Five goals, two penalty kicks and two red cards were on offer at Meadowbank 3Gon Tuesday night as Leith Athletics East of Scotland 1st Team sent Stirling University from the Lowland League, crashing out of the Image Printers’ Cup, despite some late drama.
The home side never got started and it was the men from Stirling who bombarded the Leith goal from the off. The exceptional Chris Geddes and Jason Bolam were causing Leith all sorts of problems early on.
Stirling took a deserving lead in the 12th minute through Geddes when the striker picked the ball up from a headed clearance. Stirling’s top scorer chipped the ball up, controlled it on his thigh and sent a lopping effort beyond the outstretched hand of Iain Gordon.
Things went from bad to worse for Leith just ten minutes later when full-back and captain for the evening, Kenny Hall was dismissed from the action following a high and dangers tackle on Callum MacDonald.
Euan Campbell made way for substitute Jamie Lauder who slotted in at left back and once Athletic got themselves settled, they done well to retain possession against a hard-working and quick University side.
Chances were few and far between for the home side, with set pieces looking to be their best chance of getting back into the game. A corner from the left by Grant Burns on the half hour was met at the back post by Mark Leslie, but the defenders header struck the bar and then the post, before being cleared from danger.
A blistering start to the second half seen Leith back on level terms from the penalty spot in the 53rd minute. A short back pass from Oliver Monguel seen Keith Murray in on goal. Goalkeeper Tim Hughes hesitated and as Murray drove beyond him, the Leith striker was hauled down. Hughes was dismissed with Ben Birch taking over in goal, but his first job was to pick the ball from the back of the net as Murray equalised.
Thrown a lifeline, Leith grew in confidence and should have gone in front in the 62nd minute. Chris Barrie played the ball inside to Robbie Mason who drove forward before sliding the ball through to Murray. The striker beat his man, but stand-in keeper saved well to keep the scores all square.
From the resulting clearance, the ever dangerous Geddes beat the Leith offside trap, clipped the ball over the advancing Gordon and slid the ball into the empty net to make it 2-1 to the visitors.
The scores were back level again in the 70th minute. Murray picked the ball up wide and clipped a ball into the middle for Lewis Tracey. His back heel found Jamie Lauder who drove into the box and fired an effort into the bottom right hand corner.
With ten minutes remaining, Leith took the lead for the first time. Burns picked a pass into Lewis Martin whose deflected cross found Tracey at the back post and the winger headed home for his first goal of the season.
The action wasn’t done yet and with Leith holding on, Lauder upended Geddes in the box in the 92nd minute. Looking for his hat-trick, the striker picked himself up to take the spot kick, but his effort came crashing back off the crossbar.
There was no time for any further efforts on goal and Leith now progress to face either Civil Service Strollers or Heriot Watt in the quarter-final.