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Derek Hall’s report from Easthouses Lily v Leith Athletic game on 13th July

todayJuly 15, 2021


Easthouses Lily 2-5 Leith Athletic
On a humid evening, it was a last chance for the respective Easthouses and Leith managers to shuffle their packs pre season prior to Saturday’s competitive action which starts with visits to Edinburgh South and Coldstream for tonight’s combatants. After three minutes, a nice ball through almost had Sproule in for the visitors but Amos was off his line smartly to clear whilst at the other end, a shot from Elliot was blocked. On six minutes, a lovely ball down the left wing by McQueenie saw Russell get to the goal line and his near post cutback was turned narrowly wide from Elliot as the Lily front man got away from his marker. At this point, Leith lost the services of Simpson, who appeared to have pulled his left hamstring. Two minutes later, a through ball saw MacKenzie go through for Leith but great tracking back by Smith saw him do enough to put the Leith forward off and Amos then completed the save. However on ten minutes, it was Easthouses who opened the scoring as Sives and Neilson worked a lovely one two and Sives moved in to roll the ball cooly past McLellan and in at the far corner with a composed finish. Leith missed a great chance to equalise almost instantly as a cross from the left flank picked out Kneeshaw socially distancing at the back post but he seemed caught in two minds as to whether to use his head or foot for the effort and the ball just came off his body and went wide. Shortly afterwards Sproule again picked out Kneeshaw on the edge of the box but referee Craig Wilson decided offside was the call. Leith then had two efforts in fairly quickly succession from Maughan and Sproule but neither troubled Amos in the home goal. However on 17 minutes, Barfoot found Maughan with a nice ball and his flashing angled drive across the face of goal very much had the interest of the diving Amos as it didn’t miss by much. Kneeshaw got into a good position down the right flank but he was very well dispossessed by Janczyk who was able to make the tackle and then bring the ball away for Lily. On 24 minutes, the Lily defence chose to back off as Maughan drove forward but from around 22 yards, the striker didn’t get the contact he wanted but the leveller was only seconds away as Kneeshaw clipped the ball to Maughan who got to the goal line before slipping the ball inside and back to Kneeshaw who killed it with one touch and then found the top corner of the net from around eight yards with his second. Two minutes later, Maughan was bundled over by Hunter, allowing Redpath to curl a lovely 23 yard free kick round the Lily wall and only just wide of the base of Amos’s right hand post. However on 28 minutes came a moment the home keeper will wish to forget as he took a free kick just outside the right edge of his penalty area but inexplicably chose to pass straight across the face of his box where Maughan was waiting to pounce and the striker had time for a couple of touches before stroking the ball into the empty goal as Amos tried desperately to get back. Worse was to follow for Lily as right on the half hour, MacKenzie found Kneeshaw who laid the ball back to MacKenzie and he clipped the ball across to find Maughan alone eight yards out, allowing the striker to stroke home left footed from around eight yards past the hopelessly exposed Amos. Despite the game being completely turned on it’s head in little more than five minutes, Lily were immediately almost back in it as a beautifully struck 28 yard free kick by Janczyk only just went over the junction of post and bar before McQueenie then showed excellent close control as he drove forward into the Leith box, but just took a heavy touch right at the end, allowing keeper McLellan to dive onto the ball. Lily were now pressing and on 41 minutes, the visitors had a let off as a long ball saw Neilson in at the edge of the Leith box and keeper McLellan played the ball with his feet off the striker, and a ball which could have dropped anywhere fell at the feet of the only covering Leith defender, Redpath gratefully completing the clearance. The final chance of the half again fell to a Lily side who had managed to steady the ship as Russell moved along the face of the Leith box before rifling in a 25 yard right foot drive which keeper McLellan took comfortably just above his head. So clear blue water between Leith and their hosts at the break, with the frustration for the home side being the concession of a couple of goals which they would see as totally avoidable.
Leith were back on the attack again two minutes in through the very dangerous Maughan but once again Smith was dogged in his defending and got the ball behind for a corner. However at the other end, Lily passed up great chance for their second as Janczyk floated a lovely free kick into the heart of the penalty area and McBeth failed to get his head on the ball when any type of touch looked to be a certain score. Elliot then saw a fierce drive blocked by the body of Hume on the edge of the Leith box and they went even closer on 54 minutes when good play from Elliot saw him find Russell with a nice pass and the front man controlled the bouncing ball well before firing in a 15 yard angled drive which was only a foot or so over. However after a bright start to the second period, the home side then conceded again after 58 minutes as cheap possession was lost in midfield allowing Maughan to avoid a despairing Hunter challenge and use his blistering pace to race through unmolested to the edge of the box and plant the ball past substitute keeper Dunsmore for his hat trick. Back came the home side and a McBeth shot was blocked and fell to Elliot whose stinging drive was this time deflected wide for a corner before Hunter then won a header at the back post for Lily but his knock back across goal couldn’t be turned in by the ever willing Elliot and McLellan was relieved to grab the ball on his six yard line. On 68 minutes, MacKenzie got to the Lily goal line and Maughan was right there but Dunsmore went down to grab the pull back just in front of the Leith striker. Two minutes later and Elliot did brilliantly to pull a ball down which was dropping over his shoulder before taking a touch and then firing in a drive from 30 yards which was always just going over, but the Easthouses no 8 had been excellent on the night. On 73 minutes, Lily finally got the goal which on effort alone they more than deserved and it was simplicity itself as a lovely free kick was curled to the back post and a prodigious leap by Hunter saw the ball bulleted home past McLellan who had no chance at all. Leith moved straight upfield and Maughan was disappointed as he placed a fairly tame effort into the midriff of keeper Dunsmore before Redpath provided a sterner test for the home keeper as he made him dive low to his right to save his 25 yard left foot drive. With 12 minutes remaining, Maughan found Walker and his effort from around 20 yards was over Dunsmore but also just cleared the bar and dropped onto the roof of the net. A minute later, the outstanding Maughan cut in from the right side of the penalty area and his left foot 20 yard drive along the ground brought out a brilliant save at full stretch from Dunsmore who also held the ball as it threatened to squirm from his grasp. However, it was all over in the 81st minute when a Leith corner dropped at the back post for Walker and he cut the ball back to the near post where Allan did really well to open up his body and guide the ball wide of keeper Dunsmore whose left hand just couldn’t keep the ball out. Lily were refusing to go away and Elliot almost found McBeth looping round at the back post before Janczyk again lifted another excellent free kick into the box and Elliot just couldn’t find the inches required to make the header. In the end, a decent game and a good run out for both sets of players with Maughan grabbing the headlines for the visitors and Elliot looking dangerous all night for Lily and, with the starters now over, we await Saturday’s main courses with a real sense of anticipation.

Written by: Russell Aitken

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