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Tuesday Sport on 5th July, Derek Hall’s report, Newtongrange Star v Edinburgh South

todayJuly 8, 2022


Newtongrange Star 7-0 Edinburgh South

A beautiful evening at New Victoria Park for a Midlothian pre season friendly as Newtongrange Star hosted near neighbours Edinburgh South. After four minutes, a foul by South’s Calum Begg on Chris Robertson gave Star skipper Adam Nelson the chance to deliver a free kick deep into the South box but when the clearance fell to Ryan Porteous, he couldn’t get any power on his shot. However Star were ahead two minutes later when visiting keeper Ryan Taylor’s goal kick was headed back straight down the middle and Dean Ballantyne raced onto the ball before calmly stroking the ball home underneath the keeper from 16 yards. South’s Declan Quinn dispossessed Porteous in midfield and moved forward towards the Star penalty area, but Porteous got himself back and took the ball off the South centre forward before he could get a shot away. After twelve minutes, the home side doubled their advantage when a lovely through ball by Porteous saw Ballantyne beat the South offside trap and from the edge of the box, he deftly lifted the ball over Taylor and the ball dropped in off the underside of the crossbar for a classy finish. South tried to respond immediately as Jacob Riley and Quinn combined to set up William Scott who got across the face of the Star penalty area but his left foot drive was blocked. At the other end, Nelson found Chris Robertson who then fed Liam Peden and his excellent cutback from the goal line went right through the South penalty area but nobody of a blue persuasion had gambled and made the run inside. After nineteen minutes, Jordan Cropley had a go from long range for South, but Star keeper Liam McCathie was right behind the effort. A minute later, a back post ball picked out Liam McIntosh in the South box, but he decided to have a lash with his left foot from fourteen yards and the ball was off for a nature ramble in the trees behind the goals. However the game looked dead and buried after 21 minutes when Nelson fed McIntosh down the left flank and he delivered an early cross which found Robertson arriving at the near post and he opened up his body nicely before guiding the ball home just inside the post from seven yards past the helpless Taylor for number three. South were unable to impose themselves on the game at all and even when Cropley did well to intercept in midfield, his pass out wide saw the ball slip under the boot of Stuart Martin and was pretty typical of their night so far. On the half hour, Porteous found Ballantyne again and his right foot 20 yard drive brought out a good diving save high to his right by Taylor who then held the ball as he fell to the ground. The Star striker was involved again two minutes later as he got onto a Peden pass, but this time his lob had too much on it and drifted over the bar. Cropley and Ross Brady then did the spadework for South which allowed Martin to deliver a nice back post cross but nobody had read his intention and a decent ball drifted harmlessly wide. South’s best chance of the half by far arrived after 37 minutes when Quinn found Martin down the left flank and his cross from the goal line picked out Scott who had to generate all the power on his nine yard header himself and which saw a combination of keeper McCathie and the base of the near post somehow kept the ball out and preserved the three goal lead. Two minutes later, Ballantyne sprinted down the right flank for Star and his low ball across left Robertson with a tap in from no more than six yards but somehow the Star man managed to skew the ball wide of the gaping net. With 42 minutes gone, McIntosh put Robertson away down the left flank and his pull back from the goal line ran through to the arriving Steven Tait who knocked another glorious chance over the South bar from ten yards. Robertson then flashed another excellent cross through the South goal area and Ballantyne was only inches away on the stretch from a first half hat trick as play continued to flow towards the South goals. However on 44 minutes, Tait found Robertson just inside the South box and this time he found exactly the right contact as he clipped a right foot effort up and over the stranded Taylor for goal number four. However Star weren’t finished and from the kick off, the ball went to Peden and his through ball saw Robertson once again split a static South defence and from sixteen yards he placed his right foot curling shot past Taylor, a composed finish for his hat trick. There was one final act of defiance from South a minute into stoppage time as they were awarded a free kick 25 yards out but Quinn’s drive high over the Star defensive wall was heading for the car park as the half time whistle sounded and a dominant first half performance had delighted the home support, but it had been a strangely flat opening period from a South side who normally make life very difficult for any side they play, but not on this occasion.
The half time interval brought the obligatory friendly match personnel changes but it didn’t change the overall flow of the game and on 48 minutes, another ball into the channel saw Ballantyne again sprinting into the South box and he drew keeper Taylor before rolling a nice finish into the far corner of the net to complete his hat trick. It got worse for South three minutes later when yet another clipped ball into the inside left channel which had caused the Edinburgh side problems all night picked out Ballantyne and as he went into the penalty area, he was impeded by Begg and referee Tommi Kerr pointed to the spot. Liam McIntosh did the honours for number seven as he found the bottom corner with his right foot despite Taylor going the right way. Ballantyne and Robertson seemed to be forming a real understanding up front for the home side and a lovely one two between them with a sublime back heel involved saw Robertson bring out a really good block from South keeper Taylor. At the other end, some very casual play after 58 minutes from Star keeper McCathie gave away a free kick nineteen yards out and this time Quinn’s set piece was only inches wide as it raged past the far post. South finally had some concerted possession so it was once again disappointing as they forced two corners but both deliveries failed to beat the first defender. Despite the friendly tag, Star captain Nelson made his opinion known to the referee and got himself a ticking off from the referee for his trouble. After 66 minutes, Quinn spotted Star keeper McCathie off his line and had a go from inside the centre circle and the ball didnt miss by much as it drifted over. On 69 minutes, another raft of changes were made from both sides, including a change between the sticks for Star as Owen Hayward replaced McCathie. Two minutes later, Logan Imrie raced down the Star right flank and picked out Robertson whose left foot half volley brought out a magnificent block from keeper Taylor, and Ballantyne could only turn the rebound onto the post from a very tight angle. A 77th minute Nelson corner found the head of Scott Hay at the back post but the header was well wide of the South goal and he was clearly disappointed he hadn’t done better. Five minutes from time, another ball down the channel almost had Ballantyne in again but South keeper Taylor was out to dive on the ball at the edge of his box and he was called into action once more a minute later to beat Imrie to the ball. The last action of the game came in the 89th minute as Imrie sent a free kick well over the top for the home side, but the final whistle saw a really emphatic result for a Newtongrange side who played some very decent stuff at times and who are clearly determined to get themselves back into the Premier League at the first time of asking. For South, a disappointing night but there is plenty of time to sort things out before the real action begins and to get back to the high energy, high tempo football which more often than not is a feature of their play and which caused opponents plenty of problems during last seasons campaign.

Written by: Russell Aitken

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