Hutchison Vale Colts 14s’ coach Craig Mayes dedicated his side’s SPORTSassist South East Region Cup victory to his late uncle, Alan McConnell, who lost his battle with cancer earlier this year.
McConnell was a hugely inspirational figure of Hutchison Vale’s other under-14s side, a top coach who helped deliver both the league championship and Scottish Cup last season.
Colts were just too good for Scottish Cup winners Tynecastle as they ran out 2-0 winners at New Countess Park.
“It’s the best achievement I have had as a coach so far and it means so much to me,” said Mayes. “I’m really proud of the boys as they fought really hard and it was great to see them play some decent football.
“I learned my trade from my uncle and all the boys wanted to go out there and do it for Alan, and that’s what we’ve managed.”
Chances were few and far between in the opening stages of play, but Jay Kilboy did provide an effort on goal which drifted wide of the left post.
However, pressure down the right wing led to Colts’ opening goal after 20 minutes when, from Ewan Curle’s corner, striker Matthew Edgar was first to meet the ball and direct his header down and in at the far post.
Tynecastle were struggling to find the fluency that has so often reflected their play this season as the Colts, on the other hand, appeared the more assertive when in possession.
A terrific cross, however, from Tynecastle’s Bruce McCrorie was perfectly delivered into the six-yard box but there were no takers in a maroon jersey.
Tynecastle then hit the post twice in quick succession as, firstly, Tod Rowell’s shot came back off the woodwork from ten yards only for Cameron Dawson to direct the follow-up onto the left-hand post, with Colts goalkeeper Ben Corrall well beaten.
A superb Struan Robb tackle prevented Tynecastle striker Murray Hand getting his effort away on goal before Dawson was inches away from an equaliser as he stuck out a foot in an attempt to divert the ball in after a dangerous cross from the right.
Tynecastle perhaps had the more clear-cut chances of the two sides, but it was the Colts who looked more able to get the ball down and pass when attacking their opposition’s rearguard.
Dawson again missed an opportunity from close range before Robb was again Colts’ saviour with a great block after Corrall had put his own side in trouble with a weak kick-out.
It was a disappointing day for Dawson, with the No.9 missing another great chance when he blasted over after being given space in the penalty box.
Colts then provided a sucker-punch with a late strike in the second half when Ross McLaren weaved himself past an opponent before prodding a shot with the outside of his foot into the far corner to seal cup glory.
Hutchison Vale Colts: Ben Corrall, Matthew Edgar, Nathan McCulloch, Ewan Curle, Jack Markham, Jack Murray, Ross Watters, Struan Robb, Ross McLaren, Che Cousland, Fraser Martin, Joseph Beaton, Ben Philp, David Anderson, Lewis Adjodani.
Tynecastle FC: Fraser Briton, Brok Robertson, Bruce McCrorie, Ben Voy, Murray Rose, Cameron Dawson, Murray Hand, Matthew Brady, Robbie McPherson, Tod Rowell, Jay Kilboy, Liam Willis, Cameron Liddell.