Top listeners:

skip_previous skip_next
00:00 00:00
playlist_play chevron_left
  • cover play_arrow

    Black Diamond FM Listen Live


Derek Hall’s report 16th July Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale v Musselburgh Athletic

todayJuly 17, 2021


Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale 2-2 Musselburgh Athletic
A glorious summer evening at Ainslie Park saw the return of competitive EOS football as the hosts entertained their visitors from East Lothian, and the healthy crowd in attendance were most certainly well entertained. Within a minute, Daniel released Deland down the Vale left flank but his cross was deflected into the arms of visiting keeper McRae before at the other end, a McManus foul on Smith saw Murray smack his 24 yard free kick off the Musselburgh defensive wall. When the corner came over, Lally was lurking at the back post and his goal bound effort was somehow scrambled off the line and behind for another Vale corner and the ball was cleared out to Deland who put his 20 yarder over the bar. Athletic moved to the other end and an O’Kane free kick towards the Vale back post only just failed to find the head of Reid. However with around six minutes on the clock, the first goal of the new season proved to be a serious contender for goal of the season as Viola did the spadework down the left and when the ball was laid back to Smith, he didn’t even break stride as he thundered a tremendous left foot drive from fully 30 yards high into the roof of the net right in the top corner past the fingertips of the diving McRae, a quite sensational hit. The visitors were almost level in their next attack as McManus got free at the back from a corner to head for goal and this time it was the Vale defence somehow scrambling the ball off the line to safety and already this game was going end to end. On eleven minutes, a lovely clipped cross from Cameron picked out Ballantyne whose first touch to pull the ball down was excellent but a heavy second touch allowed home keeper Stewart to grab the ball. Doherty then released Viola down the right flank for Vale but with men waiting in the middle, a disappointing cross only found keeper McRae. After 18 minutes, Cumming released Deland to the Musselburgh goal line and his pull back saw Murray with an unchallenged ten yard header which looped over. Musselburgh moved upfield and a lovely diagonal pass picked out Evans at the edge of the box and he cut beautifully across the ball with his first time right foot drive which only just swung away from goal at the last second high into the side netting. A 20 yard right foot drive from Cumming tested visiting keeper McRae but then in the 23rd minute the visitors were level as O’Kane rose unchallenged to head home from a corner from around seven yards, a simple finish nicely executed. A minute later the visitors were almost ahead as Ballantyne worked really hard to retrieve what looked like a lost cause before wriggling his way along the Vale goal line and keeper Stewart had to be alert at his near post to make the block. In the 25th minute, scorer O’Kane became the games first caution after taking down Viola near the junction of touchline and halfway line between the two dugouts before home keeper Stewart was quickly out at the edge of his box to clear from the lively Evans and soon after Viola of Vale also found himself in referee Wilson’s book for a mistimed midfield challenge. However on 29 minutes, Musselburgh turned the game on its head as hesitant defending once more from Vale at a corner kick saw the ball allowed to bounce in the six yard area and Ballantyne couldn’t believe his luck as he forced the ball home from around four yards to put the visitors in front. However this fascinating game threw up another twist right on the half hour as O’Kane was then sent packing for a second caution as he caught Doherty with a heavy challenge and the Vale player could not continue and was replaced by Signorini. The game calmed down a little after that as both teams regrouped but Daniel unleashed a fierce drive which B Donaldson threw his body in the way to block before the Musselburgh captain McManus was then warned by the referee for disputing the award of a corner to Vale. So halftime in an action packed first period saw the visitors come from behind to lead after Vale began the match really brightly, but the O’Kane dismissal added a different dynamic to what was sure to be an interesting second half.
A minute in and Vale scorer Smith looked to double his tally with a 22 yard right foot drive which didn’t miss by much and sixty seconds later, Murray should have done much better when he rose unchallenged to a cross from Penker but his seven yard header didn’t trouble Musselburgh keeper McRae as it drifted tamely wide. Vale were looking to make their numerical advantage count and Murray again got Viola to the goal line to win a corner and the set piece reached O’Brien at the back post with his eight yard header clipping off the junction of post and bar before going behind. Evans got forward to relieve the pressure on the visitors and his shot saw McManus stay big to make the block before the game was levelled up from the spot just before the hour mark. Penker found Viola in the box and as he tried to work his way in, Smeaton was tempted into an ill advised challenge from behind which clipped the wingers heels and referee Wilson, who was in an excellent position, immediately pointed to the spot. Smith stepped up to calmly stroke the ball home into the bottom corner as keeper McRae went the wrong way, registering both his and Vale’s second goal of the contest. The hard working Evans thought he had sprung the Vale offside trap on 61 minutes but the raised flag told a different story before at the other end, Lally rolled the ball to Cumming and B Donaldsons clumsy challenge saw Vale with a free kick but the strike on goal was disappointing. On 65 minutes, Smith went looking for his hat trick from a 30 yard free kick after a foul on O’Brien but keeper McRae wasn’t troubled as the ball went over before C Donaldson was then cautioned after a show of petulance having been pulled up for a foul on Penker. After 73 minutes, Cumming of Vale was replaced by Dent before a minute later, there was more trouble for the visitors when an off the ball late challenge in the centre circle by C. Donaldson was spotted by the officials and referee Craig Wilson produced his second red card of the night to reduce Athletic to nine men, with the visitors immediately reorganising by bringing on Wynne for Jefferies. A looping cross to the back post from Daniel was scrambled behind by Musselburgh and when the set piece was cleared, the ever willing Smith this time pulled a poor effort well wide. Musselburgh were still trying to get forward and Deland worked hard to get a cross in which Signorini retrieved at the back post and his cut back looking for Evans saw the striker crowded out. With four minutes remaining, Vale replaced Daniel with Ross as they tried to make their two man advantage count just before Lally of Vale was rightly cautioned for pulling down Evans, whose tireless running for the visitors had caused the home defence problems all night. Evans took the free kick himself and home keeper Stewart punched clear finding O’Brien and his forward progress was promptly halted by a somewhat agricultural Orru tackle which saw the Musselburgh defender join the ever growing list of cautions. A bouncing ball near the edge of the Athletic penalty area saw Reid in trouble and Viola dispossessed him and worked a one two with Signorini before curling in a 20 yard left foot effort which went over. Three minutes into stoppage time, Smith had one final go from distance to break the deadlock but his fierce 25 yard right foot drive cleared the junction of post and bar and a pulsating first fixture in season 2021/22 was to end all square. A brilliant return to action in front of the fans who certainly enjoyed every minute of this thrilling contest and both clubs will feel that at various stages of the game, it looked like it might be going their way. The home side will doubtless feel disappointed they didn’t manage to fully capitalise on their numerical advantage but the visitors dogged defending was admirable and perhaps overall a share of the spoils was about right.

Written by: Russell Aitken

Similar posts


January 2024 Sports Recap

Links so you can listen to the sports programmes on Black Diamond FM

todayJanuary 22, 2024