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Derek Hall’s report Penicuik Athletic v Haddington Athletic

todayJuly 12, 2021


Report 4th July

Penicuik Athletic 1-2 Haddington Athletic
An overcast muggy day as the home side welcomed their visitors from East Lothian and two of the best footballing sides I saw last season locked horns in an exciting looking pre season fixture. After Kateleza had been flagged offside for the home team, Haddington moved to the other end and McGarry did well to get to the goal line but a deflection took the pace off his cutback and keeper Watt was able to gather the ball. A nice one two between Furness and Tansey saw the former swing in a cross towards Lamb but Cornet in the away goal was up to take the high ball. Auriemma was then a little short with a passback but keeper Cornet remained calm under pressure from Kateleza and safely tidied things up. Lamb had a go from fully 30 yards for the home side but the shot drifted well wide before at the other end, Hill fed Auriemma who had a go from a similar distance but his shot was well over. Lamb released Tansey down the left flank and he put an inviting ball into the heart of the Haddington penalty area but there was no support and the ball across went begging. Penicuik probably had the edge at this point and on the quarter hour, Lamb tried his luck again with another low 25 yard drive which took a deflection off the foot of Watson and Cornet readjusted really well to make the save. Three minutes later Haddington went close as a Hill free kick from almost 30 yards certainly had home keeper Watt interested as it flashed just over the bar and the Haddington midfielder was involved in the best chance of the match so far just 60 seconds later when his first time pass released King to race into the box and his low 14 yard drive across the face of Watt’s goals was brilliantly pushed behind at full stretch by the keeper. On 23 minutes, Reid was pulled down right on the edge of the visitors box by Simpson and Tansey drove the free kick straight into the wall, before Kateleza was then spoken to by referee Mark Harris for a foul on Auriemma. With 28 minutes gone, Kateleza moved into the box and his low ball across came off Lamb and eventually reached Reid who managed to round keeper Cornet but was driven wide and his final angled effort was headed off the line by Aitchison. With ten minutes remaining in an exciting first period, a King drive from around 20 yards was blocked and came back to him and he took a nice touch before firing in a second low drive which Watt did well to push behind down at his post. Watson of Haddington then received a strong warning from the referee for a somewhat robust midfield challenge and at this point the visitors were having a very decent spell. That good play was rewarded in the 41st minute when Auriemma played a lovely inswinging corner to the near post and Hill lost his marker with an intelligent run before clipping the ball home beautifully using the outside of his right foot to cushion a placed volley past the helpless Watt from eight yards. However with the visitors within touching distance of going into the break holding the advantage, Penicuik equalised on the stroke of half time with a goal which was simplicity itself as Baptie curled a pacey cross into the heart of the Haddington penalty area tempting Cornet from his line and Reid arrived late to glance a lovely header into the corner of the unguarded net to get the home side back on terms. Half time and all square in an enjoyable contest and this one remained too close to call.
Within 30 seconds of the restart, Haddington almost worked the same near post corner routine as Auriemma once again found Hill at the near post but this time the effort was blocked. On 50 minutes, McGarry released Auriemma down the right flank and when his cross dropped at the back post, there were muted claims for handball against Baptie but referee Harris was unimpressed. Two minutes later, the home side were almost ahead as the impressive Reid picked up the ball in midfield and simply out paced the visiting defence before unleashing a thunderous right foot drive from the edge of the box which brought out a tremendous save from Cornet, his strong right hand pushing the ball up onto the top of the crossbar and over for the corner. Baptie took the set piece and this time one of many second half substitutes, Somerville, sent a flashing near post header across the face of goal and just wide. On 55 minutes home keeper Watt was careful to ensure a snap shot from the edge of the box by King was going wide before at the other end, the ever alert Somerville was onto a loose ball and from around 35 yards wide on the right, he tried to catch Cornet out with a first time effort, but the keeper was on top of the situation. Almost on the hour, a Lamb pass sent Tansey to the edge of the box where he was clipped by Aitchison and from the resultant free kick, Baptie curled his low left foot free kick round the wall and keeper Cornet took no chances and pushed the slippery ball behind as the rain was now falling fairly steadily. On 67 minutes, Tansey found Reid who laid the ball back to Tansey and his 22 yard effort on goal struck his team mate Somerville who was flagged offside. Lamb then clattered into the back of Simpson who commendably got up without any fuss and probably saved the Penicuik midfielder from at least a ticking off. Congalton then had a go from around 20 yards for the visitors and keeper Watt was once again in action making a routine save from a slight deflection. Hill then put over a really dangerous teasing cross and as home keeper Watt dived to make the save, Page took no chances and turned the ball behind. However, it was the visitors who were to break the deadlock after Simpson was fouled just on the edge of the box, almost on the goal line. Auriemma clipped a nice ball to the edge of the six yard box and Lamb then inexplicably palmed the ball away from above his head and referee Harris had no hesitation in awarding the spot kick. Hill stepped up to cooly stroke the ball into the bottom right corner sending Watt the wrong way and with just over ten minutes remaining, the visitors had their noses in front once more. Forbes did well to clear another dangerous Hill cross before Auriemma then fired over from around 24 yards and the visiting captain was clearly annoyed he hadn’t done better. Three minutes from time another superb ball in from Auriemma picked out Lough who slipped the ball past keeper Watt but the ball went just wide and the chance of a clinching goal was gone. Almost on full time, Penicuik came so close to conjuring up the equaliser as Tansey drove forward and found Furness who clipped a short pass to Lamb and he laid the ball back into the path of Tansey who didn’t break stride as he fired in a brilliant 25 yard left foot drive which smacked off the base of the left hand post with keeper Cornet rooted to the spot and completely beaten. That was to be the last chance of a really enjoyable encounter between two teams who know how to pass the ball around and gave the fans in attendance some excellent entertainment. Penicuik have a wee bit of a different look this season as manager Tony Begg integrates some new faces into his set up, but as usual Paul Tansey was really busy up front and both he and Nicky Reid carry a real threat along with the reliable Aaron Somerville. Haddington will be delighted with their performance and Joe Hamill has assembled a squad who look to be certain challengers at the top of their conference and in Gabri Auriemma and Shaun Hill, they have influential players who can really affect the outcome of matches.

Written by: Russell Aitken

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