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Derek Hall’s report – Arniston Rangers v Thornton Hibs July 29th August

todayAugust 13, 2021


Arniston Rangers 0-4 Thornton Hibs
A big game already for these two clubs as the bottom two met with one of them having the opportunity to put some daylight between them and their opponents and it was the visitors from Fife who would come out on top, aided by a second half implosion from their Midlothian counterparts. A cross into the Arniston box saw Thomson cut the ball across but McQueen handled the ball confidently and the same player was then caught offside in the visitors next attack. At the other end, a Williamson free kick saw visiting keeper Miller barged over by Johnstone as he attempted to make the catch for an obvious free kick. Another Thomson cross into the Arniston box looking for Adam was again fielded by keeper McQueen before on six minutes, the keeper rescued Geddes who played a passback without looking and Thomson was almost onto it, but for the keepers alertness and the ball was hammered clear. A minute later, Mackie clipped a nice cross into the box and there was Thomson involved yet again, looping his header over the Arniston crossbar. In the tenth minute, a back post cross deceived the Thornton defence and dropped at the feet of Williamson who did well to bring the ball down and he managed to force the ball past keeper Miller but Robertson was there to hack the ball away to safety, before at the other end, Williamson denied Mackie with a good piece of closing down. In the 13th minute, Mackie had the ball in the net for the visitors but there were no complaints as referee Buchan ruled out the goal for offside. Arniston responded with a 14 yard header by Geddes from a Wylie free kick but Millers handling was sound. Johnstone then did well to make space for himself on the edge of the Thornton box and his 22 yard curling right foot effort was only a yard away from the postage stamp corner. After 18 minutes, Adam placed his corner kick onto the head of S Drummond at the back post but the Thornton man just couldn’t keep his header on target. Arniston responded and a Johnstone cross from the left flank almost picked out C Dyett but he appeared to be blocked by his own player and when the ball ran to Linton, his 17 yard drive was easily fielded by keeper Miller. After 20 minutes the home side carved out another chance as a C Dyett cross caused confusion in the box and Grieve managed to find Linton whose close range flick along the ground ended up in the grateful hands of visiting keeper Miller. However a minute later, Arniston keeper McQueen kept his side level as Thomson fed McWatt and the Thornton winger cut inside and his 12 yard left foot drive looked a goal all the way till McQueen somehow stuck out a strong right boot to make an excellent block. The visitors seemed heartened by this and forced a series of corners in quick succession and from the fourth of these, Adam drove the ball towards the near post and S Drummond managed to lose his marker and bullet an eight yard header past McQueen to give the visitors a 25th minute lead. After 28 minutes, Thomson of Hibs and Grieve of Rangers were both cautioned by referee Buchan who picked up the players becoming involved off the ball, two needless cards which were a precursor of things to come. Three minutes later, Mackie scampered down the right wing to the Arniston goal line and his cutback picked out Ormiston, whose shot on the turn was blocked before the home side replied with their best chance of the match as Johnstone raced to the other end and laid the ball back for Peggie to fire in a tremendous 20 yard drive which keeper Miller dived full length to his right to turn behind and preserve his sides advantage. Wylie swung over a great ball to the back post from the corner but there were no takers for the home side. Arniston looked buoyed by this close thing and Thornton keeper Miller looked far less secure on 35 minutes when he came well out of his box to try to clear but only succeeded in knocking the ball into the air and he was fortunate that S Drummond was first on the spot to hammer clear. Less than a minute later, Williamson played a lovely cross to the Thornton back post and keeper Miller again completely lost his bearings in the air but Linton was unable to hook the ball back on target at full stretch. Two minutes later, Thomson managed to escape the attention of Grieve and keeper McQueen was out smartly to make the block, with the Thornton striker then claiming unsuccessfully to the referee he had been impeded by the Arniston centre half in the act of shooting. Johnstone then did some good defensive work for Arniston as he denied Ormiston a chance to shoot, but at the interval it was the visitors who had made the breakthrough and there were a few problems for the home side to solve in the second half.
The second half started with Thomson once again looking lively for Hibs but his first run into the box saw him unable to cut the ball back as Geddes shepherded him over the goal line before Williamson was then warned by the referee for another foul on the live wire Thornton striker and when Adams set piece was cleared out, Coleman found McNeish who had the chance to pick out three Hibs players at the back post but inexcusably sent his cross harmlessly behind. Five minutes into the second half, Ormiston picked out McNeish who sent an angled drive over the Arniston bar from no more than 12 yards before at the other end, Johnstone tried to find Wylie but he allowed the ball to run under his foot and McNeish got the ball away. However with 53 minutes gone, Ormiston raced away on a quick counter attack for Thornton and his early ball in saw Thomson knock the ball past the advancing McQueen as he stretched to prod home from around 14 yards to double the visitors lead and also reward himself with a goal for an excellent individual performance. One person who didn’t seem to appreciate the strikers efforts was Arniston centre half Grieve who inexplicably chose to kick out at the back of the Thornton strikers legs as he celebrated with his team mates and referee Buchan spotted this idiotic action and promptly sent the Rangers man packing, leaving his side two goals adrift and a man short. On 55 minutes, McMillan rode a rash challenge from Peggie before finding McNeish but once again the Thornton half time substitutes effort was pretty poor, and before the game restarted, Peggie unsurprisingly picked up a yellow for his challenge in the build up. Coleman tried a snap shot for the visitors from fully 30 yards which drifted just wide before an A Drummond free kick nearly had Ormiston in but home keeper McQueen was quickly off his line to grab the ball. On 61 minutes, Arniston substitute K Dyett was dispossessed on the touchline allowing McWatt to race to the edge of the box and his pass found Thomson who smashed a 17 yard drive off the underside of the crossbar before Ormiston tamely shot wide from the rebound. Three minutes later another 30 yard effort from Coleman saw McQueen fairly untroubled as he made the save and right after this, Arniston substitute K Dyett was then cautioned after a heavy first touch saw him lunge in on McMillan to try to retrieve the ball and only succeeded in catching the Hibs player. On 66 minutes, Linton of Arniston who had looked their best player on the night, beat the offside trap but as he turned back inside, his shot was well blocked by A Drummond before Linton was again in on the angle for Arniston and tried to catch out Miller by taking the 16 yard drive early but the Thornton keeper saved well low to his left. However on 68 minutes, Arniston sub K Dyett then compounded his earlier caution by inexcusably getting himself sent off for passing a comment to referee Buchan whilst arguing over a throw in and now down to nine men, the home sides cause seemed lost. S Drummond then came forward for the visitors and his shot from the inside left channel brought out yet another excellent save from McQueen who dived low to his left to parry the ball clear before Shearer and the hard working Linton almost carved out a chance for King at the other end as Arniston kept plugging away. Walker went down injured in the Thornton box after 73 minutes but thankfully the Arniston man was soon up and able to continue. A deflected Thomson effort looped up to the back post but Hand’s header lacked power and McQueen gathered the ball comfortably. Linton once again showed excellent fight in winning the ball out wide and his cross almost found Shearer but A Drummond was there to clear for the visitors before Waterson of Arniston was the next player warned for passing a silly comment. With just over 10 minutes remaining it was all over when Adam sent over yet another lovely cross and there was Hand rising at the back post to send his header back across keeper McQueen and into the net for the visitors third. Waterson was then the next recipient of a yellow card for Arniston for a mistimed challenge in midfield, having previously been spoken to by referee Buchan before with five minutes remaining McWatt made the break down the wing for the visitors and on the end of his cutback to slot home from 10 yards was their best performer on the evening as Thomson claimed his second of the match and the 4-0 final scoreline was fairly emphatic. The visitors will be delighted to haul themselves off the foot of the table and their finishing on the night was clinical when it mattered, but for the home side, the needless red cards picked up by two players left their colleagues on the park with a mountain to climb and if Arniston want to be the next club to get themselves away from the foot of the table, then improving the discipline and keeping eleven players on the park would be a decent starting point.

Written by: Russell Aitken

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