All-conquering Leith Athletic add Royal Cup to cabinet

BEATEN before they even take to the field. That was the view held by much of the crowd as they witnessed the fall of another opponent of Leith Athletic's under-19 team in the South East Region Royal Edinburgh Cup final at Dunbar's New Countess Park.

Salvesen suffered the ignominy of a heavy defeat in the East Lothian showpiece, with goals flying past them regularly to give a scoreline of 7-0.

Leith's emphatic win was merely another in many runaway cup final wins this season and highlighted their customary ruthlessness in front of goal.

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In their 14 league games – all victories – Athletic struck five or more goals on six occasions, while conceding more than one goal on just a solitary occasion, a 7-2 win at closest rivals Spartans Reds.

It was Spartans who denied Leith the honour of a place in every domestic final this campaign with a home win in the semi-final of the Federation of Hibs Supporters' Cup. An earlier hiccup from the Leith Links-based side had ensured that they would not realise the dream of a clean sweep of trophies, as Edinburgh United sprung a surprise Scottish Cup win.

Leith, though, wreaked revenge on their nemeses with an 8-2 thrashing of eventual national tournament winners United in the South East Region Cup final and followed that up with a 3-1 victory in the Cruden Bowl Cup final on Sunday to add to wins over Spartans Reds in the finals of the Bob Bankier Cup and David Murray Cup.

It was Salvesen, though, who presented the resistance – to a degree – on this occasion but, although Leith took almost 20 minutes to open the scoring, the eventual winners found it all too easy to rack up a convincing win.

Salvesen goalkeeper Graeme McDonald had been tested only by relatively tame efforts at his goal until the 19th minute, when a freak cross-cum-shot was to prove his undoing. Leith's Jason Stevens picked up the ball on halfway, a couple of yards inside Salvesen territory, and his wayward cross-field ball flew over McDonald and into the top left-hand corner of the net via the crossbar.

Five minutes later, it was two, with Stevens this time providing a far more orthodox route to goal, crossing from the right for Darren Lavery to meet the ball at the far post with a volleyed shot into the bottom right-hand corner.

On 37 minutes, Lavery struck the crossbar before the ball was cleared off the line, and teammate Jamie Burstow skied an effort from two yards as Salvesen had to settle for a role as mere observers of Leith's forward play before falling farther behind after 43 minutes.

A deflected shot fell directly into the path of Lavery, who executed a simple six-yard header past McDonald into the right-hand corner.

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Even after half-time, a shell-shocked Salvesen were unable to produce anything to trouble their more able adversaries, and Leith struck three goals in 11 minutes to inflict further misery on the West Edinburgh side.

On 58 minutes, Steven Lynch sprayed the ball to the right wing for Stevens, who beat his man on the flank before instinctively finding Lavery with a pinpoint cross. The Athletic attacker then laid the ball on for his fellow forward, Willie Bremner, who struck a powerful effort into the bottom left-hand corner.

Just seconds afterwards, Bremner notched his second of the match, converting Stephen Barrie's corner from the left with a close-range header.

The black and white stripes could ghost through to score as if Salvesen's defence was invisible, such was the effectiveness of their movement and quick passing.

Inevitably, more goals were to follow, with the last of the quick-fire treble coming on 69 minutes.

Leith's Blair Dickson breezed past his marker on the right and delivered an inch-perfect, in-swinging cross beyond the Salvesen backline, and Lavery honed in on the ball at the far post, without breaking stride, to head into the net.

Leith plundered their seventh of the afternoon late on, after McDonald managed only to punch Stevens' cross towards Lavery, who notched his fourth of the game with a point-blank finish.

Salvesen: Graeme McDonald, Stephen McIntyre, Callum McDonald, Adam Porteous, Tom Irving, Stuart Newstead, Garry Smith, Cameron Sneddon, Stuart Steele, Daniel Currie, Dale Heatlie, Norman Dunnett, Mark Hendrie, Greg Jardine, Scott Houston, Gordon Harris.

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Leith Athletic: Matthew Banks, Christopher Barrie, David Menzies, Neil Lowson, Liam Rafferty, Steven Lynch, Jason Stevens, Lewis Tracey, William Bremner, Darren Lavery, Jamie Burstow, Ryan Davidson, Stephen Barrie, Blair Dickson, Jack Combe, Lewis Martin.