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Derek Hall’s report Tranent v East Stirling

todayJuly 12, 2021


Report on10th July

Tranent 1-0 East Stirling
A good test for today’s East Lothian hosts Tranent as Foresters Park welcomed Lowland League East Stirling, with today’s match being the last Saturday pre season fixture before next weekends big kick off. First on the attack were the visitors as Rodden sent a long pass down the left flank but Young’s touch was heavy as he tried to outpace Thomson. On six minutes, casual defending by Whitson saw him dispossessed by Hamilton who found Young and home keeper Swain had to make an excellent block with his legs to keep the game scoreless. However Whitson then redeemed himself just seconds later after a nice passing move saw Young in the Tranent box again but the big defender denied him with a great tackle. Tranent finally registered an attack after twelve minutes when some nice interpassing saw Knox fizz in a shot from 22 yards which went about a yard over. They came even closer on the quarter hour when Millers shot was deflected to Smith who placed the ball past Connelly in the visitors goal only to see it hit the base of the post and with the rebound only half cleared, Knox took the ball on the half volley but an East Stirling body got in the way. Just seconds later, Stevenson dropped a lovely cross to the back post and Knox’s eight yard volley from a tight angle saw keeper Connelly turn the ball behind, with Stevenson finding the head of Smith from the resultant corner and the ball flashed across goal and just wide. A foul on Miller then presented Knox with a further opportunity from the 24 yard free kick but this one was a yard over. Renfrew then got wide down the right flank but his inviting cross low through the Tranent penalty area found no takers, before a lovely whipped corner from Rodden saw H Thomson with a vital saving header for the home side. With 24 minutes gone, Young bustled to the edge of the Tranent penalty area but keeper Swain was quickly out to make the block and was then first up from the ground to complete the clearance. Rodden then tested Swain with a 30 yard drive which the keeper dived to save low to his left, before Hamilton sent a 28 yard free kick over the bar after H Thomson had handled. After 34 minutes, Renfrew ended a nice move from the visitors by smashing in a powerful angled drive from 15 yards which Swain did brilliantly to not only save but hold at full stretch low to his right as the ball went across him. Tranent immediately moved to the other end and Miller pounced on some slack midfield play to feed the ball to S Thomson whose 23 yard drive had keeper Connelly scrambling as the ball just slipped past the base of the post. Rutherford then found Lander and when his cross came over, Knox missed his kick entirely from around eight yards before Smith clipped over a lovely cross which Lander volleyed sweetly home, only for the Tranent mans’ joy to be cut short by referee Allan for offside. On 38 minutes, Tranent’s Miller was cautioned by referee Allan for complaining the game had restarted too quickly after a stoppage shortly before the very busy Young once again got into the home penalty area but his contact was poor and the ball ran harmlessly wide and then the same player headed a difficult chance from a Rodden cross wide at the back post. Young wasn’t for giving up and only a brilliant recovery tackle from H Thomson to first block and then bring the ball away, denied the East Stirling No 9. Almost on half time, Knox fed a pass to S Thomson who cut back inside his man, only to then drift his left foot drive over the Stirling crossbar from the edge of the box, so all square at the break in a nip and tuck first half where both teams had spells of possession without making them count.
Two minutes into the second period and Lander just couldn’t grow to get to a Knox cross, before referee Allan had a strong word with home defender Whitson who registered his displeasure at being pinged for handball. With 54 minutes gone, Watson got free inside the Tranent box and only another brilliant block by the legs of keeper Swain kept things level. Smith was then pulled down around 8 yards outside the East Stirling box and S Thomson stepped up to hit the set piece but probably wished he hadn’t as the ball took off into orbit ! Three minutes later a brilliant inswinging corner for Knox somehow missed everyone in the visiting goal area and at the back post Wringe’s touch let him down, possibly expecting the ball to have been in the back of the net, rather than reaching him. However just before the hour, it was the home side who deservedly took the lead as Doherty pounced on a loose ball and strode into the box before very calmly lifting the ball over the oncoming keeper Connelly and the former Bonnyrigg Rose man was already turning for home as the ball rolled in at the post, a nice composed finish. Four minutes later, Bauld bulleted in a header from another Knox corner, but referee Allan had spotted a push and it was still 1-0. As the Tranent pressure began to build, Stevenson clipped in a nice ball which Lander only just failed to make contact with about six yards out and then there were muted claims for a spot kick from the home side as Wringe went down on the edge of the box, but Murphy took his protest too far and became the games’ second caution, after Duncan drifted a dangerous cross over Swain’s back post. The visitors were finding it difficult to make any real chances, with a speculative angled shot on the turn from Turner which was a couple of yards wide their nearest effort of note. On 73 minutes, Anderson and Wringe worked a lovely one two to send the former into the penalty area, but a superb recovery tackle from McColm rescued the situation for the visitors. With a quarter of an hour left, Duncan moved past a somewhat flat footed home defence but then dragged his shot wide much to the relief of keeper Swain. Tranent raced to the other end and keeper Connelly made an important block at his near post as Doherty worked his way along the goal line before getting his shot away. Turner of East Stirling became referee Allan’s third caution of the day for dissent after 79 minutes before H Thomson got his head to a Knox corner without troubling keeper Connelly. Rutherford then found Wringe but he sat back on his shot and skied the effort well over before Ure was warned for a fairly hefty challenge at the halfway line on Murphy. A driving run from Murphy saw him feed Wringe but his pass to Smith inside the Stirling penalty area saw him crowded out. On 85 minutes, another foul on Murphy then saw Rutherford have a go from 30 yards but this effort was probably even higher than the earlier one and is possibly now a satellite ! Three minutes from time almost saw the game levelled up as a long ball to Duncan tempted keeper Swain from his line and although the striker was driven wide, he managed to pull the back to Turner and his glancing flick from around seven yards just slipped past the far post. Right on the 90 minutes, Doherty cut in from the right wing but his left foot effort lacked power and keeper Connelly had it covered. In the end a thoroughly deserved win for the home side who, despite one of two scares, dominated both chances and possession in the second half, and they can look forward with some confidence to the competitive games to come following a commendable win over their Lowland League opponents.

Written by: Russell Aitken

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