The Saughton-based side looked destined for defeat at the interval after Loanhead had rocketed into a 3-1 lead, but manager Simon Kinghorn’s decision to bring on Kyle Mitchell at the start of the second-half proved a shrewd move as the little striker grabbed a hat-trick to turn the match in Tynecastle’s favour. Kinghorn admitted he was incensed by the performance from his side in the opening 40 minutes and made his feelings known to his players during the break. He said: “The problem was we scored too early and the boys thought the game was won. We gave away some stupid goals to go 3-1 down so they got a rollicking at half time as they needed to be told. We scored within two minutes of the restart and that gave us the platform we needed.”
The match burst into life from as early as the second minute when the Loanhead defence was caught off-guard and Tyler Connachan broke free to lift the ball over the advancing Ben MacKenzie in the Loanhead goal. However, conceding an early goal acted as a wake-up call for the Midlothian-based side as they were level only a few minutes later, and it was Tony Milne who rattled the ball into the back of the net.
Both sides continued to attack with the ball at either end on several occasions. It was Loanhead, however, who notched the third goal within a 15 minute spell. A searching ball down the right from Cameron McNab found Connor Lawrie, who did well to keep the ball in play, and he set up Greg Kerr who had discovered space in the box to knock the ball beyond Billy Taylor into the bottom corner.
Tynecastle almost responded immediately in this gruelling encounter through a Connachan header but MacKenzie stood firm to tip the ball over the bar.
Five minutes later, Loanhead added a third through Darren McCraw. The little striker won the race to the ball ahead of Taylor after a long ball over the Tynecastle defence and with the goalkeeper out his area, McCraw had enough time to pick his spot and knock the ball into the net from a tight angle.
Connachan then had a chance to reduce the deficit just before half time but he fired straight at MacKenzie after a great run from defender Craig Russell had created the opportunity. The second-half began just as the first had done with a goal within two minutes of referee William MacKenzie’s whistle.
Cameron Jeffrey showed great control to create a clear view of the Loanhead goal and from just inside the box, he delivered a well-placed shot which found the bottom corner to pull it back to 3-2. Lawrie then had a great chance to add a fourth but the pressure of two defenders proved telling as he fired over the bar. The game was then all square when Mitchell got on the end of a corner with the ball appearing to take an eternity to cross the line as the Tynecastle players celebrated.
Mitchell then became the star of the great escape when putting Tynecastle 4-3 in front with a superb strike as he controlled the ball before curling a shot into the far corner of the net via the inside of the post.
Ruairidh Crawford then shot over as a desperate Loanhead side went in search of a fourth but it was Tynecastle who added to their tally when man-of-the-match Mitchell completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot after a foul on Jamie Hamilton. Loanhead coach Peter Kay was left unhappy with the decision to award Tynecastle a penalty at a crucial stage in the match with his side chasing a late equaliser at 4-3 down.
Kay said: “I’m disappointed to lose and felt it was a shocking decision from the referee to give a penalty. I don’t know if would have made a difference or not but we were still fighting for the equaliser.”
Loanhead Miners Youth: Ben MacKenzie, Fraser Shearer, Liam Taylor, Jack Fairgrieve, Blair Paterson, Scott Fairgrieve, Greg Kerr, Cameron McNab, Darren McGraw, Ruairidh Crawford, Rudi Glynn, Isaac Thomson, Harry McGill, Connor Lawrie, Dean McCafferty, Tony Milne, Ryan Porteous.
Tynecastle: Billy Taylor, David Wright, Callum Cowan, Matthew Quinn, Craig Russell, Greg Binnie, Mark Shiells, Jason Kerr, Cameron Jeffrey, Tyler Connachan, Lewis Murray, Euan Graham, Jaimie Purves, Matthew Graham, Kyle Mitchell, Jamie Hamilton.