Striker Patterson Marfo’s 79th minute effort steered Leith Athletic 15s to Division 1 League Cup glory as they edged out Tynecastle 15s 2-1 at New Dundas Park.
Jack Hamilton’s 22nd minute strike gave the boys in black and white an early advantage in the final but Tynecastle rallied in the second half to bring the scores level when Owen Winnik nodded in with 15 minutes to remaining.
It was then a case of who would take their chances late on to secure the silverware and Marfo made his moment count with a composed finish when one-on-one with goalkeeper Sam Robinson.
Tynie got things underway on a gorgeous evening in Bonnyrigg and they didn’t waste time trying to create an opening at the heart of the opposition defence. The patient approach was proving fairly straightforward for Leith to deal with however as they looked to spring a break time and time again in response.
One of their counter-attacks almost paid dividends seven minutes in when Hamilton sent a square pass to Findlay Paxton 25 yards from goal. Paxton looked to test Robinson with a powerful effort from range but he only succeeded in firing the ball over the top.
Paxton’s team looked to have settled well and they again came close to breaking the deadlock shortly after. Aidan Walter raced onto a forward ball in behind the defence and, with three Tynecastle bodies around him, he shot at goal, but it was well saved by Robinson.
Leith just had the upper hand in the final and they made their spell of dominance count with an opener just 40 seconds later. Hamilton received the ball through the heart of the Tynie defence and he made sure to put the ball in the net with just the keeper to beat.
As half-time approached, Athletic continued to break quickly and they could very easily have added another to their tally with six minutes of the first half to go. With Tynie bodies up-field, Walter quickly played a pass over the top to Hamilton. The number eight succeeded in rounding the keeper but Andrew Lickley made a crucial block as Hamilton looked to lob the last defender.
It looked certain that Leith would take their lead in with them at the break but the boys in maroon threatened to change that in first half injury time. Keeper Adam McLean, however, pulled off a fantastic double save to deny both Martin Maughan and then Winnik from in the area.
Tynecastle came out looking revitalised after the break and really they shouldn’t have taken as long as they did to equalise. Fifteen minutes into the half only a cracking save from McLean kept the scores as they were. Winnik played the ball into Jake Coulter and he looked to blast in from close range but the Leith keeper somehow stuck out a hand to deny the equaliser. Soon after Tynecastle had another marvellous opportunity to pull level but again they came up short when it mattered. Aaron Wilson did brilliantly down the left to get past his marker before sending in the pass to Jackson Cowan who spun and shot, but just wide of the left hand post.
Cowan’s side eventually found the equaliser that had so far proved elusive four minutes later when Wilson’s corner from the right picked out Winnik and he headed in at the backpost for 1-1.
It looked as though the momentum was going to help Tynecastle find a winning goal, but importantly Leith took their chance at the death to secure cup final glory. With Tynie bodies forward Athletic played a quick ball through to substitute Marfo and, with only the keeper to beat, he poked the ball under Robinson to make his side’s cup final dreams a reality.
Leith Athletic 15s: Adam McLean, Mitchell Hutchison, Ewan Farmer, Liam Reid, Findlay Paxton, Cameron Burns, Jack Hamilton, Washe Manyathelo, Aidan Walter, Kyle McFarlane, Reece Forbes, Patterson Marfo, Alex Hyndman.
Tynecastle 15s: Sam Robinson, Max Bendle, Aaron Wilson, Lewis Gill, Ciaran McKenzie, Jackson Cowan, Callum Bremner, Jake Coulter, Matthew Brown, Andrew Lickley, Cameron Mills, Daniel Purves, Jordan Purves, Owen Winnik, Todd Teviotdale, Declan Gibson, Martin Maughan.