Tynecastle goalie's role reversal earns first win with penalty save against Sauchie
Tynecastle goalkeeper Kyle Leiper went from first half villain to second half hero as his stunning penalty save secured their first victory of the season in an entertaining 3-2 win over Sauchie at a sunny Meggetland.
The 18-year-old was at fault for the opener with Sauchie striker Connor Kelly’s strike squirming under him at his near post when he looked certain to make a routine save, but he showed mettle ahead of his years to stop Kelly from securing an equaliser with just five minutes remaining and deserved the acclaim his stop brought from his team-mates.
Two fine strikes from 19-year-old Luke Kennedy put Stevie McLeish’s youthful side - without several first team regulars - ahead, before Taylor Hendry gave his side some breathing space before the interval.
McLeish allows his youngsters the freedom to play, and despite Sauchie pulling a goal back early in the second half through Ross Crawford, Tynie still threw players forward in the hunt for more, with Kennedy denied a hat-trick from the penalty spot by Chic Bell.
“I’m absolutely over the moon,” said McLeish. “We had roughly eight players out - on the pitch we had an 18 year-old goalie, an 18-year-old centre half, a 16 year-old who made his debut, and two 19-year-olds in centre midfield.
“I am delighted for everyone. We try and play the right way, we have a lot of energy and enthusiasm, and Saturday was a real shift for us to get a win. That’s three games without defeat and it’s probably as good a start as we could’ve hoped for.
"We are just looking to stay away from the bottom part of the league as much as we can. We see ourselves as being a good football team who will compete with anybody.
“Sauchie are very experienced, with good players, and they came here and tried to play football. It’s the first team that we’ve faced [this season] that have decided they are going to actually go and play. I really enjoyed the game, it was a difficult half and when you have kids you are going to get ups and downs.
“We’re lucky we have an under-20s squad with good quality we can dip into. We just challenge them, ‘This is your chance to show you can go and win games, and play at this level’ and they did it.”
Leiper earned particular praise from his manager, as McLeish added: “He won the game for the us. He’s just a kid, he looks about 28 but he is only 18, and you’re going to get mistakes but you’ll get quality as well, and we got both of those out of him today.”
Elsewhere, Dunbar United’s 100% start came unstuck as they fell to a 1-0 home defeat against Camelon who are joined at the top of the league by Tranent, after goals from Steven Thomson and Jamie Docherty gave them a third win from three and a 2-0 win at Dundonald Bluebell. Musselburgh Athletic got life under new boss Joe Hamill off to a shaky start, with new signing from Penicuik, Greg Page, netting a last minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw with Crossgates. Broxburn got their first points with a 2-0 success at Whitehill Welfare, with first half goals from Cameron Ross and Jordan Wright.