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Derek Hall’s Report on Tweedmouth Rangers v Thornton Hibs game on Sunday 29th August

todayAugust 31, 2021


Tweedmouth Rangers 5-6 aet Thornton Hibs
An absolutely incredible Alex Jack Cup tie over the border as Rangers, seemingly down and out with under ten minutes remaining, came back to force extra time against a ten man Hibs side who showed plenty of bottle themselves to eventually triumph in an eleven goal thriller. With five minutes gone, Andy Adam gave away a needless foul on Jay Baverstock in the corner and Regan Graham’s inswinger had to be tipped over by Hibs keeper Jordan Millar. With 10 minutes gone, Ross Hain set up Ben Rolland and his cross saw Garry Thomson’s diving header cleared off the Tweedmouth line by Josh Vieira and at the other end Graham found Craig Colquhoun but his 25 yarder was always rising over the Hibs bar. On the quarter hour, an effort from Hain was blocked and dropped to the back post where Darren Ormiston met the ball perfectly on the volley from around nine yards, only to see Rangers keeper Mutch pull off an amazing save to first block and then hold the ball to keep the scoreline blank. However four minutes later, the visitors went ahead in bizarre fashion as Mutch rolled a goal kick to Craig Heath who was immediately closed down by Ormiston and passed back to keeper Mutch but his next attempted clearance rolled only a couple of yards to Thomson who simply passed the ball into the empty net. Two minutes later, Hain tried his luck from fully 30 yards but Mutch grabbed the ball confidently above his head before a Rolland cross to the back post just skimmed wide off the head of Thomson as Hibs continued to take heart from getting their noses in front. However Graham found Baverstock with a good pass and his shot from 16 yards saw Hibs keeper Millar make an excellent block and on 25 minutes, a nice one two between Graham and Colquhoun saw the formers shot grabbed again by the Hibs keeper who had his angles right. After 28 minutes, an Ormiston snap shot tested Mutch just before Heath then lost his footing on the edge of the Rangers box allowing Thomson to set up Hain for an unhindered shot from around 18 yards which Mutch again did well to save. Drew Cummings then sent a 30 yard free kick over the Hibs bar after Baverstock had been fouled by Liam McWatt. Just a minute later, McWatt fired in a drive which keeper Mutch could only parry straight into the path of Rolland but he completely miscued with the goal at his mercy and Rangers scrambled the ball clear. Two minutes later McWatt again dropped a lovely free kick to the back post and somehow Matthew Robertson failed to make contact when any touch at all would have put Hibs two up and the same player headed a corner into the hands of keeper Mutch a minute later. However with 36 minutes gone and after withstanding some serious pressure, the home side were level when Graham’s cross was cleared out to the edge of the box and Jack Forster took one touch to control before firing home a perfect dipping half volley from 18 yards via the underside of the crossbar with keeper Millar helpless. Two minutes later the home side could have been ahead as Michael Robinson outpaced Adam and got into the Rangers box but his finish was a disappointment and keeper Millar made the block. This was to prove costly because right on 40 minutes, Hibs were in front again as a Jamie McNeish back post corner was headed back across goal allowing Ormiston to chest the ball home from a couple of yards and it was a lead they were to carry into the break after a really exciting and committed first half.
Within 30 seconds of the restart, Regan Graham of Rangers and Hibs Max Coleman were brought in for a quiet word from referee Liam Redpath. On 49 minutes, Rolland fired in a low 22 yarder which keeper Mutch held low down to his left and shortly afterwards, Tweedmouth were forced to replace Jamie Heath with Andy Wilson after the full back picked up an injury. However on 57 minutes, the visitors extended their lead when Forster lost possession cheaply in midfield to Rolland and the Hibs winger outpaced a couple of defenders before clipping the ball home over the advancing keeper and up into the opposite corner of the net with a composed finish. Thomson then saw a shot blocked by Vieira at the expense of a corner but on the hour, Rangers showed they weren’t going away as Robinson worked his way across the face of the Hibs penalty area before firing in a great 20 yard drive which certainly had keeper Millar interested as it fizzed wide. Three minutes later, Baverstock and Robinson worked a one two on the edge of the Hibs box and only a slight deflection saw Baverstock’s attempted lob miss the target. Rangers were now giving it everything and a Colquhoun effort saw keeper Millar just get enough of a touch on his lob for it to crash off the crossbar and Adam headed clear under pressure and soon after, Millar again dived at the feet of Wilson to save from another Colquhoun cross. With 73 minutes gone, Thornton replaced McWatt with Fergus Mackie and only five minutes after coming on, he was in the right place inside the Rangers penalty area to stroke the ball home after Hain had set up Thomson and his shot was blocked by keeper Mutch but Mackie was on hand to apply the finish. Tweedmouth then replaced Vieira with Wilson and he arrived just in time to see Rangers score their second after 81 minutes with a spectacular goal as a deflected cross into the box saw Forster somehow adjust to hook a brilliant overhead kick past keeper Millar from 10 yards and it was back to 4-2. Three minutes later, there was more drama as Cummings found Graham and his drive from almost 30 yards smashed up off the Hibs crossbar and when it dropped, Wilson’s goal bound close range header was handled on the goal line by Robertson. The Hibs player received a straight red and Cummings stepped up to send Millar the wrong way from the spot kick, 4-3, game on ! Mackie fired in a half volley for Hibs from 28 yards which keeper Mutch grabbed at the second attempt but just a minute later, the same player again went into the Rangers box and wanted a spot kick from a last ditch tackle by Wilson, but referee Redpath wasn’t interested. This proved to be pivotal because right on 90 minutes, Cummings threw a free kick from out on the right wing into the Rangers penalty area and Wilson was there to knock the ball home from six yards and tie up the score at 4-4. Rangers keeper Millar sustained an injury as the equaliser was scored and had to be replaced by Callum Doran who was just on long enough for the whistle to go, sending this amazing cup tie into extra time.
The drama continued right at the start of extra time as Rolland burst into the Rangers penalty area and his shot was beaten away by keeper Mutch into the path of Mackie who somehow contrived to hit the junction of post and bar with the empty goal gaping but Rangers couldn’t clear effectively and when the ball fell to Thomson fully 30 yards out, he drove brilliantly low into the bottom corner of the net with Mutch rooted to the spot, putting ten man Hibs back in front. Hatsell of Rangers was cautioned after 94 minutes for a foul on Hain and as players on both sides began to tire, Wilson joined him in the book after late contact on Rangers McNeish. Heath had a go from 25 yards but Hibs substitute keeper Doran was right behind the ball and shortly before the break, Hibs Rolland sent an angled 25 yard drive just over the postage stamp corner. With 104 minutes on the clock, Thomson moved strongly through a very leggy looking Tweedmouth defence to hold off a couple of challenges before sliding the ball past the advancing keeper to claim his hat trick and put the visitors 6-4 up. At this point Rhys Dixon of Tweedmouth was replaced by Jack Cummings after suffering from severe cramp and it was a wonderful moment for a young man who was making his first team debut whilst still a month shy of his fifteenth birthday and was also joining his brother on the park, a moment to remember for this young man. Hatsell brought out another good save from keeper Doran after 108 minutes as the home side simply refused to go quietly and Graham also had a go from long range but this one slipped just wide. Forster then had a go and keeper Doran didn’t look too clever as he spilled the ball to Hatsell but the Rangers player was well offside. Adam of Hibs was next into the book on 117 minutes after almost dragging the jersey off D Cummings as he got past him on the right wing and a minute later at the other end, Mutch pushed a 14 yard drive over the bar from Mackie. A minute from time, Ormiston of Hibs was then cautioned for deliberately handling a free kick taken by keeper Mutch and when the ball finally made it to the other end, a lovely cross to the back post saw Hatsell in splendid isolation heading the ball past keeper Doran to once again bring Rangers to within a goal of their opponents. One final act of defiance from Tweedmouth saw Cummings hammer a 30 yard drive wide but at the end of a simply breathtaking contest, it was the ten man Fife side who progress to the next round of the Alex Jack cup. Both sides take great credit for putting on a real show for the spectators lucky enough to have been present, the game had everything, and on a day when yet another ludicrously over praised Old Firm bore took centre stage, this game sneaked in under the radar as the real game of the day.

Written by: Russell Aitken

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