North Merchiston 16s comfortably defeated Hutchison Vale 4-1 in the final of the SERYFA Evening News Division One League Trophy at Saughton Enclosure.
Only five points separated the two sides in the league table with Hutchison Vale finishing fourth, whilst North Merchiston ended the season in fifth place. However, there appeared to be a gulf in class as North Merchiston completely dominated over the course of the 90 minutes.
North Merchiston coach Andy Young was thrilled to have secured cup glory and feels his players deserve some success this season.
He said: “We feel that we’ve nearly been there on many occasions. We lost two finals last year and one this year in the last 20 minutes so it was great to get ahead and stay there.
“Hutchie have been on a great streak recently and have beaten all the top teams, so it’s great to beat them. We have improved this year getting further in the cups and finishing higher in the league so we’re happy over the piece.”
The spectators didn’t have to wait long for the opening goal to arrive as it came on the three-minute mark. Nick Mortimer had time to cross from the right and Calum Baptie outjumped a static Hutchie defence to send a looping header over Jack Roden and into the far corner.
Hutchie did have a chance to level shortly after, but after breaking free from his marker and rounding goalkeeper Darren Mitchell, striker Jordan Combe was unable to squeeze the ball in from a tight angle and instead found the side netting.
Joe Turner-Law must have thought he’d put his side two up when his strike from the edge of the area seemed destined to be heading in until Roden intervened at the last second and produced a superb save diving to his right.
Merchiston were two up after 27 minutes and once again it arrived courtesy of a header. Calum Windram’s near post free-kick was glanced on by Fraser Thomson and out of reach of Roden as it nestled into the far corner.
A hat-trick of headers were completed when Merchiston added a killer third goal. A long free-kick from just inside the Merchiston half was catapulted into the Hutchie penalty box and Baptie proved his athleticism for a second time, springing to meet the ball first and firing a powerful header beyond the helpless Roden.
Baptie then completed a hat-trick of his own not long into the second-half when he forced the ball in from close range after some woeful defending from the Hutchie defence to make it 4-0, and in the process, ended any chance of a comeback from the side in yellow and black. Hutchie did manage to find the Merchiston net when Liam Robert Henderson collected a long ball out of defence, and took his time before prodding the ball under Mitchell to restore some pride.
Turner-Law appeared determined to get his name on the scoresheet and attempted a shot from some distance, but his strike lacked sufficient accuracy to trouble Roden.
Hutchie almost added a second in the dying minutes when Sean Elliot lobbed the ball over Mitchell which seemed net-bound until the excellent Windram made a last-ditch attempt and cleared the ball off the line to keep the scoreline that little bit more satisfying.
North Merchiston: Darren Mitchell, Fraser Thomson, Nick Mortimer, Calum Windram, Anton Dowds, Calum Young, Joe Turner-Law, Calum Baptie, Adam Hastings, Nathan Evans, Greig Brown, Chris Suttie, Jake MacDonald, Keiran Owens, Ben Brigain, Hamish Law.
Hutchison Vale: Jack Roden, Adam Murray, Connor Farley, Warren Paterson, Scott Taylor-Mackenzie, Dylan Moore, Jordan Combe, Connor Dalziel, Reece Henderson, Brandon Cameron, Mikey Hamilton, Liam Robert Henderson, Sean Elliot.