Tuesday 25 April 2017, 19.30, Meadowbank 3G

The King Cup semi-final between Leith Athletic and Tynecastle.

The King Cup is open to all East of Scotland members not playing in the Scottish Professional Football League.  It is a knock-out tournament with all games played to a finish.

It’s our third look at Leith Athletic this season, but the first to their Meadowbank home.  Part of the Meadowbank Stadium complex, it’s next to the sports centre.  Built in 2013 from money raised through the Scottish Government’s Cashback for Communities programme and the balance by The City of Edinburgh Council, Leith Athletic won the right to call it their home.  They are still in the midst of a title shoot-out with Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale.

A first sighting of Tynecastle this season.  The original club was formed in 1928 as a Meccano club.  As numbers increased the Tynecastle Former Pupils Club was established.  With football soon one of the sports being played it became Tynecastle Boys Club in 1944.

They joined forces in the ‘60s with Tynecastle Athletic and there were soon 5 different aged teams operating under the name.  Trophies and trips abroad started to arrive.

2004 saw a merger with Tollcross United and they became a member of the East of Scotland League, where Tollcross were already members.  Tynecastle entered senior football for the first time.

They received a major boost in 2007 when they were given over £100,000 as part of former goalkeeper Craig Gordon’s transfer from Hearts to Sunderland.

They won the East of Scotland First Division in 2009 to attain promotion to the Premier Division for the first time.  They consistently achieve finishes in the top half of the East of Scotland League, which has now just one league.  It’s been another good season for Tynecastle with them in the League Cup Final and being losing finalists in the Alex Jack Cup.  They are looking likely to finish in third spot in the league this season.

Both teams got a bye in the King Cup before Leith Athletic won 8-0 against Ormiston to reach the semi-final while Tynecastle  beat Stirling University 5-1.  The winners would face either Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale or Coldstream in the final.

Although Leith were favourites, Tynecastle had hampered Leith’s title challenge by beating them 2-1 earlier in the month, for their second win against them this season.  Leith won the other game between the two teams.

Both teams came into the game in goalscoring form, having scored seven each in their respective league games the previous Saturday.

There were around 60 in attendance.

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The game was in doubt earlier in the day when Meadowbank Sports Centre was temporarily closed due to reported technical difficulties, but everything was ok in time for kick off.

In the opening minute Leith’s McKinlay played the ball to Hainey who returned it to him, but McIntyre got across to clear.

With 3 minutes gone, Khosrowpour got to the by-line for Tynecastle on the right, and his cross was blocked behind by Lowson.  Swanson’s corner to the front post saw Ferguson run in with Melvin going to challenge and it wasn’t clear who the ball came off, but it ended up in the net to give the away side an early lead.

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Swanson put a good cross into the Leith box in 7 minutes which found Cowan, but Swanson had been caught by Bruce and the referee had already blown for a foul.

McKinlay received the ball on the right for Leith in 9 minutes and had a shot from the corner of the box, but McMullen was able to catch the ball at waist height.

A Tynecastle attack in 11 minutes saw Khosrowpour chest the ball down for Swanson.  His half-volley from around 23 yards was mishit and went out for a throw-in.

In 13 minutes, Wilson found Hainey on the left.  His cross into the Tynecastle box was just too far in front of McKinlay, although it must have taken a nick somewhere as a corner was given.

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Some patient build up play by Leith in 15 minutes ended with Wilson playing the ball to Melvin on the left whose cross which was headed in from close range by McKinlay to level the score.

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A Leith corner in 18 minutes was taken by Allan from the right hand side.  It was sent towards goal by Glynn who seemed to slightly miskick the ball which fell to Mason who fired into the net to put Leith in front.

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Leith’s Bruce got a talking to from the ref in 23 minutes after bringing down Swanson about 20 yards from goal in a central position.  Swanson took the kick himself and curled it just wide.

Tynecastle were looking to get back in the game again and when the ball was worked to Grant in 24 minutes, his ball across was cut out by Burns.

Straight up the other end and Hainey put McKinlay through on goal.  McMullen came out of his goal and McKinlay chipped it over him. They seemed to run into each other before Catlin managed to clear.

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Khosrowpour picked up a yellow card in 26 minutes for a late tackle on Burns.

With 27 minutes gone, Swanson found Khosrowpour in the Leith area and he went down under the challenge of Glynn, but nothing was given.

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There was another Tynecastle penalty claim in 30 minutes when Cowan went down trying to get on the end of a cross, but again the appeals fell on deaf ears.

Cowan was booked in 31 minutes for a challenge on McKinlay as Leith broke.  The decision looked a bit harsh.

Tynecastle were enjoying a good spell of possession and looked the more likely of the two teams to score the next goal.

In 43 minutes, Leith broke forward and a ball over the top by Mason for Hainey gave the striker a chance, but he shot into the side netting.

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An entertaining first half and one in which Tynecastle were unlucky to be behind at the break.

In the opening minute of the second half, Swanson got the ball on the left for Tynecastle and put it into the box.  Crabbe’s effort was blocked by Gordon and the ball fell to Khosrowpour who chested it down for Cowan, who stroked it in to make it two each.

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McKinlay crossed from the right in 52 minutes and Mason was there at the front post to slot the ball home to put Leith back in front.

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Swanson was down injured in 56 minutes with what looked like cramp and limped off.

Melvin broke down the left for Leith in 57 minutes and his cross was cleared to the edge of the box where Wilson was lurking, but he shot well wide.

Wilson played a clever ball inside a defender for Melvin in the Tynecastle box in 63 minutes and he showed good composure to sidestep Ferguson before shooting into the net to give his side a two goal advantage.

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Robinson’s corner in 65 minutes almost found Ferguson at the back post, but it just eluded the Tynecastle defender.

Several balls had left the ground during the course of the game and there couldn’t be many left.  The cold weather wasn’t helping the ball situation either, as it felt like I was freezing mine off.

A Tynecastle corner taken by Crabbe in 69 minutes was cleared from right under the bar by Burns.

Robinson was the next player to be booked with 70 minutes gone.  The Tynecastle player kicked the ball away after a foul was given against him.

Leith’s free kick near the corner flag in 72 minutes was headed goalwards but cleared off the line by a defender.

Allan tried to catch Tynecastle keeper McMullen off his line with a shot from half way in 75 minutes, but the goalie got back to catch the ball.

In 76 minutes, a shot by Mason was saved by McMullen and came to Melvin who shot home between a defender and the keeper to make it 5-2 to Leith.

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Muttitt saw his corner come back off the Leith bar in 79 minutes.

Leith came forward again in 83 minutes and McKinlay passed inside for Craigie, but he shot wide from the edge of the box.

With 5 minutes left, some lovely intricate play by Leith ended with McKinlay firing into the net.  The assistant referee had their flag up but after the referee conferred, the goal was given.  6-2.

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Allan played the ball through to Melvin in 87 minutes as Leith attacked again, and his shot from the edge of the box was unorthodoxly saved by McMullen and the defence cleared.

With two minutes remaining, John Ferguson broke clear of the Tynecastle defence after a pass from Craigie and he was taken out by McMullen.  The ball ran to Bruce who shot into the empty net for Leith’s seventh.

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A Tynecastle corner in the last minute saw a bit of a stramash in the Leith box and Gordon made two good blocks before the ball was cleared.

In injury time, Cowan played the ball inside to Mayer whose shot was cleared off the line by Leith’s Bruce.

A remarkable second half performance by Leith who seemed to get stronger the more that Tynecastle tired.  While Tynecastle had the better of the opening period, they crumbled somewhat in the second half, although they could rightly argue that there wasn’t really five goals between the sides.  Leith were clinical in the second half and progressed to yet another final.

Melvin, who always seems to play well when I see Leith was very good at the back and McKinlay was their most creative player and had a good game.  Swanson put in a good shift for Tynecastle and was always trying to create.

Full Time: Leith Athletic 7 Tynecastle 2

Admission: £5

Leith Athletic: 1 Iain Gordon, 2 Bruce, 3 Sean Melvin, 4 Neil Lowson, 5 Steven Glynn, 6 Grant Burns, 7 Daniel McKinlay, 8 Kerr Allan, 9 James Hainey (Craigie 77), 10 Robbie Mason (Ferguson 77), 11 Scott Wilson. Subs: 12 Chris Beaton, 14 Rhys Craigie, 15 John Ferguson, 16 Lewis, 17 Lewis Tracey, 19 Lewis Martin, 21 Neil Fairnie.

Tynecastle: 1 Ross McMullen, 2 Josh Grant, 3 Robbie McIntyre, 4 Ryan Ferguson, 5 Michael Catlin, 6 Willie Mitchell, 7 Jack Cowan, 8 Martyn Robinson, 9 Pieyam Khosrowpour (Muttitt 71), 10 Dean Crabbe (Mayer 71), 11 Louis Swanson (Brkic 58). Subs: 12 Ryan Mayer, GK Craig Cockburn, 14 Antonio Brkic, 15 Mark Leslie, 16 Calvin Muttitt.

Referee: Daniel Graves

Programme:  Free with admission.

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