Leith Athletic 1 Edinburgh City 2
ROBBIE ROSS, the Scotland semi-professional cap who was at the centre of a possible transfer to Linlithgow Rose during the summer, proved he is one of the best goal scorers in the East of Scotland League.
His late goal ensured Edinburgh City's passage to the second round of the SFA South Region Challenge Cup courtesy of a 2-1 win over Leith Athletic in the first meeting of these two Capital clubs at senior level since 1949. On that occasion Leith were 3-0 victors in a Division 'C' Supplementary Competition and for periods in the second half it looked as if they might manage another win until Ross's late goal.
Leith Athletic are newcomers to the East of Scotland League having amalgamated with Edinburgh Athletic during the close season. A large crowd was present to witness this historic match and they did not leave disappointed.
The action ebbed and flowed from end to end in the opening quarter with Jamie Lauder proving to be a thorn in the side of City while Jordan Caddow was a constant nuisance to the Leith defence. Iain Cartwright was denied giving Leith the lead when his 20 yard shot was brilliantly palmed around the post by Duncan Monteith.
However, Leith, in their first home game, were guilty of giving the ball away cheaply and they paid the price on the half hour mark. Leith conceded a corner and when the ball came over it was cleared only as far as the edge of the penalty box. City's Danny Munro was given time to set up his shot and he fairly rifled the ball towards the top corner. Alan Mackintosh managed to get a strong hand on the ball but he could not prevent it from dropping behind him and into the net.
Robbie Ross almost added to City's lead but his glancing header slipped wide before Kevin Freedman tried a 20 yard shot which City keeper Monteith held comfortably.
The start of the second half saw Chris Beaton thread a through ball to Iain Cartwright and Monteith had to rush from his penalty box to clear the danger. Steven Radzynski proved he will be a handful for defences with two low shots as Leith took control with some neat passing. Leith's Cartwright did have the ball in the net after an hour but his celebrations were shortlived as the assistant referee signalled that he was off-side. Lauder had a 30 yard free kick which bounced narrowly wide of the target before, arguably, came Leith's best chance. The ball was cut back to the unmarked Beaton who tried to side foot it behind Monteith but the keeper was alert enough to tip the ball over the crossbar.
Substitute Richie Johnstone then hit a volley wide and Radzynski seemed certain to equalise with only six minutes left. He cut inside 16 yards out and hit a low net-bound shot which Monteith saved superbly. The ball was quickly cleared to Kevin Morrison who found Paul Taylor wide on the left. The veteran former Whitburn player advanced and carefully picked out the in-rushing Robbie Ross who slid the ball into the net at the back post. It was a typical sucker punch and although Mike Stewart picked out Johnstone who scored with a powerful downward header there was to be no equaliser for Leith. Goal scorer Ross said: "It was a very hard game because we did not know a lot about Leith and what to expect. They were very fit and made it a tough game for us. In the second half we seemed to sit back a bit and they came at us and created chances.
"This is the biggest cup competition that we play in and we want to go one better than last season when we were beaten by Annan Athletic in the final."
Stewart Churchill, the assistant manager of Leith Athletic, said:
"We played too much route one in the first half but in the second half we had more of the ball. Football can be a cruel game because it could easily have been 1-1 then City immediately went to the other end and scored.
We are very fit and now we are getting more into the shape that we want to play. Although beaten, we are not downhearted and it is only a matter of time before we click into gear."
Leith Athletic: Mackintosh, Penman (Ross Cartwright 65), Thom, Stewart, Ewart, Wallace, Beaton, Freedman, Radzynski, Iain Cartwright (Johnstone 73), Lauder (Russell 83). Subs: Middlemiss, Young.
Edinburgh City: Monteith, Morrison, Kenny Ross, Macnamara, Bruce, Jordan Hall, Niven (Taylor 65), Munro, Robbie Ross, Clee (Calladine 80), Caddow (Mullen 80), Subs: Speed, Hogarth.
Referee: Michal Jasinsky.