had won a corner and a large part of the team was committed in the penalty area. The ball was flicked on towards goal but they couldn’t find the net. The Bellshill defence lumped the ball down the pitch towards Jac Campbell, who carried the ball towards goal. The keeper came out to close down the shot but the ball squeezed under him. The ball looked like it had crossed the line but some team-mates arrived to force it into the net and remove any doubt.
Eight minutes later, Bellshill had the opportunity to go 2-0 up but a great piece of last-ditch defending by Charles Harte left them stunned, the Leith player lunging at the ball on the line and clearing the danger to the delight of his team-mates.
The second half started with Daniel Fennell coming close to equalising for Leith. He worked space well in the box and fired a shot towards the top right corner of the net but the keeper was able to push the ball out wide.
Leith pushed hard for a goal. Pressing high up the pitch, they frequently found themselves playing in the Bellshill half.
Only five minutes into the half, another opportunity to level the match was missed. This time Fennell whipped the ball in to the back post from a free-kick, Ben Aitchison stretched to reach the ball but couldn’t quite get there.
Finlay Sinclair replaced the Leith keeper in the second half and made some tremendous saves to keep his team in the match. He was called into action again in the 42nd minute as Logan Meikle looked destined to double Bellshill’s lead but Sinclair was equal to his effort.
In the 55th minute, Connor Thompson broke on the counter and was in a promising position before being unfairly taken out. Ben Aitchison nearly levelled from the resulting free-kick. meeting the ball at the back post only to see his effort saved before rebounding off him out of play.
Michele Marenduzzo had an impressive performance in the heart of the defence for Leith. He frustrated the Bellshill attack as he read the play well and cut out the ball numerous times throughout the match despite recovering from an ill-timed challenge earlier on.
Jamie Kirkpatrick had a couple of chances late on to seal the victory for Bellshill but could not get the ball past Sinclair.
Leith Athletic 14s: Finlay Sinclair, Maksymilan Plutka, Ben Moffat, Lewis Gilroy, Cameron Chambers, Jack Smith, James Robb, Ben Aitchison, Charles Harte, Daniel Fennell, Lewis Wilsn-Palmer, Jason Meikle, Michele Marenduzzo, Connor Thompson, Louie Buckley.
Bellshill BC 14s: Ross Maxwell, Ryan Blackwood, Jack Pello, Lyell Hunter, Declan Bell, David Rowan, Jac Campbell, Jamie Kirkpatrick, Jay McKiddie, Lewis Hoskins, Logan Meikle, Jay Wilkie, Jordan Griffen.