Thornton Hibs 6-3 Edinburgh United: Soutar nets treble in thrilling win

Despite being short-staffed - their subs' bench consisted entirely of players from their 20s team - Thornton Hibs experienced the Joy of Six at Memorial Park on Saturday with John Soutar claiming his first ever hat-trick in a green and white jersey as they saw off Edinburgh United 6-3.
Thornton Hibs players celebrate after sixth goal against Edinburgh UnitedThornton Hibs players celebrate after sixth goal against Edinburgh United
Thornton Hibs players celebrate after sixth goal against Edinburgh United

This nine-goal thriller proved to be a treat for the fans in attendance to see what was a truly dramatic encounter in the East of Scotland League second division.

Ironically on a day in which strikers showed their prowess in front of goal, it was Thornton defender Aman Johal who netted the opener in the fourth minute with an absolute screamer.

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But his joy at finding the net so quickly was short-lived as he took a real sore one a few minutes later and had to be replaced by Daniel Meldrum.

And it was Meldrum who provided the cross in the 31st minute which Chris Ireland headed back across goal that allowed Soutar to score from close range to make it 2-0 for the jubilant home team.

Barely sixty seconds later Soutar shot low past Jamie Henderson to give Thornton a healthy three-goal cushion before - deep into first-half added time - Ross Nicholson's 22-yard drive reduced the visitors’ deficit to two goals.

But just four minutes into the second-half Jamie McNeish's header restored Thornton's three goal advantage when he put Hibs 4-1 in front.

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Only two more minutes had elapsed when Finlay Tough's well taken volley pulled a goal back for Edinburgh United when he made it 4-2.

Any thoughts of a comeback were hit on the head less than 30 seconds after this as Soutar beat the offside trap – the visitors thought differently – to slide home his third and Thornton's fifth.

McNeish then bagged his second goal of the game in the 76th minute to make it 6-2 for the home team before the visitors' Nathan Johnson wrapped up the scoring seven minutes from the end when he converted Tom Gill's low cross at the back post.

The Station Hotel/Copland Glazing Hibs' Man of the Match was unsurprisingly named as hat-trick hero John Soutar.

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Thornton Hibs: Sutherland, Johal, Robertson, S.Drummond, Laird, Adam, McNeish, Coleman, Ireland, Soutar, McMillan. Subs: Dyce, Nicholson, Daniel Meldrum, Beard, Darren Meldrum.

Edinburgh United: J.Henderson, C.Henderson, Crozier, Gill, Lamont, Kay, Tough, Paterson, Peters, McKintosh, Nicholson. Subs: Whyte, McLellan, McKinley, Flynn, Hay, Johnson.

Referee: Mr R.Donaldson

The six-goal demolition of Edinburgh United means that Thornton Hibs are now third in the 18-team table with 14 points from seven games, behind only leaders Dalkeith Thistle (16 points from six matches) and second-placed Syngenta (15 points from six fixtures).

But Thornton won’t get the chance to improve their league points tally this Saturday as they will instead visit Camelon Juniors in the Challenge Cup second round with kick-off at 2.30pm. Hibs then visit Crossgates Primrose in the Alex Jack Cup third round the next Saturday.