Both teams struggled to find any sort of rhythm as a battling wind swept across the pitch. With both clubs separated by a single point in South East Region Division One, the promise of a tight contest prior to kick-off was certainly justified.
Tynecastle boss Simon Kinghorn was relieved his players displayed the fighting spirit required to enable a comeback after going in at half-time 1-0 down courtesy of Loanhead striker Darren McCraw’s astute finish.
Kinghorn said: “The wind spoiled the match with it making it very difficult in trying to get the ball down and play. It was a game of two halves to be honest with them having the better of the first and us having the second. We can play a lot better than we did but we’re delighted to make the Scottish Cup Final for the third year on the trot.”
With the blustery conditions evident from the start, both sets of players were finding it difficult in making any sort of headway on an attacking front. A couple of blocked shots were about as much as both teams could muster in the opening exchanges of play. However, Loanhead began to emerge the more illustrious going forward with both Cameron McNab and Issac Thomson making their presence known.
It was indeed the later who created the first clearcut chance when he managed to evade the attention of two defenders, but failed to place a shot either side of Billy Taylor in the Tynecastle goal, who gathered with ease.
Loanhead continued their crusade on the Tynecastle goal and grabbed a deserved lead when the ball broke to McCraw in the box as the little No. 9 wasted no time in clipping the ball over Taylor who had made a last-ditch attempt to thwart the striker’s shot.
Loanhead almost immediately grabbed a second when some intricate play from goal scorer McCraw presented Thomson with a clear sight on goal. The teenager, however, failed to amass any substantial power behind his shot as goalkeeper Taylor collected with the half-time whistle an imminent sound.
Tynecastle, a side appeared to be transformed by manager Kinghorn’s words from the interval, began the second period with an urgency that had been posted missing for the majority of the opening half.
A long clearance from Taylor had the Loanhead defence scrambling as Cameron Jeffrey threatened to move clear in on goal, but Ben MacKenzie, Loanhead’s No. 1, was victorious in the sprint to reach the ball first and cleared to safety.
Tynecastle’s early domination finally paid off only ten minutes into the second half. A ball delivered into the box from the right found midfielder Jason Kerr in space at the back post and he proved clinical as he finished from close range to level the tie at 1-1.
It wasn’t long before Tynecastle pounced again, scoring their second in the space of 20 minutes and turning the match in favour of the boys in maroon. A corner from Jamie Purves was not dealt with sufficiently by the Loanhead defence and striker Jeffrey drove the ball into the far corner of the net to complete the turnaround.
With Loanhead unable to assert any late pressure, Tynecastle looked the most likely team to add to their lead and it took a wonderful save from MacKenzie to deny a rasping effort from Tyler Connachan who must have thought he had sealed a greater margin of victory for his side.
Disappointed by his team’s second-half performance, Loanhead coach Peter Kay was left wondering at what might have been, but is optimistic for the remainder of the 2011/2012 season. “We were by far the best side in the first half but our failure to defend corners properly was where they got their goals from,” Kay said.
“We’re still involved in a few cups between now and the end of the season so there is still a lot to play for.”
Loanhead Miners Youth FC: Ben MacKenzie, Fraser Shearer, Liam Taylor, Jack Fairgrieve, Scott Fairgrieve, Cameron McNab, Darren McCraw, Ruairidh Crawford, Rudi Glynn, Issac Thomson, Harry McGill, Connor Lawrie, Dean McCafferty, Ryan Porteous, Greg Kerr, Tony Milne.
Tynecastle FC: Billy Taylor, David Wright, Calum Cowan, Matthew Quinn, Craig Russell, Greg Binnie, Jamie Purves, Jason Kerr, Cameron Jeffrey, Kyle Mitchell, Matthew Graham, Euan Graham, Mark Shiells, Lewis Murray, Tyler Connachan, Jamie Hamilton.