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Derek Hall’s report on Whitehill Welfare v Tranent Juniors game on

todayJune 4, 2022


Whitehill Welfare 0-2 Tranent

League Cup semi final action in Rosewell as Whitehill Welfare and Tranent met to decide Linlithgow Rose’s opponents in Sunday’s final at Newtongrange. Before kick off, a minutes applause was held as a mark of respect for the family of Welfare captain Fynlay Connor, who sadly lost his mum over the weekend. The first five minutes saw the ball being pinged about like the proverbial hot potato with loose passes to the fore as both teams tried to settle but on six minutes, Ewan McKinlay got hold of the ball on the edge of the Tranent penalty area and sidestepped his man before firing a sixteen yard left foot drive into the side netting. Tranent responded a minute later with Darren McCormack moving the ball onto Shaun Rutherford and he slid the ball to Wayne McIntosh who held the ball up on the edge of the Welfare penalty area before rolling it to Rory Currie and he hit a powerful 20 yard left foot drive a yard over the top. McIntosh then went into the Welfare box but a great challenge by Finn Thomson cleared the danger. Kieran Somerville and McIntosh then created another opening for the visitors but Murray Wilson was there with a good defensive header for Whitehill. With twelve minutes gone, Tranent’s Sean Murphy earned himself a word from referee Danny MacKinnon after fouling McKinlay, with the Tranent no10 complaining he had been fouled earlier in the play. However, Jacob Shyngle of Welfare wasn’t so fortunate a minute later when he took down Somerville in full flight racing down the left wing and there were no complaints when the referee pulled out the yellow card. After sixteen minutes, Connor played the ball through to Ryan Weir who got into the Tranent box, but the ball appeared to bobble as he struck his fifteen yard right foot drive low across goal and wide of the far post. Somerville and Currie then worked the space for Rutherford to try another long range effort but a Welfare body made the block. With twenty minutes on the clock, Callum Donaldson tried to play Currie in but Welfare keeper Musa Dibaga was smartly out to the edge of his box to tidy things up. A minute later, Ricky Miller fouled McIntosh near the touchline and a bit of verbals between the players saw referee MacKinnon step in to stop the nonsense. Rutherford then swung the free kick right onto the Welfare six yard line and McIntosh’s dismay at heading the ball over the top from the games best chance was plain to see. With 23 minutes gone, Thomson fouled Murphy giving Tranent a set piece opportunity from around 28 yards, but the strike from Rutherford clipped up off the wall before looping into the hands of keeper Dibaga. A foul in midfield by Whitehill’s Jordan Burrows saw another comment passed and the referee dished out a further warning to the Welfare no9. The second of a series of Rutherford corners just after the half hour mark for Tranent saw Euan Bauld almost escape his marker at the near post but Wilson made an excellent headed interception to concede another corner which the Tranent skipper this time sent onto the roof of the net. However, the home defence had an amazing escape with 33 minutes gone when the pace of Martin Maughan saw him beat the Whitehill offside trap and race to the edge of the box where he calmly stroked the ball past keeper Dibaga only to see the ball strike the base of the right hand post, bounce along the line to hit the left hand post before kicking up and grazing the bar to then drop for the retreating Dibaga to grab the ball, an unbelievable incident. Maughan was involved again three minutes later as he set up a chance for McIntosh, but the drive lacked the power to unduly trouble home keeper Dibaga. The keeper had to look lively again moments later as he was out quickly to hook the ball away off the toes of Maughan and at the other end, Burrows dispossessed Bauld on the edge of the Tranent box but the final pass was disappointing. A Donaldson corner was confidently clutched by Welfare keeper Dibaga before Connor of Whitehill talked himself into referee McKinnon’s book, having been warned just a couple of minutes before. Rutherford swung a free kick into the Welfare penalty area and Somerville glanced his header wide from around ten yards. Three minutes from the break, Whitehill’s Kyle Burns was the next played to be cautioned when he brought down Somerville thirty yards out but Rutherford and Murphy decided to play it short and made a real mess of things as the ball was easily cleared. Tranent’s Murphy then brought down Connor and the visiting no10 saw his name in the book for caution number four of a pretty scrappy first half. Burns tried to release Weir down the left wing for the home side but Bauld was across with the covering tackle. However the half time whistle saw a somewhat flat contest which in the main had failed to deliver with only a few clear cut chances having been made, and both sides would be looking to find that wee bit of quality in the second half to take one of them into Sunday’s final.
The first couple of minutes of the second period were notable for some pretty casual play by Tranent keeper Kelby Mason who twice in succession put Euan Greig under pressure with a couple of short passes inside his own penalty which saw Greig closed down immediately and they were passes the Tranent no16 could gladly have done without. A Tranent clearance was then picked up by Connor and he quickly found Weir whose ten yard angled drive flew over the bar. After 49 minutes, Thomson of Whitehill conceded a foul but then appeared to pass a comment and referee MacKinnon wasn’t mucking around with the yellow card out again. Welfare keeper Dibaga again looked confident as he plucked a Donaldson free kick out of the air and then at other end, an attempted clearance by Greig went a mile in the air before coming back down in the Tranent penalty area but cool play by Rutherford brought the ball away. With 53 minutes gone, Welfare’s Thomson played a suicidal ball across the face of his own box and Murphy made the interception but he was forced a bit wide and fired his shot from 16 yards into the side net. A minute later, a long diagonal ball into the Tranent penalty area saw Connor do well to head the ball back across the penalty area and Burns arrived but could only turn his 15 yard left foot half volley over the bar, a really decent chance for the home side. Somerville fired a 17 yard shot on the turn over the Whitehill crossbar after 56 minutes and then McIntosh hung up a good cross into the home penalty area but Currie couldn’t get over the header and it comfortably cleared the crossbar. A minute later, Tranent’s Darren McCormack pulled down Weir near halfway and after the players had gone nose to nose for a full and frank exchange of views, McCormack received his yellow card for the original offence. With 59 minutes gone, Tranent brought on Oban Anderson for McCormack just before the visitors thought they had taken the lead when McIntosh turned a Rutherford cross into net from close range but an offside flag saw the celebrations cut short. Tranent were just starting to up the tempo and Maughan set up Currie for a drive which was well blocked by Shyngle and then Somerville shot over from around 15 yards after Bauld had flicked on a corner kick. After 63 minutes, Weir did well to turn inside the Tranent box while under pressure but his angled left foot 18 yard drive skewed off the outside of his boot and well wide. After 65 minutes, Donaldson fired in a fierce drive for Tranent which Josh Walker bravely got his head in the way of, and the Whitehill no7 was unable to continue and left to be replaced by Tyler O’Neill. The resultant corner by Donaldson was cleared out from the Welfare box, but Rutherford didn’t even break stride as he met the clearance perfectly on the half volley from 25 yards and his left foot screamer raged into the roof of the net inside the post with keeper Dibaga helpless to do anything about it and the Premier League champions had their noses in front. Welfare’s Shyngle showed real tenacity to bring the ball away from Currie near the edge of the Whitehill box after twice winning the tackles. Tranent were in the ascendancy now and keeper Dibaga took no chances as he turned an angled 15 yard drive from Maughan over the bar. Rutherford then sent McIntosh down the left and his pass inside found Currie who tried to pick his spot in the far corner from 20 yards, but home keeper Dibaga pushed the ball wide at full stretch. With 72 minutes gone, the home side brought on Dene Shields for Thomson. However the killer goal arrived after 76 minutes when Maughan’s pace again got him free down the right flank and he got his head up before picking out McIntosh at the near post and he opened up his body to cushion a nice left foot finish home from six yards to double the visitors advantage. Welfare kept coming and Miller sent a nice ball to the edge of the Tranent box which was misjudged by Rutherford but O’Neill saw his header slide off his head and bounce straight to keeper Mason. Twelve minutes from time, a bit of frustration saw Weir of Whitehill cautioned for kicking the ball away after giving away a foul and at this point, Tranent replaced Murphy with Ben Miller. A minute later, Welfare keeper Dibaga had his angles spot on again as he turned another Maughan drive over the top, before the keeper then distinguished himself with the save of the match shortly afterwards as he somehow got down low to his right to block a rasping low drive from Somerville with a strong right hand. Currie and McIntosh played a one two on the edge of the Welfare box, but Currie couldn’t wrap his foot around the shot and Dibaga made an easy catch. Eight minutes from time, Whitehill made a triple switch with McKinlay, Burrows and Burns making way for Ryan Hodge, Jason Howie and Eusebio Mendez. On 86 minutes, Shields sent McIntosh down the flank but keeper Dibaga was there once more to drop onto the low cross. A minute from time, the ever willing Maughan again got forward to drive over the home crossbar again from around 20 yards but as the final whistle went, a much improved performance in the second half from the visitors enabled them to run out fairly comfortable winners over a Whitehill side who finish the season looking a much more organised side than earlier in a disappointing season. This result sets up a mouth watering League Cup final on Sunday between League champions Tranent and the newly crowned East of Scotland Qualifying Cup winners Linlithgow Rose for what will surely be a fitting climax to a fantastic EOS season.

Written by: Russell Aitken

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