Out of all the venues of this year’s Lowland League hop, Edinburgh City probably had the most interesting ground. They play at Meadowbank Stadium. The stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in the eastern suburbs of Edinburgh which is known for hosting the 1970 and 1986 Commonwealth Games.Don Quarrie won the 100m and 200m for Jamaica in 1970 and in 1986, Ben Johnson won the 100m in a time of 10.07. It is a very historic stadium and now home to Edinburgh City. The table suggests that Edinburgh City are the best side in the Lowland League and I believe they are. They could easily fit into the Scottish Football League and their ground of Meadowbank is certainly up to the necessary standards. When I watched them for the first time, they visited Vale of Leithen in their first game of the 2014-2015 Lowland League. They looked very good and won 3-0. And from then on there was no stopping them until they visited Dalbeattie Star on the groundhop weekend and with the title already won, they took it a bit easier and lost 1-0. Their opponents today were East Kilbride. The only time I’ve watched East Kilbride in person was in the historic groundhop game last season. They opened the groundhop making history with it being the first ever groundhop game on Scottish soil. The crowd was only 8 shy of capacity but the game was not a memorable one. In fact, I do remember it for being rather boring. I thought it had a 0-0 written all over it but a decent strike in the end gave East Kilbride a 1-0 win over Whitehill Welfare. This was the fourth game of Saturday. Four games in a day (even at 18-year-old) are pretty tiring! I do think three on the Saturday and two on the Sunday would have been better but at least now I can say I’ve done four games in a day. This game today saw 4th come up against 1st. These two sides met only a couple of weeks ago in a cup competition and an extra-time strike was all that separated the sides after a 0-0 draw. I did watch East Kilbride on television not so long back. I remember being at a game somewhere a while back and checking Twitter to find a tweet sent only seconds ago saying “Scottish Cup Draw – East Kilbride / Lothian Thistle Hutchinson Vale vs Celtic. I knew that it would be a huge game but I immediately thought that East Kilbride couldn’t host that game at K-Park as their capacity is 500! East Kilbride beat Hutchinson Vale in front of a sell-out crowd and their game vs Celtic was switched to the Excelsior Stadium. The game was shown live on BBC ALBA and East Kilbride put in a fine performance in front of 7,767 despite going down two-nil to the giants of Scottish football.
Edinburgh City were founded in 1928. The club aimed to become the Edinburgh equivalent of the Glasgow club Queen’s Park, and joined the Scottish Football League as an amateur club in 1931. The club was very unsuccessful in the league, as on average they won fewer than one game in six. This record led to the club finishing bottom of the league table in six of the eight seasons between 1931 and 1939. It also conceded more than 110 goals in seven of those seasons.They achieved a famous Scottish Cup upset victory, however, when they defeated Hibernian 3–2 at Easter Road in the first round of the 1937–1938 competition.Hibernians’ player Arthur Milne missed a penalty kick with five minutes left to play. In the next round, Edinburgh City lost 9–2 at Raith Rovers on 9 February 1938. The club played in the Lothian Amateur League during the Second World War and were only admitted to the C Division in 1946. After three more years of struggle, the club left the Scottish Football League in 1949. It switched to junior status and played in the Edinburgh & District Junior League. The club ceased activity completely in 1955, when the local council refused to renew its lease on its home ground, City Park. A club called Postal United was founded in 1966. The Edinburgh City Football Club Ltd (Social Club), which had continued trading throughout the abeyance of the football club, gave their approval in 1986 for Postal United to use the Edinburgh City name. The club has regularly participated in the Scottish Cup since the mid-1990s, when it became a full member of the Scottish Football Association. In the 1997–1998 Scottish Cup they defeated SFL club, East Stirlingshire, before losing 7–2 to Dunfermline Athletic, then of the Premier Division. The club applied to join the Scottish Football League in 2002 but Gretna won the vote instead. Following Gretna’s liquidation in 2008, Edinburgh City again applied, but this time lost out to Annan Athletic. The club won the East of Scotland Football League Premier Division title for the first time in the 2005-2006 season. Edinburgh City were inaugural members of the Scottish Lowland League and finished fifth in their first season. Last season there won the league with 69 points from 26 games, 19 points ahead of second place Spartans. Before today, Edinburgh City sat top of the league with 57 points from 22 games while East Kilbride were fourth with 36 points from 22 games.
Fireworks could be seen and heard in the background as the two sides lined up to shake hands and when the game got underway, it was East Kilbride who created the first chance as Liam Gormley won a free-kick around 25 yards from goal. His team-mate stepped up but coud only fire an effort into the wall. With four minutes played, Edinburgh’s Mark McConnell laid the ball off for Ian McFarland and he found space but could only fire narrowly wide. As both sides settled into the 20:00 kick-off, East Kilbride won a corner with 7 and a half minutes played but it was well caught by Andrew Stobie. In the 11th minute, Liam Gormley –wearing the blue and yellow of East Kilbride – laid the ball off for Bernard Coll and his powerful drive was destined for the top corner until a fine save from Andrew Stobie diverted it over the crossbar. The resulting corner came to nothing. Moments later, Craig Hastings found space but could only drag wide. Just before the quarter of an hour mark, an East Kilbride free-kick was fired into the wall and Edinburgh City quickly broke. The ball eventually found Mark McConnell who teed up Ian McFarland and he fired over the crossbar. A minute after the quarter of an hour mark, Edinburgh’s Aaron Dunsmore whipped a good cross into the penalty area to find a team-mate but a header was too high. Following a slight quiet period, Edinburgh’s John Dunn looked to be in on goal but just as he was able to shoot, the assistant referee on the dugout side signaled for offside. The game was into the 23rd minute when East Kilbride broke the deadlock. Ross McKinnon whipped a wide free-kick which looked to beat everyone and nestled into the far corner. It was later confirmed that Craig Hastings had got the slightest of touches and the goal was his.
Edinburgh City 0-1 East Kilbride
A couple of minutes later, the referee was forced to get his notepad out following a poor challenge from Edinburgh’s Chris McKee but soon after, he was substituted off to be replaced by Ross Guthrie. Seconds after the substitution, Edinburgh City won a corner. It was whipped into the penalty area and found Ross Guthrie and is his touch of the game saw him control the ball and his second touch was a shot which was well saved by Matthew McGinley. On the half hour, a wide free-kick for the hosts was whipped into the penalty area to find Ian McFarland who had climbed well but could only head wide. A minute later, the side from the largest town in South Lanarkshire won a wide free-kick but once lifted into the penalty area but Joe Mbu headed clear. With eleven minutes of the first half left, a long ball from Edinburgh City and a lucky bounce played Mark McConnell in. McConnell looked up and sent a low drive but Matthew McGinley did well to get down quickly and save. He conceded a corner in the process but once the corner was swung into the penalty area East Kilbride cleared. The hosts aren’t used to being behind and at this point, they were looking for a way back into the game. Six and a half minutes before half-time, the Citizens worked the ball out to Aaron Dunsmore but the man on loan from Hibernian could only fire over. Inside the final five minutes of the opening period, East Kilbride’s Gavin Millar looked to get a cross into the penalty area as Liam Gormley was shouting for a cross but it was well blocked and cleared by an Edinburgh man. With the first halves final chance, an Edinburgh City corner was whipped into the penalty area and the ‘keeper came out flapping only to miss. It bounced about inside the penalty area but luckily for the away side, they eventually managed to hack clear. With 46 minutes and 10 seconds played, the referee blew for half-time and East Kilbride went into the break with a surprise lead.
Half-time: Edinburgh City 0-1 East Kilbride
Only a minute into the second period, East Kilbride’s Ross McKinnon was booked and it took a while for the first piece of noticeable chance. Inside 54 minutes, a long Edinburgh ball was superbly brought down by Ross Guthrie and he beat the one defender who was in his ay but his shot lacked power and was more or less a pass to the ‘keeper. Ten minutes into the second half, Joe Mbu went in the book for the home side and from the resulting free-kick, the ball almost fell to Ross Smith in the penalty area but a crucial tackle took the ball from him. As the game approached the hour mark, both Ross McKinnon and Scott Stevenson had shots for the visitors which were blocked and with 58 minutes and 40 seconds played, the crossbar came to the saviour of East Kilbride. Dougie Gair collected possession and sent a powerful drive which crashed against the crossbar and came back out only to be cleared. An Edinburgh man was played in the 62nd minute but was ruled offside and at this point, Edinburgh City were building quite a bit of pressure for an equaliser. Great play from the Citzens played the ball to John McDonald in the 64th minute but he fired narrowly over and a minute or two later, an Edinburgh corner came to nothing. In the 67th minute, Edinburgh City pulled level. A corner came into the penalty area to find Frazer Paterson in a cluster of players and he was able to direct a header towards goal and into the net.
Edinburgh City 1-1 East Kilbride
With twenty minutes left, with everything to play for, an East Kilbride corner came to nothing while at the other end, John McDonald fired a long-range effort narrowly wide. Another corner, this time for the hosts, fell to Ross Guthrie in the 73rd minute but he could only poke wide and following a five minute or so quiet period, quick play from Edinburgh City saw them play the ball into the penalty area to find Ross Smith but he was quickly closed down and his shot was blocked. In the 81st minute, an East Kilbride free-kick was laid off to a team-mate who fired not too far over the bar and moments later, Gavin Millar went in the book for a late challenge. Moments after being booked, Gavin Millar whipped a superb ball into the penalty area to find Craig Howie but his header was turned behind for a corner. The resulting corner found Craig Howie again but his header was caught by Andrew Stobie. A quick one-two from the visitors played Liam Gormley in but his effort was well saved by Andrew Stobie and in the final few minutes, if a goal was to be scored, it looked quite likely to be the visitors. In the final minute of normal time, an East Kilbride corner dropped inside the penalty area but Edinburgh hacked clear and with the game’s final chance, Ross Guthrie was almost played in but the ‘keeper was quickly off his line to clear. With 92 minutes played, the referee called for time to end a close hard-fought encounter and East Kilbride went home with a very good point.
Ful-time: Edinburgh City 1-1 East Kilbride
Next up for me at the time of writing is Ryhope CW vs Easington Colliery tonight.
Edinburgh City Team: Stobie, MacDonald, Donaldson, McKee, Mbu, Paterson, Dunsmore, McFarland, Gair, Dunn, McConnell
Edinburgh City Subs: Carse, Guthrie (On for Chris McKee, 32 minutes), Vanson, Harrison, Muhsin, Allum (On for Dougie Gair, 78 minutes), Amos
East Kilbride Team: McGinley, O’Kane, Coll, Stevenson, Howie, Winter, Hastings, McBride, Gormley, McKinnon, Millar
East Kilbride Subs: Smith (On for Martin McBride, 46 minutes), McCulloch, McKechme, Kean
Admission: Groundhop ticket
Programme: Groundhop ticket
Referee: Peter Stuart