Kieran's double helps Hutchie to Under-15 Cup

Three goals in the first half helped Hutchison Vale to an impressive victory against their North Merchiston counterparts in the final of the South East Region under-15 John McConnell Cup.

A double from Kieran Thrall and a strike from Connor Welsh put Vale three in front, before Jake McDonald added a second-half consolation for Merchiston.

It was North Merchiston who started brighter, almost opening the scoring on a number of occasions within the first ten minutes. Former Hutchie player Nick Mortimer rose to power in a header from point-blank range but Vale's Jack Roden was on hand to tip the ball expertly over the crossbar.

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Next up for Merchi, Ben Robbins steered in a shot from the edge of the box which took a deflection before falling to Mortimer again, who skewed his shot wide from six yards out.

After a shaky start Hutchie began to settle into their game and should have opened the scoring when Jordan Combe rounded the keeper and clipped towards goal, but the ball was cleared off the line after the ball bobbled before the midfielder could firmly connect with his shot. Vale's passing began to click and would eventually pay off as Scott Mackenzie played in a teasing cross for Connor Welsh to beat the offside trap and rocket a header into the bottom corner of Roden's net for the first goal of the game.

Vale then wasted no time in doubling their lead when the impressive Thrall beat the offside trap and slotted the ball underneath Roden.

It was to be Thrall's day again when Combe played the striker in to tap in from close range, the forward deemed to be in an offside position as Merchiston called for the goal to be chalked off.

After the break, Merchiston looked to get on the score sheet when Hamish Law fired his shot wide from the edge of the penalty box, with Roden beaten at his near post.

North Merchiston did get their goal, however, when Jake Macdonald's disputed shot was ajudged to have crossed the line and provided some hope for the black and whites. And it was almost 3-2 when Welsh nearly turned into his own net after a dangerous Merchiston corner.

It was the resilient Hutchie who almost put the result beyond doubt when Scott Mackenzie had the ball in the net, however the goal was deemed offside.

The final chance of the game went to Merchiston's Nathan Evans, who powered a looping header onto the cross bar and out of play.

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Hutchie manager James Colm felt his side were worthy winners of the John McConnell trophy and praised his side's work rate in winning the tournament.

"It was a great first-half performance. We played really well and worked hard. Our work ethic was great overall."

North Merchiston secretary Donald MacDonald felt his side were unlucky not to influence the game more in the second half and felt his team could have opened the tie up if they had taken their chances after the interval.

"I felt we played very well," said MacDonald. "We're a bit disappointed in some of the chances we created in the second half that didn't go in. Well done to Hutchie though, they played well."

Hutchison Vale: Jack Roden, Scott McDougall, Darren McCowatt, David Scobie, Dylan Moore, Connor Dalziel, Scott Mackenzie, Sean Elliott, Jordan Combe, Connor Welsh, Kieran Thrall, Alex Imlach, Darren McGrath, Fraser Murray.

North Merchiston: Darren Mitchell, Christopher Suttie, Peter Elliott, Nick Mortimer, Calum Windram, Anton Dowds, Calum Young, Joe Law, Callum Baptie, Jake MacDonald, Adam Hastings, Nathan Evans, Greig Brown, Ben Robbins, Ben Brigain, Hamish Law, Euan Goodall.