Vale christen new pitch in great style

Edinburgh's latest artificial sports pitch was unveiled at Meggetland to host its first competitive event and under-13 footballers Hutchison Vale opened their new base with an emphatic victory in the South East Region Cup.

Fledgling side Queensferry Thistle, who were formed from a talented collection of local ex-primary school players only in the summer, posted a spirited display led by goalkeeper James Gorrie, who was responsible for a host of outstanding blocks to deny Hutchie's hungry attackers. However, the visitors simply could not contain a Vale side superior in fitness, speed, and skill.

Hutchie's Murray Sutherland had the honour of scoring the first goal on the ground, nodding in a fifth-minute opener from a corner, but his team mates found Queensferry in stubborn mood early on. Gorrie, in particular, seemed determined to pull out all the stops to preserve the new goal nets, showing good reflexes to turn away Cameron Begbie's close-range strike soon after, then racing from his line to block at the feet of Ethan Feachan after Vale's David Lindsay had shown great vision to thread the ball through to his team mate.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

With increasing home pressure, the question begged was how long could a resilient Queensferry defence maintain their concentration to restrict their more illustrious opponents? The answer: A creditable 20 minutes after Hutchie's opener, as the hosts doubled their lead through Regan Hendry's impressive strike from outside the box.

Gorrie repelled efforts by Lindsay - dropping to his left to save a 15-yard shot - then Brandon Archibald, but was beaten by a Begbie header that made it 3-0.

Vale No. 9 Lindsay eventually got on the scoresheet, converting crosses from either wing - Lewis Swaney's centre from the left, then Sutherland's from the right - before half time to put his side five up.

After the break, Sutherland himself drew a brilliant save from Gorrie after Feachan's run and cross from the right, but Begbie was on hand to slot home the rebound. Then, Ryan Fox produced a mesmerising drag-back to evade the snapping legs of Queensferry's defenders only to see his shot cleared off the line, but Sam Birch was first to the loose ball and scored from close range.

Feachan picked his spot with aplomb from 15-yards out to send the ball into the top right-hand corner, then Gorrie uncharacteristically fumbled the ball to allow Sutherland to grab his second. Hendry sent his side's tally into double figures with a neat finish from an acute angle, then Fox completed a deserved hat-trick with a quickfire double.

As a thrilling finale, Gary Howie elicited a gasp from the crowd by belting a penalty into the net via the underside of the crossbar to consign Queensferry to a heavy defeat.

Tam Smith, the Hutchison Vale coach, was nevertheless complimentary of Thistle, who overcame a Spartans and North Berwick Colts to reach the third round of the regional tourney.

He said, "It's difficult for them in a game like that, but they've done well to get that far.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"There's not much we can do in those types of games, except I try to play players in different positions to expand their knowledge of the game. In games like that it's easy for boys to go on mazy runs, but they kept their discipline.

"There are different things you can learn in games like that - it's about respecting the opposition.

"The journey we're taking isn't just about one-off games, but about how they progress throughout the years."

Hutchison Vale: Cameron Milne, James Ahari, Sam Birch, Cameron Begbie, Brandon Archibald, Murray Sutherland, Aiden Quinn, David Lindsay, Ethan Feachen, Regan Hendry, Calum Paterson, Scott Christie, Gary Howie, Lewis Swaney, Ryan Fox.

Queensferry Thistle: James Gorrie, Lewis Beveridge, Darren Pearce, Jamie Brown, Conor Faherty, Fraser Marriott, Graeme Murray, Fraser Henn, Conor Burns, Alex McGlade, Taylor Doherty, Liam Nolan, Shaun Dalgarno, Jack Glen, David Boath, Charlie McLeod.