Sunday 25 September 2016, 16.00, Ainslie Park

Second Scottish Cup game of the weekend, with East of Scotland League side Leith Athletic against Cumbernauld Colts from the Lowland League.

Leith Athletic play at Meadowbank 3G, an artificial pitch which is part of the Meadowbank Stadium complex.  The current incarnation considers itself to be the club that went out of business in 1955.  The original Leith Athletic were founded in 1887 and played in the Scottish Football League in four different spells between 1897 and 1953.

The name was revived at youth level in 1996 and twelve years later the senior team returned when they amalgamated with Edinburgh Athletic and took the latter’s place in the East of Scotland League.  They gained promotion to the East of Scotland Premier Division in 2011.

The original club came into the Scottish Football League in 1891 but were relegated in 1895 to the Second Division.  They were wound up in 1905 and a new limited company formed to take over the old club’s assets and they began the next season as Leith FC.  The club closed down during the First World War and when it returned in 1919, the “Athletic” was back.

Relegation in 1948 saw them enter the split third tier and they played in Division C (North and East).  Made up mainly of reserve teams, Leith were expelled in 1953 when they refused to play any more fixtures in Division C and the club went out of business in 1955.

The team has grown considerably since its return in 2008 and last season won the East of Scotland League.

They have already beaten St Cuthbert Wanderers and Coldstream in this season’s preliminary rounds to reach the 1st round of the Scottish Cup.

Cumbernauld Colts Football Club was the New Town’s first youth football club when it formed in 1969 and during the 70s and early 80s was the town’s biggest youth football club.  The club went into a period of decline and during season 1998/99 the club’s one remaining team folded.  In 1999 the club was reborn and was steadily built back up.

Following investment from the Scottish Government via their Cashback scheme for SFA endorsed football projects, the club moved into its new home at Broadwood Stadium in 2012.  The club has four operating strands, a Senior Male First Team who play in the Scottish Lowland Football League, a Female First Team and an extensive grassroots Football Academy which provides grassroots pathways for both males and females.

Colts are the main occupant of the all-seated Broadwood Stadium, currently ground-sharing with Scottish Professional Football League side Clyde.

The newly formed Cumbernauld Colts senior side were elected to the Scottish Lowland League for the 2015-16 season and performed admirably, finishing 4th in the league and reaching the Scottish Cup 3rd round, including a win against junior giants Auchinleck Talbot.

The Colts look set for another successful season, sitting in third place on the day of their cup clash.

The cup tie takes place at Ainslie Park, the home of Spartans, as Leith’s Meadowbank home doesn’t meet SFA criteria.

As soon as the game kicked off, there was a sudden downpour which was there for the opening 5 minutes.

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Leith won a free kick on the edge of the Colts box in the third minute and Fee stepped up to take it, but sent his shot high and wide.

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There were a group of young lads sitting behind us at the game who were very noisy and bursting into song now and again.  Sad to hear a particularly sweary one, but “We’re only here for the party” was quite amusing (there was no jelly and ice cream on sale).

Quick update on the weather front – with 7 minutes gone, it was glorious sunshine.

A Colts corner in 12 minutes went right across the face of the Leith goal and just needed a touch to go in the net, but it bypassed everyone and went out on the other side.

A one two down the left by Colts sent O’Neill sprinting towards the by-line in 18 minutes and he picked out Black at the back post, but Gordon was off his line very quickly to block.

Leith’s Mason went down injured in 19 minutes and after lengthy treatment, had to be replaced.

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Temporary peace from the young lads as we reached half an hour gone as they spotted Celtic player and former Hibs loanee Liam Henderson in the crowd.  One by one, they all went across and asked for photos, autographs etc etc.  Commendable patience from him as he signed everything and posed for everyone who asked.

A good run forward by Wilson for Leith in 43 minutes saw him get to the edge of the box and try a shot, but it was well over the bar.

Just before half time, McKinlay did well to take the ball from Colts’ Black and progressed into the box on the right hand side, but couldn’t keep his shot on goal down.

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It was a first half of few chances between two evenly matched sides.

The Spartans tannoy announcer was in his usual place, despite the game not involving the usual home team.  As he played music through his phone over the loud speakers, the crowd were suddenly treated to hearing his ringtone for a good 60 seconds as his phone received a call.  I’m not sure where he was, but someone eventually went and unplugged it.

In 51 minutes, Murray was found by a Colts through ball on the left and from the by-line, he crossed into the box, but Gordon punched his cross clear.

A break forward by Colts in 54 minutes saw Selkirk find O’Neill on the right.  He played a good ball into Black in the middle, but he became the latest player to shoot too high.

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Wilson put a free kick into the Colts box in 56 minutes which came to Hainey, and his effort beat Fahey, but was cleared off the line.

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In 61 minutes, Leith’s Wilson chipped the ball forward for McKinlay, but he didn’t get any power in the shot and it was a comfortable save for Fahey.

Colts’ Batchelor received a second yellow card in 65 minutes after Hainey went down.  He claimed that he hadn’t touched the Leith striker, but the referee wasn’t for changing his mind.

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Two minutes later, McFarlane was booked for a bad tackle on McKinlay.  A bit of a gamble so soon after his team mate was sent off.

Kneeshaw passed to Hainey in the Colts box in 68 minutes and he laid it off to Wilson and off balance he, you guessed it, shot over.

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Leith’s Fee crossed from the left in 75 minutes and found the head of Kneeshaw but under pressure, he headed wide.

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Leith were starting to gain an advantage with the extra man and Allen’s free kick in 81 minutes dropped in the box for McKinlay whose effort was tipped on to the bar by Fahey.

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A quick break by Leith in 82 minutes was halted when Ballantyne tripped McKinlay.  Wilson’s curling free kick was pushed away by Fahey.

A chance for Colts in 84 minutes when Selkirk held the ball up in the box and O’Neill came in to strike for goal, but it was blocked wide.

With just a couple of minutes left, it was ten men each as Leith substitute Allan brought down Broadfoot with a cynical foul as he tried to break from his own half.  A brief scuffle between the players followed it and the remaining minutes became bad tempered but with no further chances.

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Very little in the way of goalmouth action with neither team really able to claim that they should have won.  Should make for an interesting replay with (hopefully) some more action around the goals.

The number 11s looked the most likely with Wilson for Leith and Colts’ O’Neill looking good.  Defences were on top though and both teams would have been pleased with the way they defended.  Leith’s Melvin was probably the pick of the bunch.

Full Time: Leith Athletic 0 Cumbernauld Colts 0

Admission: £5

Leith Athletic: 1 Iain Gordon, 2 Taylor Black, 3 Kyle Fee, 4 Neil Lowson, 5 Sean Melvin, 6 Robbie Mason (Beaton 21), 7 Daniel McKinlay, 8 Mark Wilkie (Allan 65), 9 James Hainey, 10 Gavin Kneeshaw (Ferguson 79), 11 Scott Wilson. Subs: 12 Kerr Allen, 14 Chris Beaton, 15 Jack Combe, 16 John Ferguson, 17 Steven Glynn, 18 Lewis Tracey, 21 Neil Fairnie.

Cumbernauld Colts: 1 Chris Fahey, 2 Mark Batchelor, 3 Richard Kirwin, 4 Dan McFarlane, 5 Andy Ward, 6 Jordan Pirrie (Broadfoot 68), 7 Owen Ronald (Tennant 72), 8 Craig Murray, 9 Andrew Selkirk, 10 John Black (Ballantyne), 11 Stephen O’Neill. Subs: 12 Ross Ballantyne, 14 Jamie Broadfoot, 15 Jamie Barclay, 16 Andy Hunter, 17 John Tennant, 18 Michael Norris, 13 Kenny Giles.

Referee: Chris Fordyce

Programme: Free with admission.  (team sheets also available in café).

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