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Derek Hall’s report on Penicuik Athletic b Tranent game on 18th September 2021

todaySeptember 25, 2021


Penicuik Athletic 1-3 Tranent
A top tie for sure in the first round of this seasons Scottish Cup as one and two in the EOS Premier League squared off against each other in a Midlothian v East Lothian derby match. With less than a minute gone, Tranent suffered a blow when Kyle Lander suffered a knee injury and after some treatment, was replaced by Matthew Knox. A cagey opening period was broken when Jamie Docherty raced down the inside left channel but a heavy touch at the vital moment allowed home keeper Robert Watt to dive forward and make the stop. After six minutes, Kieran Watson of Penicuik received a quiet warning from referee Barry Dickson for a foul on Knox. Two minutes later, a Ryan Baptie free kick was poorly dealt with by Dean Whitson on the edge of the Tranent box with the ball falling for Jack Furness who tried to guide the ball into the bottom corner from around 15 yards, but Tranent keeper Ally Adams was smartly down to make the save low to his left. On 12 minutes, Aiden Walsh worked hard to dispossess Craig Stevenson in the corner before laying the ball back to Robbie Neave and his cross was scrambled away by the Tranent defence. On the quarter hour, a Baptie long throw picked out the head of Cammy Dawson but his effort lacked direction and looped tamely wide. The home fans weren’t happy when skipper Andy Forbes was penalised for a foul on Docherty in midfield but the free kick came to nothing. Sean Murphy then fed Adam Watson and his dangerous near post cross saw home keeper Watt diving to save whilst being pressured by Sean Wringe. After 22 minutes, Whitson was short with a passback and Dawson was onto the ball and laid it into the path of Neave around 12 yards out, but the Penicuik man fluffed his lines with a weak effort which bounced harmlessly wide of Adams far post. A minute later, Tranent’s Bradley Donaldson was first into referee Dickson’s book for a heavy challenge on Dawson close to the touchline. Baptie swung over the resultant free kick and there was Forbes rising to power home a thumping header from nine yards which Adams got a hand to but could only push into roof of the net and the home side had made the all important breakthrough. Soon after, a very firm passback from Donaldson saw keeper Adams do very well to control the bouncing ball before hooking clear. With 29 minutes gone, a poor touch by Neave saw him over stretch to try to retrieve the ball and in doing so he caught Oban Anderson late and became the first Penicuik name in the referees book for the challenge. Craig Stevenson stepped up to strike the free kick but from fully 30 yards, he pulled the ball well wide of the Penicuik goals. With 31 minutes gone, Dawson of Penicuik picked up a needless caution for delaying the restart of play as he stood almost on top of the ball as Tranent tried to take a quick free kick. Two minutes later, Furness set up Neave for a 28 yard drive which rose a yard over the Tranent bar and then at the other end, keeper Watt made a good catch from a difficult back post cross as Knox waited for any mistake. With 38 minutes gone, Dawson limped off for the home side and was replaced by the experienced Aaron Somerville. Tranent captain Shaun Rutherford then strode forward to test keeper Watt with a low 15 yard drive but the keeper had his angles right and the keeper was in action again seconds later as he held a drive from the very busy Docherty. A minute from the break, Anderson sent a 25 yard drive wide of the Penicuik goal as the visitors tried hard to get themselves back into the game before the interval and then Watson slid a pass through to Wringe but the offside flag was up. However, a minute into stoppage time, the visitors finally got the equaliser their overall play deserved when Wringe went into the box and as he tried to check back inside Thomson, the Penicuik man took Wringe’s standing foot out from under him and referee Dickson pointed to the spot. Stevenson was given the responsibility of the spot kick and he calmly sent Watt the wrong way and stroked the ball into the bottom corner. Penicuik immediately responded and Somerville sent an 18 yard shot into the midriff of keeper Adams before Knox and Walsh collided close to the touchline and both required treatment before being able to resume. Fully three minutes into stoppage time, Docherty played in Rutherford and he fizzed a powerful angled drive just over the Penicuik bar and brought a competitive and always interesting first period to a close.
Penicuik replaced Neave with the returning Scott McCrory-Irving at half time. On 49 minutes, the normally reliable Baptie had the chance to deliver another trademark inswinging free kick into the visitors box but his kick had too much on it and drifted harmlessly behind. A minute later, Tranent broke down the right flank and the cross to the back post from Watson saw Forbes making the important clearing header with Docherty ready to pounce right behind him. After 51 minutes, Nicky Reid played a nice one two with Furness on the edge of the Tranent box before firing in a low drive which took a deflection and made Adams save in turning the ball wide an impressive one and when Baptie’s corner came over, Paul Thomson only just failed to make contact at the back post. Reid tried to get down the right flank again but excellent defending by Rutherford saw him shepherd the ball out for the goal kick. With 57 minutes on the clock, the home side missed a golden opportunity to regain the lead as McCrory-Irving clipped a lovely pass through to Somerville who went into the box and from no more than 12 yards on the angle, he pulled his right foot drive across goal and well wide, with Tranent looking for an offside flag which didn’t materialise. Murphy then used his strength well to put off McCrory-Irving whose shot was easily held by keeper Adams. Just over the hour mark, Penicuik picked up their third yellow of the match as Watson went into the book for a foul in midfield on Knox. A Docherty drive then had the pace taken off it with a block and ended up safely in the hands of keeper Watt. A Whitson header back to keeper Adams saw Somerville almost onto the ball but Adams came just outside his box to head clear and snuff out the danger. A driving run by Docherty was ended by a superbly timed challenge from Darrell Young who had played well at the heart of the home defence. Reid then slipped a pass through to Walsh who rounded keeper Adams and rolled the ball home but everyone was aware the flag had gone up early and Walsh was involved again on 70 minutes when he picked up a loose ball and drove into the Tranent penalty area, only to be halted by a good tackle from Stevenson. Two minutes later, Somerville managed to find the head of McCrory-Irving but the header had no power and was catching practice for keeper Adams. However with a quarter of an hour remaining, it was the visitors who got their noses in front when a Stevenson cross into the penalty area found Knox and his initial effort was brilliantly saved by Watt but the loose ball ran to Docherty and he wasted no time in rifling the ball home into the far corner for a goal which his own general play thoroughly deserved. At this point, the home side replaced Baptie with Reece Hope and two minutes later the visitors made a double switch as Knox and Wringe were withdrawn for Ben Miller and Steven Thomson. With nine minutes remaining, Reid once again threatened for Penicuik but Tranent captain Rutherford was there again to tidy up and he had been an inspirational figure on the day for the visitors, leading by example. Penicuik keeper Watt then almost gifted the ball to Thomson as he attempted to clear but got away with it before Thomson then had a go from a free kick fully 30 yards out which had Watt diving across his goals to cover his post as the ball went a yard wide. However it was all over with five minutes remaining as Watson broke down the right flank and his back post cross was slightly long but Docherty did superbly to turn the ball back across goal where Miller’s initial effort was blocked by Thomson, but the Tranent substitute stayed on his feet and showed real composure to roll his follow up effort home from eight yards. McCrory-Irving saw another shot held by Adams and in the end, Tranent were able to manage the game to its conclusion and be the first name into the hat for the second round draw. The home side will obviously be disappointed to go out at this stage, but there are bigger rewards on offer for teams at the top of the EOS Premier League, and manager Stevie McLeish will have his team well prepared and only looking forward to their next game. Tranent too know what the priority is this season, but Calum Elliot’s men will look forward to the next round as a bonus and an opportunity to perhaps get one step closer to facing off against a team from one of the four top tiers of Scottish football.

Written by: Russell Aitken

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