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Derek Hall’s double at the weekend on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd November

todayNovember 26, 2020


At the weekend our reporter from the sports team, Derek hall attended 2 local football matches, the first on Saturday. Here is Derek’s report on the game between Newtongrange Star v Musselburgh Athletic

A fixture which produced seven goals and an amazing comeback a few weeks back meant this return match was eagerly anticipated and the finish here certainly had a sting in the tail. The opening exchanges were very cagey with play generally confined to midfield as the sides tested each other out. Finally after seven minutes, McIntosh got to the goal line for the home side but Whyte made a good block for the concession of a corner which came to nothing. On 10 minutes, Gillan suffered a knock and after some treatment, was unable to continue and the home side had to make the enforced change with Conlon coming on. It was a quarter of an hour before a long ball through had Evans interested but Star were able to tidy up at the back. On eighteen minutes, B. Donaldson was penalised for jumping on the back of his opponent and a discussion between himself and the referee unsurprisingly didn’t find the decision being altered. On nineteen minutes, Myles pulled a 30 yard drive well wide and the game so far had been really disappointing as these two decent teams were simply cancelling each other out. Orru did well to hold off Mitchell on the edge of the Athletic box just before Star then suffered a further injury blow on 21 minutes when Tait had to depart with what looked like a hamstring injury and was replaced by Nelson, returning after a three game suspension. After 24 minutes Brennan mishandled a corner and when the second corner came over, B. Donaldson glanced a header just over the bar and his reaction suggested he felt he should have done better. Two minutes later, the ball dropped for Mitchell in the Athletic box but the contact was poor and McGurk saved easily.
After 27 minutes, Evans thought he had won a foul in midfield but an offside flag saw the decision go against him. On the half hour, the same player drove into the Star penalty area but was forced wide and when he crossed towards the back post, Whyte was unable to keep the ball in. A minute later, Whyte attacked down the inside left channel despite pressure from Nelson but the final effort was pulled across the face of the goals from about sixteen yards. On 32 minutes, O’Kane played the ball wide to C. Donaldson who curled a superb cross right onto the six yard line with pace, leaving home keeper Brennan unable to come for the ball, and Thomson threw himself full length and only missed by a couple of inches the touch which would surely have seen the visitors edge ahead. Two minutes later, McIntosh won a free kick from C. Donaldson and Nelson’s free kick found the head of Glendinning but the header from the Star forward looped up and over. McIntosh and Mungall then combined nicely to play in Mitchell but visiting keeper McGurk was sharply off his line to make the block although the offside flag was up anyway. On 37 minutes, Star’s best chance came from a corner as Murray’s set piece saw Ferguson get across his man at the near post and his flashing header flew just over the junction of post and bar. Five minutes from the break another foul from C. Donaldson saw Star almost profit from a piece of smart thinking by Nelson, whose quick free kick found O’Reilly and he controlled the ball before turning and hooking the drive over the bar from around nine yards. On 42 minutes, Musselburgh responded as a Ferguson defensive header dropped for Evans whose effort was blocked for a corner and when the kick was played in, Evans was there again to steer a header wide of the Star right hand post from inside the six yard box and a breakthrough was proving elusive for both sides. With 44 minutes gone, C. Donaldson took down McIntosh on the left flank and received the games first yellow card for what was certainly not the Musselburgh full back’s first offence. Nelson’s free kick into the box was cleared out and when it dropped for Conlon, he was felled by O’Kane and the Musselburgh No 6 followed his team mate quickly into referee Addy’s book. Thomson took the free kick for the home side but his 25 yard effort curled over and at the break it was all square in a contest which had failed to hit any heights at all.
Musselburgh resumed with an obvious increase in tempo and three minutes in, the ball was fed in from the left flank and Jeffries smacked an effort from sixteen yards off the face of Brennan’s right hand post and when it was returned, Thomson’s drive was held solidly by Brennan. Two minutes later, a lovely turn on the edge of the Star penalty area saw Evans leave his man for dead but his attempted cross to the back post to pick out the unmarked Myles lacked strength and Brennan plucked the ball out of the air. After 56 minutes, the visitors made a double switch as Jeffries and Thomson were replaced by King and Downie. Conlon then tried to find McIntosh for the home side and a corner was won but cleared back out to Nelson whose follow up cross also saw the visiting defence hold firm. Another Nelson cross found the head of O’Reilly whose header down picked out Mitchell but his effort was blocked and ended up in keeper McGurk’s hands. A snap shot from King was blocked on the edge of the Star box before on 60 minutes, Conlon became Star’s first caution of the game for a foul on Whyte and O’Kane’s free kick was headed powerfully clear by McIntosh. A couple of minutes later, the yellow card tally was added to when Downie of Musselburgh was cautioned for pulling down Murray close to the right touchline and when Nelson drove the inswinging free kick right onto the penalty spot, Star captain Porteous was allowed to rise unchallenged and bullet home a powerful header low into the bottom corner past the unprotected McGurk who remained rooted to the spot, much like most of the visiting defence. Musselburgh responded immediately and only a tremendous block by Ferguson from an Evans cross cleared a dangerous situation but the task for Athletic was about to become even harder because in the 66th minute, they found themselves not only a goal down, but a man down as well. McIntosh played a pass wide on the left flank in front of the dugouts and with the ball away and the Star player already on his way down, C. Donaldson came in with a clumsy, late challenge with the Star no 10 and referee Addy had little choice but to bring out a second yellow and dismiss the Musselburgh full back for a really ill advised tackle.
Almost immediately, Musselburgh made a forward thinking change as Myles was replaced by Moffat but the next chance was for Star as McIntosh surged forward and from 30 yards smashed in a rising drive which was followed carefully by McGurk as it flew a couple of feet over the bar. With 73 minutes on the clock, the yellow card was out again, this time for Athletic’s Whyte who literally hauled McIntosh to the ground inside the centre circle for possibly the games most obvious caution so far and shortly afterwards goal scorer Porteous joined him following a tangle of legs in midfield which didn’t impress the referee. After 75 minutes, Whyte worked hard to get past Murray and fired a drive across the face of the Star goal, just before B. Donaldson of Athletic managed to get himself cautioned for dissent for voicing his displeasure at a decision. On 77 minutes, Conlon played Mitchell in on the break for Star and he worked the ball onto his left foot and fired in an eighteen yard drive which McGurk pushed up into the air and the ball just dropped wide of his left hand post. It was frantic now and Musselburgh were pressing hard despite being a man down and in the 86th minute, the equaliser finally arrived when Whyte worked his way along the face of the Star penalty area and his drive was parried into the air by keeper Brennan and Evans jumped with the keeper as the ball dropped at the near post with the striker getting the final touch to force the ball home and the goal was awarded, despite Star’s claims that the keeper had been impeded. The home side then made a double change as Bracks and Davies came on for O’Reilly and Porteous but Star hardly had time to recover from the equaliser when, with just over two minutes remaining, 10 man Musselburgh turned the game on its head as the outstanding Evans raced to the goal line down the right and his driven cross along the ground found its way through the Star goal area to the socially distanced Downie standing alone at the back post and he tapped the ball home from a couple of yards to break the hearts of the home side. Musselburgh immediately replaced Evans with McManus and the home sides last chance came and went two minutes into stoppage time as McGurk raced from his penalty area to blast the ball clear from the onrushing Davies. In the end, the visitors gain revenge for Star’s comeback victory at Olivebank a few weeks ago with a come from behind victory of their own in dramatic fashion. A very drab first half was followed by an action packed second period as both teams gave it everything and despite the contrasting emotions at the conclusion of the match, both of these teams would appear to be very much heading in the right direction and each manager will not have to look too hard to pick out positives from a cracking second half.

Newtongrange Star 1-2 Musselburgh Athletic

The Second game Derek attended at the weekend was on Sunday between Edinburgh South and Blantyre Victoria. Here is Derek’s report on the game.

An absolutely magnificent SSC Cup tie as two fully committed sides threw caution to the wind and went at it full throttle for over two hours with the lead changing numerous times and in the end the visitors shaded a brilliant contest. Two minutes were on the clock as Hunter and Martin combined down the right flank but the final drive saw a decent save from visiting keeper Campbell. However a minute later, the keeper didn’t look so good as he dropped a cross right at the feet of Martin who wasted no time in stabbing home to put the home side into an early lead. A Vics free kick saw McGuinness feed Mackenzie and his pass to MacDonald was just overhit and went out for the goal kick. After nine minutes, a foul on MacDonald then saw a 25 yard free kick from MacKenzie blocked by the South wall and when it was played back in by MacKenzie, Blair’s effort was parried by home keeper Fisher but as G Campbell netted, the referee’s whistle stopped the game for offside. A minute later, Hunter was the games’ first caution for a cynical attempted trip on Millar as the Vics winger moved through midfield. MacKenzie was looking dangerous for the visitors and he laid a chance on for McGuinness whose shot on goal was blocked by Hunter. On the quarter hour we were all square as Millar got into the box and his twisting run tempted Tolmie into an ill advised tackle which resulted in an obvious spot kick and MacKenzie stepped up to smash the ball into the top corner and bring Vics level. Two minutes later a very poor clearance from home keeper Fisher landed at the feet of Zab and he was blatantly pulled down by Tolmie who was instantly cautioned by referee Strang, but the free kick from MacDonald was blazed well over. Fisher looked alert as he came off his line to dive at the feet of MacDonald before at the other end, a Lynch free kick into the Vics penalty area after a foul by Kerr on Ballantyne was headed down by Jamieson and his hooked effort was saved by Campbell as the referees whistle went for a high boot. On 27 minutes, Jamieson fed Martin who got to the goal line but his cut back eluded everyone and eventually ran on to Lynch whose drive went over the Vics crossbar.
A minute later, Hunter tried to find Jamieson just inside the Vics box but G. Campbell hammered clear after initial hesitation in the visiting defence. On the half hour, a foul by Hunter on MacKenzie saw the Vics player put a free kick into the area and when the clearance dropped to McGunness, his right foot drive flew wide, before Zab then also fired high and wide for the visitors from distance. After 34 minutes, a long through ball from Tolmie had Jamieson and Martin both interested as they chased it down but Vics keeper Fisher was smartly off his line to clear the danger just outside his penalty area. Two minutes later Millar got to the goal line for Vics but a good challenge from Lynch conceded the corner and when Millar swung the kick in, South keeper Fisher excelled himself by somehow blocking a close range header from MacDonald virtually under the crossbar. MacKenzies corner was cleared to Blair whose fizzing right foot drive from 25 yards was carefully watched by Fisher as it went wide on the first bounce. Vics were on top as half time approached and a lovely through ball found Zab rounding keeper Fisher who pulled him down as he dived at his feet and a second spot kick was awarded to the visitors. After a melee on the edge of the penalty area resulted in cautions for Ballantyne of South and Vics’ McGuinness, MacKenzie stepped up for a second time to drive the ball almost down the middle past keeper Fisher who got a hand to it but couldn’t keep it out. The break arrived with the visitors holding a slender advantage but this cup tie looked there to be won by either side.
Within the first minute, Campbell was out at the edge of his penalty area picking the ball off the toes of South’s Martin before Lynch then found the head of Ballantyne with a cross but Campbell handled the header confidently. On 50 minutes, a McGuinness pass saw Zab flick the ball on to MacDonald but home keeper Fisher slid out to clutch the ball just as the whistle sounded for offside. Jamieson then had a half chance for South but G. Campbell did well to get the ball out for a corner as he went to ground and when the kick came over, Ballantyne was inches away from making contact with the ball flashing right across the face of goal and wide. On 55 minutes, a Lynch drive was deflected wide as South went looking for the equaliser but on the counter attack from the corner, Millar fed the ball wide to MacDonald and when the cutback arrived at the edge of the penalty area, Millar had run the length of the field to get to the ball and only a touch from Lynch took the ball off his toe about 15 yards out. However on 58 minutes, the home side had a real let off as Zab worked the ball to MacKenzie and his left footed drive on the angle from 15 yards crashed off the South crossbar with keeper Fisher a spectator. It was end to end now and at other end a South corner found the head of Tolmie but the ball drifted well wide. However South were not to be denied and on 61 minutes, Martin set up Jamieson whose fierce drive was brilliantly saved by the diving Campbell but Martin was first to react to the loose ball and drove home along the ground from around ten yards. A minute later Millar charged down a clearance by Tolmie about 15 yards outside the South penalty area and as the two players both hit the deck, it looked like Tolmie had pulled the shirt of the Vics striker but the referee looked to be unsighted and contented himself with just a free kick to the visitors which came to nothing. On 64 minutes, the game took another twist as Jamieson slid the ball through to the edge of the Vics penalty area and South’s Martin along with Vics Kerr and keeper Campbell got to the ball simultaneously and it was Martin who was up from the ground first to fire the ball home left footed from about sixteen yards to put South ahead and claim his hat trick. At this point Vics made two changes with MacDonald and McGuinness departing and Eales and Cunningham coming on.
After 69 minutes, Millar made space on the edge of the South box but then chose not to shoot before MacKenzie did get a shot away but it was deflected behind. On 71 minutes South brought on Muire shortly before Martin went down under a challenge in the Vics box but referee Strang wasn’t interested in the home sides claims for a penalty. South had the next sight of goal as Jamieson slid the ball through to Ballantyne and his shot on the turn was parried to safety by Vics keeper Campbell. On 76 minutes, Vics brought on fresh legs in the shape of Archer just before Vics Cunningham was cautioned after catching keeper Fisher who had dived at his feet around the penalty spot. Millar then had a shot blocked behind by Hunter as Vics began to exert real pressure looking for a late equaliser but they had an amazing let off on 83 minutes when a pass back from G. Campbell to his keeper saw the ball hit a bobble around 10 yards out and trundle only inches wide of the base of the Vics post, keeper Campbell being the most relieved man on the park. Vics then had a series of corner kicks which were repelled by a resolute South defence until the 87th minute when from the fifth corner in three minutes, Millar played the kick short to Eales and his near post cross was glanced home with a flicked header by Zab at the near post to tie things up at 3-3. A minute later, Cunningham fired a 30 yard left foot drive wide and Vics now had all the momentum as we neared full time. The visitors went even closer on 89 minutes as a lovely through ball saw MacKenzie move into the South box looking for his hat trick and only a tremendous block from keeper Fisher as he came off his line denied him, but the ball rebounded to the Vics front man and his follow up effort this time did beat the keeper but not Tolmie who hacked the ball away off the goal line. Almost on 90 minutes, MacKenzie played in Zab who found Archer and he chose to shoot on the angle with Cunningham waiting on his own at the back post for what would have been a tap in. Another corner for Vics saw Zab slice a shot into the air and with South claiming offside, G. Campbell tried an over head kick which just went over. In the sixth minute of stoppage time, Law of Vics was cautioned for a cynical trip inside the centre circle and that proved to be the final action of regulation time and extra time now awaited the two teams.
Two minutes into extra time, Vics found themselves in front with the simplest of goals and it came from a corner as G. Campbell rose almost unchallenged on the six yard line to power a header past the helpless home keeper. On 95 minutes, Eales found MacKenzie but the effort on his weaker right foot was always going over. On 97 minutes, Young of South became the next caution for a foul wide right and when the free kick was whipped into the South box, the free kick missed everyone in the box when any touch would surely have found the net. After South had seen one header slip narrowly wide, the equaliser finally arrived a minute from the break as Young bulleted home a header from a cross from around eight yards to level things up for the fourth time in the match. One minute into the second period of extra time, Martin was in for his fourth goal but he was denied by a brilliant save from keeper Campbell who dived low to his left to block the ball and then hold it at the second attempt. Three minutes later, it was the same scenario as Martin raced into the Vics box and tried to place his effort into the far corner but he was again denied by another superb diving save from Campbell. However after 111 minutes, it was Vics who hit the front once more as the ball from out wide was played in by Millar and Cunningham got away from his marker to deftly flick the ball home at the near post with the outside of his right boot for the ninth goal of an amazing cup tie. A corner with four minutes left for South offered some hope but desperation on the part of Young saw him attempt to punch the cross home and led to a second yellow for him from referee Strang, a disappointing way for the game to end for one of South’s best players on the day. Vics Millar had a shot blocked by Lynch on the edge of the home penalty area and a fantastic cup tie drew to a close. Both teams have to be commended for a quite outstanding game of football and Vics will breathe a huge sigh of relief tonight as they head home with their place secured in the next round. Edinburgh South will be disappointed with the final
outcome, but certainly not with their showing in their first cup tie at this level and performances like this can only bode well for the club as they approach the important league fixtures coming up.

Edinburgh South 4-5 aet Blantyre Victoria

Written by: Russell Aitken

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