Haddington Athletic 4

Edinburgh United 3

HAVING had to endure two sore derby defeats at Tranent on consecutive Saturdays, the Hi Hi were back at Millfield for the first time in a month last Saturday for their delayed Alex Jack Cup second round tie against Edinburgh United.

Conditions were ideal as the teams lined up to contest a midweek trip to Hill Of Beath Hawthorn in the third round.

The Hi Hi were still missing four players through injury but welcomed back Brad Hainey and Declan Quinn on the substitutes’ bench after a few weeks’ absence while 16-year-old Guy McGarry started at left back.

An encouraging start for Joe Hamill’s men saw them take the lead in the fifth minute, top scorer Scott Moffat planting home a header from an Andy Jones corner for his first goal in a month.

The lead lasted barely three minutes however, as not for the first time recently Haddington conceded what looked a soft penalty award, the referee judging Gavin Brown guilty of fouling an opponent as they tussled for possession – Auriemma netted from the spot for United’s equaliser.

Play ebbed and flowed for a long spell after this, but the Hi Hi began to enjoy a good spell approaching the half hour mark and after a couple of decent goal efforts they regained the lead on 36 minutes when Jamie Chapman teed up Jones to fire home from the edge of the six-yard box.

Haddington held their lead until the break, but United had shown themselves capable opponents and no-one present entertained the notion the tie was anywhere close to being won.

Things looked positive for the Hi Hi when a Brown header extended their lead – that positivity, however was quickly extinguished as Hutchison was allowed the chance to net United’s second goal barely a minute later.

When another episode of unconvincing defensive play allowed McKinlay the equaliser midway through the half, the mood among Millfield regulars dipped, and when the referee awarded United another penalty 10 minutes from the end, they felt things were once more conspiring against their team.

But home keeper Sinky Inglis guessed the wrong way and fortune favoured Haddington as United substitute Hendry’s spot kick came back off the post.

Three minutes later teenage Berwick Rangers loan striker Grant Rose scored his first goal for the Hi Hi, which proved the winner, hammering the ball home from close range when Jones provided an inviting low ball in from the left.

Home skipper Shaun Hill had the chance to kill the tie with the afternoon’s third penalty kick on 87 minutes – the spot-kick awarded after sub Quinn was brought down, but he too hit the post.

Not long afterwards Hill spurned another chance to secure victory – in the end though it didn’t matter as his team held out for the victory which earned them the reward of a tough third round tie in Fife yesterday (Wednesday) evening.

Haddington now face a string of tough Conference B fixtures away from home, beginning this Saturday with a game against Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale in the capital and continuing with a midweek visit to Sauchie Juniors. Both should be challenging contests from which the Hi Hi will be glad to get any reward.

Tranent Juniors 2

Bo’ness United 3

TWO of the East Of Scotland League’s form teams clashed at Foresters Park on Saturday to contest a place in the semi finals of the Alex Jack Cup, the winner of which will earn the right to participate in next season’s Scottish Cup.

Tranent had won nine of their 10 fixtures, only coming unstuck when an unstoppable Bonnyrigg Rose thumped them 8-1, while visitors Bo’ness had seen an eight-game unbeaten run ended at East Kilbride a week earlier.

The first half was a tight affair – Bo’ness started brightly but Tranent were soon giving as good as they got and making the visitors work for their money.

Murphy in the Bo’ness goal had to look lively to keep out a well-struck Ben Miller free kick from just outside the box, and later in the half at the other end, Watt hit a Bo’ness free kick off the face of the crossbar.

As the first half wore on towards its conclusion Tranent ought perhaps to have been ahead before the interval but for some sterling defensive work from the Bo’ness rearguard. It remained goalless at the break, and the second half warmed up slowly before Tranent took a not undeserved lead in the 51st minute, Shaun Rutherford the goalscorer.

The lead lasted 12 minutes, with Bo’ness equalising when captain Donnelly rose highest to power home a header from a corner.

Bo’ness took a lift from their leveller and Haris Alysandratos in the Belters’ goal did well to prevent them taking the lead.

With the 90 minute mark approaching and thoughts turning towards a penalty shootout, Tranent grabbed their second goal when Jamie Devlin pounced. Cue much celebration among the home supporters – they could hardly have foreseen what was about to unfold.

Bo’ness responded immediately, with a deflected Morgan effort putting them back on level terms moments after they’d kicked off and less than two minutes later it was the travelling contingent who were celebrating wildly after skipper Donnelly had given them victory.

There was still time for the referee to brandish a red card at BUs’ centre half Hunter for an interaction with the crowd not to the official’s liking.

A shell-shocked Tranent found themselves out of the competition, meaning their only avenue for Scottish Cup participation next season is to obtain their SFA licence within the next six months.

Tranent look to make amends by picking up full points from two Conference B fixtures away from home this week.

They travel to Stirlingshire on Saturday to meet Dunipace; then on Wednesday evening the Belters travel to meet Tynecastle at Meggetland Stadium.