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Saturday Sport on 16th July with Derek Hall’s report on Easthouses Lily V Bathgate Thistle

todayJuly 16, 2022


Easthouses Lily 0-4 Bathgate Thistle

A beautiful summers day greeted the players and spectators for an interesting pre season friendly between Easthouses Lily and Bathgate Thistle and the heat would definitely be a factor in this one. It was a perfect start for the visitors as they took the lead with under two minutes on the clock with a goal that the home defence will have nightmares about. Bathgate keeper Sean Brown launched an orthodox clearance straight down the middle and a hesitant Lily defence committed the cardinal sin of not attacking the ball and allowed it to bounce not once but twice and Thistle’s Jordan Rodger couldn’t believe his luck as he was able to toe poke the ball inside to Stephen McLay who rolled the ball home, while the inquest began between home keeper Daniel Simpson and his defence into what had gone wrong, with the simple answer being just about everything. Lily carved out a pretty decent chance on six minutes when Jai Whyte sent a free kick into the Thistle box and the clearance dropped for Ali Adams who tried to place his low left foot 15 yard drive into the far corner and a slight deflection meant Thistle keeper Brown’s dive to turn the ball past the post was an excellent save. Adams was involved four minutes later as he did well to retrieve the ball on the goal line and cut the ball back into the Thistle penalty area where Cammy McBeth fired wide from around ten yards on the half volley. However after twelve minutes the visitors doubled their advantage as Glenn Thomson was quickly onto a loose ball in midfield and he slid a lovely ball down the channel which saw a foot race between McLay and home keeper Simpson which the Thistle striker won and he sidestepped the Lily last line of defence on the edge of the penalty area before calmly rolling the ball into the empty net from around fourteen yards. Lily responded two minutes later as a driving run from Lewis Sives ended with the midfielder firing a powerful 25 yard right foot drive a yard over. At the other end, the dangerous McLay played in Kyle Mowatt but Mark Brown stayed big to block the shot. On 18 minutes, Adams sent a 30 yard drive well over for Lily, but the Easthouses centre forward was certainly showing a willingness to get his shots away. A mid half water break saw Thistle replace Rodger after he took a knock near halfway and Kenneth Knox came on in his place. Adams flashed another 25 yard angled drive across the face of the Thistle goal area and just wide of the far post after 25 minutes, and Gary Shearer wasn’t far away from getting a touch. After 28 minutes, Adams of Lily and Thistle’s Knox were both warned by referee Dale Kerr for a bit of off the ball nonsense while we awaited the taking of a throw. On the half hour, Lily keeper Simpson took no chances as he parried a thirty yard free kick from Thomson round the post. McBeth then got up highest inside the Thistle box to send an eight yard header wide from a corner and the home side continued to create half chances without quite managing to work keeper Brown hard enough. However on 32 minutes, Thistle extended their lead when Mowatt outpaced his cover down the left flank and raced into the Lily penalty area and his powerful low drive brought out a brilliant block from keeper Simpson but the loose ball fell perfectly for McLay who had the simplest of tasks to sidestep the grounded keeper and clip the ball home from six yards to claim his hat trick. Lily continued to come forward and a chip into the Thistle box saw Michael Hunter try to lob keeper Brown but he managed to fingertip the ball away before it was then scrambled clear. Hunter was again involved three minutes from the break as he drove strongly forward but was forced slightly wide on the edge of the Thistle penalty area and his left foot low drive lacked pace, allowing keeper Brown to save comfortably. Adams fired in another angled drive which keeper Brown was right behind, but at the break it was the hat trick from McLay which was the difference between the two sides, perhaps a little harsh on the home side who had tried to come forward at every opportunity but they lacked the clinical finisher which the visitors had in their no10.
Bathgate made three half time changes to get some fresh legs onto the pitch on a very warm afternoon and there would be a number of other personnel changes for both sides during the second period. Knox was almost played in by Ally McInnes for the visitors on 48 minutes as a static Lily defence stood off him but a poor first touch allowed Lily keeper Simpson to grab the ball eight yards out. On 52 minutes, a Thistle corner dropped for Seb Tinning thirty yards out but his drive was blocked by Hunter who stayed big on the edge of the penalty area. A minute later, McLay was in again for Thistle but this time his drive didn’t cause keeper Simpson any problems. Just after the hour, it was almost four for the visitors when a thumping fourteen yard Thomson header from a corner was headed off the line by Brown and Grant Forrester’s follow up drive was saved by keeper Simpson. This was to prove the keepers last involvement as at the next stoppage, he was replaced by former Preston Athletic keeper Craig Pennycuik. On 63 minutes, Shearer sent a decent low cross into the Thistle box and Hunter was only inches away from getting a touch to reduce the deficit. Shearer then fired in a right foot 25 yard drive which Thistle keeper Brown got right behind before, on 71 minutes, Bathgate added a fourth. A ball into the penalty area was controlled by Jake McCreadie who then lashed a twelve yard drive off the face of the crossbar and when the ball was played back in, McInnes was there to turn the ball home from six yards. A short passback had McInnes interested again minutes later but keeper Pennycuik was alert and got the ball away from danger. Lewis McKenzie should have set up another goal for Thistle with twelve minutes remaining but his pass to the wide open Thomson wasn’t the best. Eight minutes from time, Lily’s Lee Smith went into referee Kerr’s book after he recklessly lifted his boot and caught Tinning on the head, there was no intent at all but the yellow card wasn’t an unexpected outcome. Three minutes from time, McInnes was rightly penalised for offside but the Bathgate forward decided this was just the right time to get his nomination in early for daftest caution of the season as he picked up a yellow card from referee Kerr for dissent, at 4-0 up, in a friendly, with just minutes remaining ! A minute from time, McInnes beat the offside trap and went through to the edge of the Lily box but pulled his left foot drive wide of both keeper Pennycuik and also the far post, and he must have wished the referees whistle had perhaps gone this time to spare his blushes, as he should certainly have done better. Nevertheless, a very comfortable victory for a Bathgate side who looked good at times and were in the main clinical when chances presented themselves. Easthouses worked hard but never quite managed to put their visitors under any sustained pressure, and they certainly need to cut out the daft mistakes at the back quickly.

Written by: Russell Aitken

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