Leith Athletic v Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale

3pm  15 February 2014

South of Scotland Region Challenge Cup, Third Round
Leith Athletic 3 Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale 3 aet, 5-6 on penalties (att 69)

Edinburgh might seem an eccentric destination in the middle of a weekend break in Newcastle, but the awful weather in the north east meant finding a game was going to be a challenge, and the better weather further north also ensured a more pleasant afternoon around city centre shops for my other half.

It proved to a be a rather longer shopping expedition than either of us had bargained for, as an unexpected late comeback by Leith Athletic, from being two goals down, meant extra time and, ultimately, a penalty shootout that went to sudden death. The tie didn't finish until approaching 6pm.

Lothian Thistle had actually been drawn at home in the cup tie, but agreed to switch it to Leith's 3G surface as their own pitch was unlikely to be playable.

They looked to be coasting after a goal in each half put them 2-0 ahead, and it seemed just a matter of time before they took one of their many chances to score a third. But some slack defending, and a deflected free kick, gave Leith two goals in quick succession to draw level.

Both teams had chances in a exciting finale to the 90 minutes, with Leith's keeper making some great saves to keep his side's hopes alive.

But it was the home side who gained the momentum into extra time, scoring early to go ahead for the first time. The lead was short-lived though, after being reduced to 10 men for a second booking, Leith conceded a third goal.

No more goals in the second period of extra time, and so it went to penalties. Leith's impressive keeper pulled off a fine save to keep out Lothian's first spot kick, and the home side kept the advantage until their 5th penalty, which was saved. It went to sudden death, and a poor Leith effort was easily saved by the Lothian keeper, who then stepped up himself to score the winner.

Leith have fairly recently moved into the 3G pitch at the Meadowbank Stadium complex. There are plenty of club signs around the place, which give it the feel of a proper home ground rather than just a hired facility.

There's a spacious area inside the cage for spectators, although it only runs for about three-quarters of the near touchline. An elevated, but distant view, is possible from a balcony overlooking the pitch from the Meadowbank sports centre buildings.

Leith Athletic FC in a larger map

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