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Season 2016-17 review

Season 2016/17 – A review

We had joy (maybe some) and we watched in rain/snow/sun.  So Terry Jacks almost sang in 1973 and if he had, he would have summed up season 2016-17 for me.  (I’ve no idea where I am going with this either.)

Season 2016-17 started for us at Tynecastle, as Hearts faced Infonet Tallin in a Europa League Qualifying 1st Round, 1st leg tie.

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That first game of the season came on 30 June when everyone is supposed to be on a beach somewhere.  If you wonder why the debate about summer football seems to have dissipated recently, it’s because it is already happening!

The season saw us take in 119 and a half games and see exactly 400 goals.  The half came about when we had watched Whitehill Welfare v Abbey Vale in the South Challenge Cup, then raced to East Peffermill to see the second half of Edinburgh University against Wigtown and Bladenoch in the same competition.  (The solitary goal was scored in the first half.)

We watched 115 different teams and saw games in many competitions, including the Scottish Premiership, Championship League One and Two, the Lowland League, the East Superleague, West Super League Premier, East Premier League, East Region South League, East of Scotland League. We also attended various play-off matches in many of these competitions.

There were several visits to cup ties in many different competitions, including the Scottish Cup, Scottish Junior Cup, East of Scotland Cup, City Cup, King Cup, Lowland League Cup, East of Scotland Qualifying Cup, East of Scotland Shield, Fife & Lothians Cup, South Challenge Cup and King Cup.  Some of these were semi-finals or finals.

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In England, we saw games in the Premier League, Championship and Leagues One and Two, as well as the Northern League Division One.

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We also managed a couple of Europa League qualifiers (and of course pre-season games).

We properly engaged with women’s football in Scotland and attended games in the Scottish Women’s Premier Leagues 1&2 as well as the Scottish Cup and Champions League.

There were many highlights.  East Stirlingshire at Civil Service Strollers in August when the visitors won 8-3, a fantastic Women’s Scottish Cup tie between Hearts Ladies and Hutchison Vale Ladies which Hearts won 4-3 after extra time, the sight of Bayern Munich Ladies in full flow at Easter Road in the Champions League, Haddington Athletic winning on penalties against Shotts Bon Accord after a 3-3 draw in which Haddington were 3 down with 13 minutes left, Oxford United’s 3-2 win at Bury in December, Kirkintilloch Rob Roy’s 4-3 win at Penicuik in the Junior Cup 5th Round, Leith Athletic’s incredible 7-2 win over Tynecastle in the semi-final of the King Cup, Brechin’s play-off final win at Alloa Athletic in an incredible topsy-turvy game which was finally settled on penalties. Tranent’s double cup win, etc etc.

It hasn’t all been about the games though.  There have been several memorable incidents.  These included:

The Thorn Athletic players referring to each other as “big man” or “wee man”, apart from the goalkeeper, who was called “Liam” by them all.

The Spartans v Airdrie pre-season friendly where, with three minutes to half time, a woman behind me asked her companion “Are Spartans in blue?”

The Civil Service Strollers player giving a team mate a hard time for not marking anybody, before having it pointed out that the man he had been marking was in the process of going off after being substituted and his replacement hadn’t come on yet.

Members of the Easthouses Lily team sending texts to other team members saying that the manager had told them to turn up dressed smartly.  This led to them cheering every time a squad member turned up in a shirt and tie.  One player had to “go to Tesco” to get some trousers as he didn’t have any and only had £20 left until payday. 

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Bonnyrigg Rose manager Robbie Horn on the touchline hit by the ball in a very tender area, with players and fans of both teams expressing their concern by pissing themselves laughing.

The East Stirlingshire fans telling a linesman that an offside decision he made had been a guess.  He replied with “Every one is a guess”.

The club official running the line at Dunbar United being asked by his mate behind the barrier what a free kick had been given for, and him replying “Dunno.  I wasnae watching”.  The same person running the line later in the game with his flag in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.

The tannoy announcer at Ainslie Park for the Leith Athletic v Cumbernauld Colts Scottish Cup game playing music through his phone over the loud speakers at half time, with the crowd suddenly treated to hearing his ringtone for a good 60 seconds as his phone received a call.

Pollok’s Tam Hanlon complaining to the linesman about being given offside.  The flag bearer responded with “You were well off.  You know it and I know it.”  He followed this up by putting his finger to his lips in a ‘shushing’ motion to the Pollok manager on the other side of the pitch who was telling him that was third one he had got wrong.

A Motherwell fan helpfully offered his glasses to the officials in a home game against Celtic.

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The parrot sitting on the bar at Linlithgow Rose and Hearts Ladies captain Megan Paterson being told off by her mum for swearing and being told she wouldn’t get any tea.

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It wasn’t all good of course.  Some of the games were so toe curlingly bad that writing them up seemed impossible.  There were several occasions where at least another half dozen layers of clothes were required.  There were also some disgraceful scenes when pies ran out.

Haddington Athletic had the best pies.  Edinburgh University had the best cakes.

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Some teams have a social media presence and are great at replying.  Others don’t seem to get that interaction is key.  Easthouses Lily Miners Welfare and Penicuik Athletic are two that bend over backwards to help.

Some clubs have started writing up the team names and numbers on a board inside the ground, such as Dunbar United, Whitehill Welfare and Kilwinning Rangers.  The biggest problem I have is trying to get team line-ups and it sometimes proves impossible.

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Programmes are good, although for some, it clearly just isn’t cost effective, but Musselburgh Athletic have the right idea, providing team sheets to all.  Edinburgh University include the programme with admission.

Season 2016-17 was the most games I’ve ever seen in a season.  It was hard going at times and keeping up with writing the games up soon afterwards often became undoable.  Having a job and a life gives little time to do them, particularly with the frequency I often go.

Thanks to all who have visited and welcome to anyone new coming across one of my write-ups.  I try to be objective in every game.  You might not agree with my take on things, but I call it as I see it.  I’m usually a neutral regardless of which end I am in.  It might be you that is biased.

Here’s to season 2017-18.

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Featured post

What’s it all about?

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You know that moment when in your team’s biggest game of the season, your lazy but occasionally talented star striker has an opportunity to make or break your entire season if he can just finish this chance?  I think everyone who watches football can relate to that.  (Maybe not the “talented” bit).  These pages will be reports on some of these games.  Who knows, it might be your team’s biggest game of the season.

This will be the home of my reports on the games I attend throughout the football seasons.  The vast majority will be in the Midlothian/Edinburgh area, but I am prone to going further afield than that. Particularly when it gets to the business end of the season.

Season 2015/6 saw me take in 106 matches, which included games in all top four divisions in Scotland, in the English Premier League, League One and League Two, Scottish Cup and League Cup, Play offs, Petrofac Cup, East Superleague, West Super League, Lowland League, Scottish Junior Cup, Scottish Women’s Premier League, Scottish Women’s Cup, East of Scotland Cup, Fife and Lothians Cup, East of Scotland League, East of Scotland League Cup, Anderson Cup, East Region South League, King Cup, Swan Cup and Friendlies and a Testimonial. So something for everyone.  Perhaps.

I will always attempt to call it as I see it, and will try to remain unbiased although this will be more challenging at some games more than others.

Although there can be no promises, I’ll be looking and listening out for the unusual and/or amusing.  Last season’s highlights included:

  • A delay of around 10 minutes at Fauldhouse United, when the match ball went out of the ground and there was no spare;
  • Kelty Hearts striker Callum Smith being frustrated with another ball which sailed over his head and remarking “That’s F*cking jobbies by the way”; and my personal favourite;
  • Hearts Ladies striker Ashley Carse responding to a family member on the touchline who had told her “You’ve got to put those away Ash” – “Right mum.  F*ck’s sake.”

Thanks for looking.

Featured post

Hearts Women v Glasgow Girls

Sunday 18 February 2018, 14.00, Kings Park

Hearts Women against Glasgow Girls in week two of the Scottish Women’s Premier League 2.

We were at Hearts opening fixture the week before when they earned a point in a hard-fought draw at Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale.  Now it was their first home fixture of the new season.

Young midfielder Jenny Smith was on International duty with Scotland’s under 16 side in England (where the Scots beat the Auld Enemy on penalties after a 0-0 draw.)  Ashley Carse had been struggling with the flu but took her usual place in the starting eleven.

We last saw Glasgow Girls in September last year, when they won 4-2 at Kings Park against Hearts.  They went on to finish in second place in the SWPL2 behind Forfar Farmington.  With only one promotion spot up for grabs, they will be hoping to go one better this season.

This year sees the club celebrate its 10-year anniversary and they will be looking for a season to remember.

For the new season, they have signed goalkeeper Beth Hopwood, defender Anna Johnston and forward Lucy McEwan, all from Linlithgow.  The three having all played their first season of senior football last year.

It wasn’t an easy start to the season for Glasgow, up against relegated Aberdeen in their opening fixture.  A 4-1 defeat meant that they were looking to get some points on the board against Hearts.

Around 70 turned up to watch.

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In an unusual turn of events, we were there quite early and saw some of the warm-ups on the pitch.  Hearts looked ready to go, with first captain Megan Paterson inadvertently kicking one of the markers they were passing the ball round and then Kara Kidd controlling a pass which bounced up and hit her in the face.

With three minutes gone, McTear put a Glasgow free kick into the Hearts box and it went all the way to the back post where Ferrol volleyed into the net, but her celebration was halted by the linesman’s flag.

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Glasgow were a bit short with a passback in 4 minutes and Carse took possession for Hearts.  She was forced wide and when she crossed into the box, the ball was cleared.

A through ball in 7 minutes had McEwan running in on goal for Glasgow, but Watson was out of her goal quickly to get there first.

Cameron put in a particularly hefty challenge in 15 minutes and was shown the yellow card.  She looked like she had taken the ball, but the referee was perhaps swayed by the fact he had spoken to her earlier after she had fouled.

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In 21 minutes, Hutchison picked out Carse in the Glasgow box, but a defender got across to block her shot on goal.

Good skill on the left by Gavin in 23 minutes saw her nutmeg a Glasgow defender before playing the ball across to Carse on the edge of the area.  Carse sidestepped a defender then struck for goal.  Hopwood managed to get a hand to the ball, touching onto the crossbar on its way over.

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A great ball from Miller in 26 minutes switched play from Hearts left to right as she found Gavin.  She reached the by-line and her ball across hit Foulds in the face and came to Carse, but she volleyed over.

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Gavin was involved again in 27 minutes when she latched onto a clearance and struck for goal from 22 yards, but her strike was too high.

Paterson got a sore one in 31 minutes when she was caught by McTear, but she managed to shake it off.

Glasgow played a corner short in 33 minutes and it was passed to MacDonald who hit a powerful shot from inside the box, but it was straight at Watson.

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Some nice build up play by Hearts in 35 minutes saw McAvoy pass to Miller on the right.  She got to the by-line and crossed for Dodds at the front post, but she headed wide.

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A cross from the left by Glasgow in 37 minutes looked as if it may have hit the hand of Miller, but the referee made do with a corner, which came to nothing.

Another short corner by Glasgow in 38 minutes saw Ferrol cross into the box and McTear win the header, but it was a comfortable save for Watson.

A minute later Ferrol’s free kick into the Hearts box was to the feet of McPherson, but her shot was well blocked by Paterson to send the ball behind.

Glasgow took off McGuire in 40 minutes although there didn’t look like there was an injury.

Pagliarulo threaded a ball through the Glasgow defence in 42 minutes looking for McAvoy, but she couldn’t quite get there, and the ball ran through to Hopwood.

Good battling from Carse on the right for Hearts in 43 minutes saw her do well to chase the ball down and retain possession for her team.  She passed inside to McAvoy who went to go past Cameron and was brought down for a penalty.

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Pagliarulo stepped up and sent the ball into the corner of the net to put Hearts in front.

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Just before half time a corner into the Glasgow box was headed across and came to Gavin whose shot was blocked by Hopwood but it ran across the goal to Hughes, who gleefully smashed the ball into the net to double the home side’s lead.

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Hearts two up at the break and they had deserved their lead.  Glasgow certainly weren’t out of things though and looked dangerous going forward.

As Glasgow had done in the first half, three minutes after kick off Hearts had the ball in the net.  This time Carse flagged offside as she stroked the ball home.

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Gavin received the ball on the left in 49 minutes and cut inside before letting fly at goal.  Her shot came crashing off the bar and McAvoy stretched to reach the rebound but her acrobatic volley was off target.

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Hearts continued to make the running and in 52 minutes Carse passed to Hutchison on the left.  She cut inside a defender then played the ball back to Carse who hit a first time shot inches wide of the far post.  It looked as though Hopwood may have got fingertips to it to make a fine save, but a goal kick was awarded.

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A good ball forward by Gavin found the feet of Carse in 58 minutes.  With Glasgow’s Cameron running back to challenge, Carse went for goal, but didn’t strike the ball cleanly and it was an easy save for Hopwood.

A minute later McAvoy found Hutchison in the box, but she dragged her shot wide.

Hughes had a shot from distance at the Glasgow goal in 63 minutes but didn’t trouble the keeper.  A shout from the crowd to her that it was “a World Cup shot” was met with Hughes’ reply of “a clearance!”

Glasgow played the ball forward in 75 minutes and Hunter looked like clearing any danger but was a bit short with her pass back and MacDonald was onto the ball in a flash.  She shot for goal, but Watson had raced from her goal and managed to block.  Hughes got back to boot the ball clear.  Hunter required treatment afterwards.

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In 78 minutes, Hall played the ball into the path of Stewart on the right of the Glasgow box, but she drove the ball over the bar.

Hearts’ Carse and Glasgow’s Cameron came together on the half way line in 80 minutes and the Glasgow player stood on Carse’s hand.  She got up and pushed Cameron who then grabbed Carse round the throat.  The referee missed the incident and after consulting with his linesman, no action was taken.

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Hunter went down again in 82 minutes and this time was unable to continue.  Hearts had already used all their subs so they were down to ten.

A cross into the box by Miller from the right in 84 minutes came to Gavin at the back post and she hit the ball on the half volley at goal, but Hopwood got down well to block.

Hearts’ Hutchison was shown a yellow card in 85 minutes for dissent.

MacDonald managed to get a shot away in the Hearts box with 88 minutes gone, but it was well held by Watson.

Good skill by Gavin on Hearts’ left in the first minute of injury time saw her go past a challenge before passing through the defence for Hall, but McPherson had spotted the danger and got back to block her shot.

A good win for Hearts and an impressive performance to give them their first win of the season.  Things don’t seem to be clicking for Glasgow with two defeats from two in their opening games.  There’s a long way to go, but it’s going to be a tight league, so they need to get back to winning ways quickly.

A lot of good performances in maroon with Watson not putting a foot wrong in goal, Paterson winning every challenge in defence, McAvoy and the excellent Pagliarulo showing good skill and passing in midfield and a great performance from Gavin.  Carse also played well and may want to consider getting the flu every week.

Ferrol in midfield and Cameron in defence stood out for Glasgow, with Hopwood performing well in goal.

Although I don’t know why, Glasgow Girls have blocked me on Twitter, so hopefully I have their team correct.

Full Time: Hearts Women 2 Glasgow Girls 0.

Admission: £3

Hearts Women: 1 Ashley Watson, 14 Lynsay Miller, 6 Megan Paterson, 5 Georgia Hunter, 3 Sharon Hughes, 7 Courtney McAvoy (Hall 71), 16 Dani Pagliarulo, 17 Stacey Hutchison, 19 Laura Gavin, 12 Jennifer Dodds (Stewart 71), 10 Ashley Carse (Kidd 81). Subs: 8 Michelle Stewart, 9 Kara Kidd, 15 Lauren Hall.

Glasgow Girls: 1 Beth Hopwood, 16 Charlotte Foulds (Evans 50), 28 Nicole McGuinness, 11 Jayne Cameron, 3 Samantha McPherson, 7 Charmaine McGuire (Sloey), 2 Georgie McTear, 6 Leigh Ferrol, 21 Chloe Docherty, 17 Kirsty MacDonald, 20 Lucy McEwan (Ashe 67).  Subs: 10 Lauren Evans, 12 Gill Sloey, 19 Rachel Ashe.

Referee: ?

Programme: None.

Follow me on Twitter @blowyfootball

Bonnyrigg Rose v Beith Juniors

Saturday 17 February 2018, 14.15, New Dundas Park

Bonnyrigg Rose against Beith Juniors in the fifth round of the Scottish Junior Cup.

The fifth round had thrown up a number of attractive looking ties, but this was the one we decided upon.  It was the ninth Junior Cup tie we’d seen this season.

We last saw Bonnyrigg Rose in the previous round, when they comfortably beat Midlothian rivals Newtongrange Star by five goals to two.  They went into that game in January still undefeated in all competitions.  They’d played two league games since then and won at Lochee United and home to Forfar West End to maintain the run.

Rose sat top of the East Super League after playing 17 games.

Since we had seen them last, Rose added to their squad in the shape of striker Kyle Wilson, who joined on loan from East Fife.

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It had been a number of years since I’d seen Beith in action.

Beith Juniors were formed in 1938 as a successor to the disbanded senior side.  The original team were formed in 1875 and made their way up to the new Scottish Third Division in 1923.  They played in the league for three seasons but were not retained by the league and after the Scottish Football Alliance league decided that it would be solely for First Division’s reserve sides, Beith were without a league.

The Juniors began life in season 1939-40 in the Western League North Division.  They are nicknamed either “The Mighty” or “The Cabes” (short for cabinet makers, which Beith was famed for and had also been the nickname of the senior side.)

Their first season saw them reach the Irvine and District Cup Final and also the fifth round of the Junior Cup.  Beith won their first trophy in 1954-55, winning the Ayrshire Cup Final and two seasons later, picked up the West League Cup.

The ‘60s saw them win their first league title, in 1965, and they won the Ayrshire League again in 1969.  The decade also saw them become the North Ayrshire League Section winners five times as well as winning 8 cups.

Although they spent most of the 1970s challenging for honours, they only had one piece of silverware to show for their efforts, the Ayrshire Cup in 1977-78.

The eighties proved to be just as difficult, with only the League Cup in 1982 to go in the trophy cabinet.  Relegation also came in the eighties, but they soon gained promotion again.

A couple of decades with little in the way of rewards to show for their efforts was rectified in the 1990s with seven cups making their way to North Ayrshire.  They also reached the semi-final of the Junior Cup for the first time.

The new millennium didn’t start well for Beith and relegation came at the end of season 2000-01.  The following season saw them finish in third and qualify for a play-off for a place in the new West of Scotland Super League Division One.  They won home and away against Dalry Thistle to begin life in the Super League.

The cups started to return, with Ayrshire Cup wins in 2003 and 2004 and the North Ayrshire Cup in 2004 and the League Cup in 2005.

Season 2006-07 saw promotion to the West Super League Premier Division for the first time.  The West of Scotland Cup was won in 2009 and then, in season 2009-10, they won the Super League Premier Division.

That league win meant they entered the Scottish Cup the following season and they reached the third round before going out to Second Division Airdrie in a replay.

Just three years after that league success, they were relegated, although they bounced back straight away to begin season 2014-15 back in the Super League Premier Division.

The Ayrshire Cup was reclaimed in 2015-16, but that paled into insignificance somewhat when they also won the Junior Cup for the first time, on penalties, after a 1-1 draw with Pollok.

Last season saw Beith finish in third place in the league.

This season saw Beith win their opening 5 league games to get off to a great start, but they have fallen away a bit since then and now sit in third place after 12 games, five points behind leaders Kilwinning Rangers.

They reached the fifth round of the Junior Cup with a first round bye, and then a 12-0 win at home to Inverness City, a 5-1 win at Crossgates Primrose and then a 6-2 win at Jeanfield Swifts.

Manager John Millar strengthened his squad for this season with the signings of forward David McKenna from Annan Athletic, midfielders Keir Milliken from Auchinleck Talbot, Jamie Cunningham from BSC Glasgow and Joe Bradley and left back Ryan Docherty from Queens Park.

Leaving the club were Josh McArthur, Cameron Elliott and Calum Watt.

Another big Junior Cup crowd at New Dundas Park swelled by a large and boisterous contingent from North Ayrshire.

Rose lined up with a 3-5-2 formation with Hoskins and Brett as wingbacks while Beith went 4-5-1, with Milliken up top on his own.

The opening minutes were fast and furious as both teams looked to get the upper hand.

Good link up play between McGachie and McIntosh in 8 minutes saw the former chasing the ball on the right just outside the box.  Grindlay came out of his goal to send the ball behind for a Rose corner.  Currie’s delivery was met by the head of Hoskins, but he couldn’t keep his effort down.

Beith won a free kick about 25 yards out in 11 minutes and Bradley floated the ball into the box where Nicky Docherty found space to head towards goal.  With Rose keeper Bryan Young a spectator, the ball came back off the post before the defence cleared.

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Frize tried to head the ball back to a team mate from half way in 13 minutes but it was intercepted by McIntosh for Rose.  He strode forward and hit a dipping effort which came back off the bar.

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A ball over the top of the Rose defence in 18 minutes gave Milliken a chance for Beith, but Moyes managed to outmuscle him on the edge of the box and get the ball away.

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McGachie chased the ball into the corner on the right and managed to win a corner for his team off McLaughlin in 20 minutes.  After Currie’s corner was headed behind by a defender he trotted across to take one from the other side, and it was won by Moyes, but his header went wide.

As Beith’s Milliken fought for the ball with Rose’s Young on the by-line in 21 minutes, after the ball had gone out for a Rose goal kick, it looked like the Beith striker had lost a tooth.

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Beith won a free kick on the left level with the penalty spot near the touchline in 26 minutes after Nicky Docherty was fouled by Janczyk.  Bradley’s cross into the box was punched by Bryan Young, but hit Kerr Young, although Rose were able to get the ball away.

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Currie became the first player booked in 30 minutes, after he seemed to catch a Beith player with an elbow during an aerial challenge.

Two minutes later Currie was tripped and it wasn’t clear if it had been McGlinchey or Martin who was the Beith player shown the yellow card.

McIntosh played a clever ball down the left for McGachie in 34 minutes and he took the ball into the box where Sheridan went across to challenge.  McGachie touched the ball forward and was upended by the defender.  Penalty.  Hoskins confidently stroked the ball into the corner to give the home side the lead.

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While I’m fully aware that everyone is biased towards whatever team they support, one of the visiting fans near us seemed to be a law unto himself.  As well as using expletives as punctuation, every foul on a Rose player was met with shouts of “it’s a man’s game!” while every foul on a Beith player should have seen a card for the offender.  I’m not suggesting for a minute this is how all Beith fans are, but that we were a bit unfortunate where we had chosen to stand.

In 42 minutes, Beith’s Martin went down in a heap after going for a header with McIntosh, but he was up relatively quickly, and no foul was given.  (The bloke behind would have had McIntosh in jail.)

Just before the break Rose worked the ball to Hoskins on the edge of the box and his rifled shot was well hit, but wide.

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A tight first half with little between the sides.  Both defences had looked solid and it was not a big surprise that it had taken a penalty to separate them.

Beith brought on McPherson at half time to give Milliken some more support up front.

With just two minutes of the second half gone, Beith’s McLaughlin was cautioned for taking out Gray on the half way line.

As had been the case in the first half, two minutes after a player was booked, the other side were shown a yellow card.  This time it was Rose’s Gray bringing down Frize as he broke forward into the Rose half.

Grindlay took a free kick for offside in 51 minutes and put it deep into Rose territory.  Nicky Docherty headed the ball into the box and it eventually came to McPherson whose overhead kick was straight at Bryan Young.

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A Beith corner in 52 minutes was taken by Bradley and he picked out the head of McLaughlin, but it drifted wide.

McGlinchey was the next player to go down after a challenge in the air in 54 minutes, although this time it looked like team mate Sheridan who had caught him.

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The referee had his yellow card out again in 57 minutes.  This time it was for Beith’s Frize for persistent fouling.

A Rose free kick in 59 minutes was headed across goal and Kerr Young laid the ball off to McGachie, but he could only hit the side netting.

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Frize put a good ball into the Rose box in 61 minutes from the right, but nobody in black and white could get on the end of it.

Rose broke quickly a minute later and Gray found McIntosh on the right.  He played the ball across the box looking for McGachie but Frize slid in bravely to deflect the ball behind.  He required treatment afterwards but was able to continue.

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Beith’s McGlinchey was booked in 64 minutes for fouling Gray.  The lineswoman called the referee across, but he shook his head and carried on.  I had been unsure if it was McGlinchey or Martin who had been booked in the first half and I imagine she was in the same position.  It must have been Martin who was booked.

In 69 minutes McIntosh played the ball with the outside of his foot from the left to McGachie in the middle.  He controlled the ball then went down in the box under challenge, but the flag was up for offside.

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McPherson was brought down just outside the corner of the box on the left in 70 minutes.  McGlinchey took the kick but put it well over the Rose bar.

Rose won a free kick in a dangerous position in 73 minutes when Gray was upended about a yard outside the “D” by McGlinchey.  Currie stepped up but hit the wall with his strike.

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A cross into the Rose box by Christie in 76 minutes was cleared to the edge of the box where Frize had a shot at goal but off balance, he put it wide.

The home side had a chance to break forward in 78 minutes as Kerr Young came forward with the ball on the right.  With Turner free on the left he was unable to pick him out and the ball ran through to Grindlay.

McPherson burst into the box for Beith in 81 minutes but some great defending by Horne got the ball clear.

Rose got McIntosh free on the left in 82 minutes and he got away from McGlinchey to get into the box but with players free in the middle he went for goal and had his shot saved by Grindlay.  The ball came to Nelson on the edge of the box and he played a fine pass to McGachie on the right, but his shot was blocked and cleared.

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Seconds later Rose’s Brett chased the ball with Nicky Docherty into the corner close to the Beith by-line on their left.  Docherty went down as they ran.  With my view obscured by other players I was unable to see the incident, but Brett was shown a straight red and his team were down to ten men.

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With 84 minutes gone a long ball into the Rose box saw McLean go up for a header.  He got there first and was then caught by keeper Young.  Another penalty.  Moyes appeared to be shown a yellow card.

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Although Young looked close to it, McGlinchey stroked the ball into the corner to tie the score.

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Rose’s Kerr Young was booked after the ball hit the net for something he said to the referee.

Before the game restarted Rose’s Hoskins was shown a red card, presumably for something he said, and Rose were down to 9.

McGachie was the next Rose player to go into the increasingly busy referee’s notebook for a foul in 88 minutes.

Right on 90 minutes, Ryan Docherty was booked for Beith for tripping Currie.

Deep into injury time Beith won a corner and when the ball came over, McLaughlin stooped to head into the net from close range to send the visiting fans wild.

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As the players came over to celebrate at the dug-outs, there seemed to be some pushing and shoving with those on the home bench.

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The final whistle went seconds later and Beith were through to the quarter finals.

Kerr Young was shown a red card as he remonstrated with the referee after the whistle.

As the players left the field, there seemed to be a number of fans on the pitch at the steps to the dressing rooms and there were certainly punches thrown, although I couldn’t see from the other end if players were involved, they were certainly in the middle of it.  Reports suggest that a further two Rose players were sent off after the game had ended, but I don’t know what for.

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Fans of both sides seemed to have a number of gripes about refereeing decisions with them debating the penalties and the sendings off.  Both looked penalties from where I was, and I didn’t see the incident which led to the Brett sending off.  It’s impossible to comment on the Hoskins red card as I have no idea what was said.  I’m sure everyone there had their own view of the big decisions.

A very tense and tight affair which could have gone either way.  Beith were starting to put some pressure on before the initial sending off, but Rose had been defending stoutly.  Rose have done a lot over the bad weather to get games to go ahead when everything else in the area was postponed, but this has taken its toll on the pitch which made it difficult for both sets of players.

Although there weren’t that many clear-cut chances it certainly had this neutral entertained, although the scenes after the final whistle were disappointing.  Also disappointing was some of the comments from fans after the lineswoman had given offside following a Beith goal kick.  After the referee had conferred with her he restarted the game with a bounce up.  It was like going back to the 1970s with some of the sexist comments being aired.

Defences were on top and all the central defenders on show performed well.  Other than them, McGachie held the ball up very well for Rose up front and Gray looked a threat.  For Beith, Nicky Docherty impressed at left back and Frize had a fine game in midfield.

Full Time: Bonnyrigg Rose 1 Beith Juniors 2

Admission: £6

Bonnyrigg Rose: 1 Bryan Young, 4 Kerr Young, 5 Ewan Moyes, 6 Alan Horne, 2 Dean Brett, 7 Ross Gray (Turner 74), 8 Neil Janczyk (Nelson 68), 11 Lee Currie, 3 Dean Hoskins, 9 Keiran McGachie, 10 Wayne McIntosh (Martyniuk 87).  Subs: GK Michael Andrews,12 Neil Martyniuk, 14 Lewis Turner, 15 Adam Nelson, 16 Kyle Wilson.

Beith Juniors: 1 Stephen Grindlay, 2 Ryan Docherty, 4 Mark McLaughlin, 5 John Sheridan, 3 Nicky Docherty (Burke 87), 7 Darren Christie, 8 Paul Frize, 6 Tommy Martin (McPherson 46), 10 Conner McGlinchey, 11 Joe Bradley (McLean 72), 9 Keir Milliken. Subs: 12 Ross McPherson, 14 Richard Burke, 15 Kenny McLean, 16 Kevin MacDonald, 17 Jamie Wilson.

Referee: Stewart Luke

Programme: None.

Lothian Hutchison Vale v Kelty Hearts

Wednesday 14 February 2018, 19.30, Saughton Enclosure

Lothian Hutchison Vale versus Kelty Hearts in the semi-final of the East of Scotland League Cup.

We last saw Vale at the end of last season when they beat Leith Athletic to win the East of Scotland league in May.

Vale won 2-1 at Coldstream the Saturday before this game making it 10 wins out of 10 in their league campaign for the season.  They were, however, a team that had suffered with the weather conditions and had played 6 games less than the four teams above them.

They also got behind with their league fixtures after making it to the third round of the Scottish Cup.  After winning by a solitary goal at Kelty Hearts in the first preliminary round, they beat Coldstream 4-0 in Preliminary round two.  In the first round proper they beat Inverurie Loco Works of the Highland League by three goals to two.  Round two saw a remarkable 5-3 win at League Two side Stirling Albion, before they were paired with St Mirren of the Championship.   That was a game too far with the visitors winning by seven goals to one, but a memorable run for all involved with the club.

The semi-final of the League Cup was reached with a 2-0 victory over Peebles Rovers.

Joining Vale this season were midfielders Dean Cummings and Samuel Nhamburo from Edinburgh City, forward Keith Murray from Musselburgh Athletic and Louis Swanson, a winger, from Tynecastle.  Leaving were Eddie Mearns, Jamie Devlin and Scott Taylor-MacKenzie.

When we saw Kelty Hearts last, they were winning at Musselburgh Athletic in the middle of last season on their way to becoming champions of the East Super League.  Things have changed a lot for the club since then.

Kelty’s SFA membership application saw them resign from the Scottish Juniors and join the East of Scotland League.  With the newly joined league a part of the Scottish football pyramid, the intention is clearly for the team to progress into the Scottish football league.  Winning the league sees the chance to get into the Lowland League and from there, Scottish League Two.

In preparation of the new challenges, Kelty made a number of changes to their squad.  Coming in were defender Kenny Adamson from Cowdenbeath, goalkeeper Scott Christie from Bo’ness United, midfielders Ian Nimmo from Arthurlie, Ross Philp from Bo’ness United and Scott Taylor MacKenzie from Lothian Hutchison Vale, forwards Errol Douglas from Newtongrange Star and right back Elliot Ford, who was on loan from Brechin City before making the transfer permanent in January.

Leaving the club were Jack Wilson, Archie Campbell, Devon Jacobs, Josh McPhie, Craig Thomson, David Banjo, Kyle Allison, Kyle Marley and Jordan Moore.  Defender Kenny Adamson, who was signed in July was released in October.  One of the two Neil McCabes on the club’s books has also departed.

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Kelty’s league form had been fantastic.  In the 16 league games they had played, they had won them all, scoring 100 goals in the process and conceding just 7.

On entering the ground, the man on the turnstile tried to tell us it would be £22 for the two of us to come in.  When we told him that wasn’t the case he advised us that “it looks like I won’t be going to Cyprus then.”

There was a crowd of around 100 present, with almost all of them supporting the visitors.

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With three minutes gone, Ford got to the Vale by-line on the right and hammered the ball across the face of the goal.  The ball spun up and looked to hit a Vale hand in the box, but the referee ignored appeals as the ball was cleared.

Philp picked up a loose ball on the edge of the Vale box in 5 minutes but didn’t get enough power in his shot to trouble Swain in the Vale goal.

Hare broke on the right for Vale in 12 minutes and was brought down just outside the box.  The resultant free kick came to nothing.

Kelty won a corner in 14 minutes and Taylor-MacKenzie’s corner was flicked on at the front post by Courts, but Hare booted the ball clear.

Muir had a shot at the Kelty goal from about 23 yards in 15 minutes, but it sailed over the bar.

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A free kick into the Vale box in 17 minutes was headed down to Nimmo, but his volley was high and wide.

A clever ball by Swanson in 20 minutes almost had Hare through on the Kelty goal, but he was unable to control the high ball on his chest and it ran through to Christie.

Taylor-MacKenzie lobbed a ball forward in 22 minutes and Swain came out of his goal to collect.  Kelty’s Dalziel arrived at the same time and the ball broke loose, but the referee gave a free kick to the keeper.

Dalziel committed a couple of fouls in quick succession just after the half hour mark, but the referee was content with having a word with the Kelty striker.

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In 37 minutes, Kelty won a free kick just outside the “D”.  Taylor-MacKenzie took it and got the ball over the wall, but it fell just wide of the post.

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Vale picked up on a loose Kelty pass in 42 minutes and Murray had a go at goal from about 20 yards.  The ball bounced on the muddy pitch right in front of Christie, but he took the ball in his hands very well.

Nimmo picked up the game’s first booking just before half time with what looked like a bit of a two-footed challenge.

Still goalless at the break and although Kelty had started well, Vale had come right back into it and it was very much too close to call.  There had been little in the way of chances in a very tight opening period.

A good run forward by O’Donnell in 47 minutes ended with him playing the ball through the middle for Brown, who was through on the Kelty goal, but the flag was up for offside.

Moore played a fine pass to Murray on the right for Vale in 51 minutes.  He cut inside before playing the ball along the edge of the box looking for a team mate.  Nimmo slid in to intercept the pass and watched in horror as he got a strong connection and it flew past the diving Christie and into the net to give Vale the lead.

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Kelty had a chance for an immediate reply when Ritchie got the ball in the Vale box, but he lashed it wide.

Greig became the second Kelty player to receive a yellow card in 53 minutes.

In 57 minutes, Philp found Dalziel inside the Vale box on the left with a bit of space, but he fired over the bar.

Courts got to the by-line in 59 minutes and pulled the ball across goal for Ritchie inside the Vale six-yard box.  It looked a certain goal but somehow Swain managed to get something on it to deflect the ball clear.

A very late tackle by Vale’s Moore saw him go into the referee’s book in 63 minutes, after bringing down Philp.

Moore was joined in the book by team mate Crawford in 71 minutes.

A cross into the Vale box by Moore in 76 minutes found Sheerin, but he couldn’t find the target with his strike.

Kelty’s Leighton was the next player shown the yellow card and his hefty challenge in 77 minutes caused a bit of a melee between several players on both sides.

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The ball was played down the right from a Vale free kick in 79 minutes and Muir chased the ball down.  From almost on the by-line, he hammered the ball across goal and it was close to finding the net as it flew past.

Taylor-MacKenzie was the next player booked, picking up a yellow for the visitors in 82 minutes.

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A number of substitutions punctuated the final minutes of the game, but there were to be no more chances and Vale were through to the final where they would play the winners of the Leith Athletic and Tynecastle tie.

A tough night for the players with strong winds and it being very cold.  The pitch wasn’t the best and it was touch and go whether or not the game would be played.  It was a game of few opportunities and the nature of the winning goal was testament to that.

The game was played in a decent spirit although it was becoming increasingly tetchy as it progressed.  There was also no love lost between the Kelty fans and the referee.  The visiting support of the mind that he hadn’t been fair with some of his decisions.  I doubt that many valentine’s day cards were exchanged despite the date.

On a night when defences were very much on top, Shala and Munro at the heart of the Vale defence and Muir in the engine room of the midfield were best for them.  For Kelty, the two central defenders, Leighton and O’Neil also fared well, with Greig the pick of their midfield.

With thanks to Vale coach Stephen McKenzie for help with their team.

Full Time: Lothian Hutchison Vale 1 Kelty Hearts 0

Admission: £5

Lothian Hutchison Vale: 1 Kevin Swain, 2 Paul Crawford, 3 Liam O’Donnell, 4 Adrian Shala, 5 Grant Munro, 6 Tony Muir, 7 Willis Hare (Hutchison 81), 8 Kevin Brown, 9 Keith Murray, 10 Dylan Moore, 11 Louis Swanson (Nhamburo 81).  Subs: 12 Jordan Mungall, 14 Charlie Simpson, 15 James Guy, 16 Ryan Hutchison, 17 Samuel Nhamburo.

Kelty Hearts: 1 Scott Christie, 2 Elliot Ford, 3 Conrad Courts, 4 Gary Leighton, 5 Sean O’Neil, 6 Ian Nimmo, 7 Ross Philp (Douglas 84), 8 Shaun Greig, 9 Scott Dalziel (17 87), 10 Brian Ritchie (Sheerin 72), 11 Scott Taylor-MacKenzie.  Subs: GK Michael Gibb, 16 Errol Douglas, Murray Carstairs, Stuart Cargill, 20 Jordyn Sheerin, Neil McCabe.

Referee: Iain Sneddon

Programme: None.

Follow me on Twitter @blowyfootball

Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale v Hearts Women

Sunday 11 February 2018, 13.00, Peffermill 3G

Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale against Hearts Women in The Scottish Women’s Premier League 2.

The opening day of the women’s season and an Edinburgh derby (although Hearts play their home games in Dalkeith.)

We last saw Vale in August, when they won by a single goal against Hearts.  Vale won all three games against Hearts last season, and finished in fourth spot, five points ahead of Hearts in sixth.

The whole Vale squad re-signed for the season ahead and they have added to it too.  Coming in were Yasemin Emek, attacking midfielder Katherine Smart and American students Krissy Williams and Jordan Doak.  It was also good to see that Jane Marshall has returned to the squad after a year out through injury.

Vale will be looking upwards this season, keeping a good squad together and adding even more quality gives them a shot at challenging at the top, although it’s a very tough league with a lot of teams thinking the same.

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Last season was a tough one for Hearts Women.  One of the pre-season favourites for the title, a decent start was spoiled by players moving on to SWPL1 teams and a lot of injuries to key players.

Hearts were starting to look in danger of relegation as the season was drawing to a close but ended up well clear of the trap door.  They finished 25 points behind league winners Forfar Farmington and will be looking to do considerably better this time.

More bad news for Hearts was the retirement of central defender Louise Moultray at the end of the season who had been a big player for a number of years for the Jambos.  She will be a big loss.  They were forced to blood a lot of youngsters last season, but they all have experience under their belts now and will be looking to the men’s team to see the success of several teenagers at Tynecastle.

Hearts have added to their squad in the form of striker Laura Gavin who joined from Spartans.

It was a very cold and windy day in south Edinburgh, but around 60 hardy souls braved the conditions to watch.

With two minutes gone, Gavin played the ball for Carse on the left.  She got to the by-line and cut the ball back into the Vale box.  It was cleared to the edge of the box where Pagliarulo struck for goal, but Shepherd managed to block.

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Hume picked out Clark on the right for Vale in a bit of space in 3 minutes, but she screwed her shot wide.

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Hume latched onto a through ball in 6 minutes and had a sight of the Hearts goal, but under pressure from Kidd, couldn’t get her shot on target.

Vale came forward again in 11 minutes with Emek receiving the ball from Sturrock before finding Hume.  She played the ball across the face of the goal, but there were no takers in the middle.

Gavin took the ball on the left for Hearts in 14 minutes.  She took the ball into the box and cut inside a defender before firing at goal, but Parker-Smith managed to turn the ball over the bar.

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In 18 minutes, Clark took possession for Vale and fired a shot goalwards from about 25 yards out and the ball whistled just past the post.

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Hunter played a clever ball over the top of the Vale defence in 20 minutes and Gavin sprinted away from Stanton into the box.  Parker-Smith came out of her goal and Gavin clipped it past her, but the ball went just wide.

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A cross into the Hearts box by Sturrock in 23 minutes was spilled by Watson at the front post.  The ball was chipped across goal and Emek headed in at the back post.  As Vale began to celebrate the equaliser, they saw the flag up for offside.

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Two minutes later McAvoy received the ball in the Vale box with her back to goal and she was put up in the air by a particularly rash challenge by Boslem.  Penalty.

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Pagliarulo confidently rolled the spot kick into the net to give Hearts the lead.

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Boeckh showed some good skill on the left for Vale in 29 minutes, but the Hearts defence managed to get her cross away.

A miscue by Hearts’ Hunter in 30 minutes saw the ball land at the feet of Boeckh on the left of the visitors’ box.  Her cross/shot was well stopped by the foot of Watson in the Hearts goal.

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The Hearts defence were caught out in 32 minutes when Forker played a ball over the top.  Hume ran onto it but was thwarted by a fine Watson save.

Hearts broke forward in 39 minutes and Carse had Gavin free in the middle, but Stanton managed to block her attempted pass.

A minute before the break Hearts’ Anderson got down the right and crossed into the area.  Parker-Smith was challenged in the air for the ball and it dropped to Gavin who poked the ball over the line, but the referee gave a free kick for the challenge on the keeper.

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Hearts a goal in front at the break although Vale had looked the better side and had dominated the possession.  Both sides had good chances with Hearts possibly having the better ones.  Each had a goal disallowed and as usual, the game between the sides was very tight.

Hearts started the second half well and had a lot of the ball in the Vale half in the opening minutes.

Pagliarulo latched onto a loose ball in 52 minutes and hit a first time shot from about 23 yards out, but it drifted well wide of goal.

Up the other end and Doak made her way to the by-line in 55 minutes but couldn’t pick out a team mate in the middle.

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A nice through ball by Sturrock in 60 minutes sent Hume in on the Hearts goal.  Hunter managed to get back to block her initial shot, but the ball came back to Hume who smashed it into the net to tie the score.

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Hume got the ball in the Hearts box again in 74 minutes, but Paterson got in a challenge to send the ball behind.

A Vale corner in 75 minutes saw an almighty stramash in the Hearts box and the ball looked to come off the arm of Hunter before the defence booted the ball clear.

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Hutchison got a cross into the Vale box in 79 minutes and the ball was eventually played back to Carse on the edge of the box who thumped an effort at goal that went just wide.

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With three minutes left Hume got down the right for Vale and crossed into the middle looking for Williams, but Watson was out of her goal quickly to claim.

In the final minute Gavin passed to Smith just outside the box and she beat a defender before firing at goal, but it was wide of the post.

A very competitive game and the visitors will be more pleased with the point than Vale despite Hearts leading.  Hearts seemed to be surprised in the first half that Vale were playing three at the back and Clark had a lot of space for the hosts on the right.  It also gave Gavin a bit of space on the left for Hearts and both those players were prominent in the opening period.  A double substitution and change of formation at half time by Vale stopped both of those things happening in the second half.

Gavin was a good foil for Carse in the Hearts attack in the first half, but she seemed to play deeper in the second 45 minutes and Carse was increasingly isolated.  When Hearts made late substitutions, they ended up with two up top and Carse was one of the players taken off.

Vale look a good side and played some good football and will certainly be up there at the end of the season.  Hearts battling qualities mean that they may well be challenging too.

Defences were on top throughout, but other than those at the back for both sides, Sturrock, Boeckh and Hume were impressive for the home side, while Pagliarulo and Gavin were best for Hearts.

Full Time: Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale 1 Hearts Women 1

Admission: £4

Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale: 1 Charlotte Parker-Smith, 5 Lucy Stanton, 6 Fiona Boslem, 4 Jude Shepherd, 2 Nicole Clark (Durand-Watson 46), 12 Leanne Forker (Smart 56), 7 Anna Murray (Doak 46), 11 Sophie Boeckh, 10 Nichola Sturrock, 9 Yasemin Emek (Williams 56), 8 Anna Hume, Subs: 3 Gray, 14 Margaux Durand-Watson, 15 Katie MacDonald, 16 Katherine Smart, 17 Jordan Doak, 18 Krissy Williams, 20 Cecelia Bosman.

Hearts Women: 1 Ashley Watson, 14 Lynsay Anderson, 5 Georgia Hunter, 6 Megan Paterson, 9 Kara Kidd, 17 Stacey Hutchison (Dodds 80), 16 Dani Pagliarulo, 7 Courtney McAvoy (Hall 64), 11 Jenny Smith, 19 Laura Gavin, 10 Ashley Carse (Stewart 80). Subs: 3 Sharon Hughes, 8 Michelle Stewart, 12 Jennifer Dodds, 15 Hall.

Referee: ?

Programme: Players list free with admission.

Follow me on Twitter @blowyfootball

Penicuik Athletic v Broxburn Athletic

Saturday 10 February 2018, 14.00, Penicuik Park

Penicuik Athletic against Broxburn Athletic in the East Super League.

We last saw Penicuik in November, when they lost out to Kilbirnie Ladeside in a Junior Cup replay on penalties after a fantastic 3-3 draw.

Penicuik’s great start to the season had them top of the league for a while, but inconsistency had set in a bit since then.  Wins against Newtongrange Star and Kennoway Star Hearts in their last two games had them sitting in third, three points behind leaders Bonnyrigg Rose who also had a game in hand.

Livingston striker Jack Hamilton’s loan ended in January, but Penicuik signed Kyle Sampson from the same club on another loan.  They also signed goalkeeper Thomas Cordery from East Fife.

Aaron Somerville and Lewis Barr were both missing for the hosts through injury.

The last time we saw Broxburn they were losing out in the Fife & Lothians Cup Final in June last year.  We also saw them win at home to Bonnyrigg Rose and away to Bo’ness United in the cup semi.

They finished in eighth in the Super League last season, but after a poor start this term, had worked their way up into fourth going into this game.  Although the weather has put paid to many of their games in recent weeks, their form since the turn of the year has been impressive.  Wins against Forfar West End, Camelon and Broughty Athletic saw them score 16 goals and concede none, including an 8-0 win against Forfar.

Manager Max Christie resigned in November with a new management team of Brian McNaughton (stepping up from Assistant) and Steven Hislop taking charge on the first day of December. They have yet to lose since taking over.

New signings this season for Broxburn were left back Gordon Donaldson from Edinburgh City, midfielder Jack Beesley and defender Chris Townsley from Spartans, keepers Shaun Donoghue from Cowdenbeath and Dawid Paterek from Dalkeith Thistle and on loan from Raith Rovers, left back Euan Valentine.

Leaving the club were Darren Cole, Michael Browne, Stewart Cairns, Alan Lawson, Scott McNaughton, Ross Donnelly, Frazer Paterson and Nathan Donnelly-Kay.

It was a wet afternoon and the game was played on a pitch that was already very cut up.  Around 200 turned up to watch.

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It was interesting to hear Broxburn keeper Wallace tell his team mates he didn’t want pass backs given the state of the pitch, prior to kick off.

As the game kicked off, a local opined that there would be a lot of penalties due to players sliding about, before telling me that I could “quote him on that.”

In the fifth minute a good ball by Scott picked out Miller on the right for Broxburn.  He cut inside before being brought down on the edge of the box.  Anderson stepped up to take the free kick but put it over the bar.

Up the other end a minute later, Jones stole the ball and drove into the box, but saw his shot parried by Wallace.  The rebound came to Jamieson, but he couldn’t react quickly enough to get a shot on target.

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The visitors came forward again in 8 minutes and Anderson saw his shot at goal blocked by Hume and go out to Miller on the right.  He took a touch into the box and then hit a thunderbolt from a tight angle which flew into the top corner.  Although Allison got his fingertips to the shot he couldn’t keep it out and Broxburn led.

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A Penicuik attack broke down in 10 minutes when the referee got in the way and Miller broke forward for Broxburn.  He made his way right into the home box but was stopped by a good Young tackle.

Broxburn had started well and were playing some good stuff, knocking the ball around well.

A mistake by Broxburn’s Linton in 15 minutes gave possession to Jamieson and he turned and shot for goal from 20 yards but his shot clipped the top of the bar on the way over.

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Kateleza was surprised in 16 minutes when his Penicuik team mate MacDonald tackled him on the half way line.  MacDonald had lost his footing and crashed into him.

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In 20 minutes, Kateleza passed to MacDonald, clearly holding no grudges from the earlier tackle, and MacDonald saw his dipping shot come off the bar with Wallace beaten.

Richards had a chance for Broxburn in 21 minutes when the ball came to him on the edge of the box, but he blasted over.

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There was a great chance for Richards right in front of the Penicuik goal in 25 minutes, but Hume somehow managed to get in the way to block the shot and Allison gratefully dived on the ball.

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Young picked up the game’s first yellow card in 26 minutes for a foul on Broxburn’s Murray.

Ponton played the ball to MacDonald on the edge of the Broxburn box in 29 minutes, but his shot was deflected wide.  The corner fell in the heart of the box and Gavin made a great block to stop Young’s drive at goal.

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A cross into the Broxburn box in 32 minutes saw Jamieson challenge keeper Wallace in the air.  The ball dropped to Kateleza who had a great chance to net the leveller, but he blasted high and wide.

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Penicuik were starting to put the pressure on and in 35 minutes Jones found Ponton on the left of the Broxburn box, but the defence managed to get the ball away.

Jones had a strike at goal from 20 yards in the 38th minute which was acrobatically saved by Wallace in the Broxburn goal.

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Some lovely football by the home side in 39 minutes saw Jones play a one-two with MacDonald on the edge of the box to put him through on goal.  As Wallace came out to block, he shot for goal off balance, but it went just wide of the far post.

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Forbes crossed into the Broxburn box in 43 minutes and Jamieson again challenged the keeper in the air.  The ball dropped and Kateleza threw himself at the ball, but his diving header went narrowly past the post.

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In the last minute of the half, a good run by Anderson from half way took him to the edge of the Penicuik box, but he shot straight at Allison.

Still 1-0 to Broxburn at the break and they started the game very well.  As the half progressed, Penicuik were getting on top and had certainly had opportunities to get level.  Broxburn were still looking dangerous on the break though.

In 48 minutes, Broxburn’s Miller broke through on the right and decided to go himself rather than set up better placed team mates in the middle.  Allison managed to get in the way of his shot and the ball rebounded to hit Miller and go behind for a goal kick.

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A cross from the left into the Broxburn box in 51 minutes came to MacDonald whose volley was deflected just wide of goal.

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Murray got down the left for Broxburn in 57 minutes, but under pressure from Young, his shot was too close to Allison who saved comfortably.

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Penicuik got the ball into the box in 58 minutes and Kateleza set up Jamieson, but he didn’t get enough power in his shot to trouble Wallace.

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After the award of a throw-in with 59 minutes gone, Penicuik’s Young and Broxburn’s Murray voiced their opinions to the linesman and both players were shown a yellow card.  I had just finished saying that I thought Young had already been booked when the Broxburn manager shouted to the referee the same thing.  Young was then shown the red card and the hosts were down to ten men.

Murray, who looked as though he had picked up a knock, was replaced by Broxburn in 62 minutes.

Broxburn broke forward in 65 minutes and Miller passed to Anderson on the left side of the box.  He went for goal but didn’t hit it well and Allison saved.

There were home shouts for a penalty in 66 minutes when Kateleza went down in the box, but the referee waved away appeals.

Scott passed through to Miller in the Penicuik box in 71 minutes, but a great tackle by Connelly took the ball away from him.

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Penicuik’s Hume was booked in 78 minutes.

Scott received the ball down the left for Broxburn in 80 minutes and found the feet of Miller in the box.  He sidestepped a defender but struck his shot straight into the hands of Allison.

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In 83 minutes, Broxburn’s Miller was shown a second yellow card for arguing with linesman and it was 10 men each.  Broxburn assistant Steven Hislop was going mad at the decision, but it at least showed some consistency in the refereeing.

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The game was becoming increasingly tetchy as it progressed.

With a minute of regulation time left, Penicuik’s Hamilton was booked for a foul on Anderson, although it looked to me as if he had won the ball.  Anderson took the free kick himself from about 20 yards out and his curling effort was tipped over the bar by a good Allison save.

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As the game entered injury time, Broxburn’s Valentine was cautioned for a late tackle.

Penicuik won a corner in 92 minutes and Baptie picked out the head of Forbes at the back post, but he nodded wide.

In the final minute of injury time, a Penicuik free kick taken by Allison just inside his own half into the box dropped at the feet of Hamilton who poked the ball goalwards.  Everyone stood and watched as the ball hit the post before going into the back of the net for a last gasp equaliser.

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There was just time to kick off again and the final whistle blew seconds later.

A sore one for Broxburn to lose a goal so late, but Penicuik certainly deserved their equaliser.  The visitors had started well but Penicuik had been on top for parts of the game.  The game did ebb and flow with it looking like a leveller was a certainty before Young was sent off.  While Penicuik were still in the game, Broxburn losing a man and attacking substitutions put them back on the front foot and the game very open in the final minutes.

MacDonald and Jones were good for Penicuik in midfield while Scott and Miller were both impressive in the Broxburn side.  Both defences performed well, and the sides tried to get the ball down and play despite the conditions.

Full Time: Penicuik Athletic 1 Broxburn Athletic 1

Admission: £6

Penicuik Athletic: 1 Kyle Allison, 2 Andy Forbes, 4 Craig Hume, 5 Darrell Young, 3 John Williams (Hamilton 84), 7 John MacDonald (Baptie 74), 6 Callum Connolly (Mendes 84), 8 Sam Jones, 11 Arran Ponton, 9 Sean Jamieson, 10 Lumbert Kateleza. Subs: 12 Ryan Baptie, 14 Gary Hamilton, 15 Kyle Sampson, 16 Fernando Mendes, 18 Thomas Cordery.

Broxburn Athletic: 1 Connor Wallace, 2 Andrew Gillen, 5 Grant Gavin, 7 Nicky Locke, 3 Gordon Donaldson, 8 Alexander Miller, 4 Craig Scott, 6 Michael Linton, 12 Kieran Anderson, 10 Scott Richards (Valentine 67), 9 Alexander Murray (Beesley 62). Subs: 11 Jack Beesley, 14 Euan Valentine, 15 Darren Gribben, 16 Darren Downie, 21 Shaun Donoghue.

Referee: Stewart Luke

Programme: £1.50.

Follow me on Twitter @blowyfootball

Motherwell v St Johnstone

Tuesday 6 February 2018, 19.45, Fir Park

Motherwell against St Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership.

We last saw Motherwell in July, when they won at Edinburgh City in the League Cup.  Well marched all the way to the final where they lost to Celtic.

Since we saw Motherwell, they’ve added further to their squad with defender Ellis Plummer arriving from Manchester City, winger Deimantas Petravicius from Zaglebie Lubin and midfielder Liam Grimshaw from Preston North End.  In January they added forward Curtis Main from Portsmouth, defender Peter Hartley from Blackpool, who had been on loan to Well previously, and on loan left back Stephen Hendrie from Southend United, defender Tom Aldred from Bury and forward Nadir Ciftci from Celtic.

Top scorer Louis Moult departed for Preston North End in the January transfer window.

Well sat in seventh place going into the game, three points clear of St Johnstone.  Since the turn of the year, they have won two at home and drawn once, while they drew at Hearts and lost narrowly at Hibs.  They drew 1-1 in their last game at home to Partick Thistle.  They would have been looking to continue their unbeaten at home start to the year.

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It’s been a while since we have seen St Johnstone.

Saint John’s Toun was the ancient name for the city of Perth and where St Johnstone’s name derives.  They were formed by the cricket team of the same name and are considered to have been formed in 1884, although it has since been discovered that the meeting to start the club came early the following year.

They began life playing in what became known as the Recreation Grounds and performed in the Scottish Cup for the first time in season 1886-87.  They joined the Scottish League in 1911.  When they attained promotion to the top league in 1924-25, they moved to Muirton Park.  They stayed in that league until the Second World War apart from a two season stint in the second division after relegation in 1930.

On the resumption of the leagues in 1946, Saints were placed in the second tier.  They finally got back to the top league in 1960 and in 1970-71, they finished third and qualified for European football for the first time.

Saints were founder members of the Scottish Premier League upon its establishment for the 1975-76 season but were relegated at the end of its first year.  They won the second tier to return to it in 1983, but two successive relegations had them starting season 1985-86 in the third tier for the first time.

Crowds had fallen rapidly and there were major financial problems for the men from Perth.  They sold their ground and in 1989, moved to McDiarmid Park, named after the farmer who had donated the land on which it was built.

Promotions came in 1988 and 1990 and top league football returned.  They began well but were relegated again in 2002.  It took seven seasons to get back to the top tier, where they have been since season 2009-10.  Since 2011, they have finished in the top six every season.

The club appeared twice in the Scottish Challenge Cup final, losing in 1996, and winning the trophy in 2007 with a 3–2 victory over Dunfermline Athletic. They’ve been to the final of the League Cup twice without success and had appeared in seven Scottish Cup semi-finals before they won the trophy for the first time in 2014, beating Dundee United 2-0.

Manager Tommy Wright brought in a number of players this season.  Coming to the club were midfielders Stefan Scougall from Sheffield United, Kyle McClean from Nottingham Forest, left back Scott Tanser from Port Vale, forwards Callum Hendry from Blackburn Rovers, and on loan, Denny Johnstone from Colchester United.

Joining in January were forward David McMillan from Dundalk, midfielder Matty Willock on loan from Manchester United and George Williams, a midfielder on loan from Fulham.

Departing the club were Danny Swanson, Tam Scobbie, Eoghan McCawl, George Hunter, Craig Thomson, Ally Gilchrist, Michael Coulson and Paul Paton.  Michael O’Halloran’s loan from Rangers finished in January and he returned to his parent club.

The Saints were sitting in eighth two points behind Motherwell, but with two games in hand.  With a tough run of games coming up, they were in need of the points to draw level with Well.

Following a 3-1 defeat at home to Partick Thistle, a much improved Saints performance saw them unlucky to lose at Hearts in their last game.

It was a cold night in Motherwell, with the temperature reading -4 when we parked the car.  It had peaked at -10 on the way through and we were hoping it wouldn’t reach anything like that level in Fir Park.

We got a bit of a surprise when we went through the turnstiles to enter the John Hunter Stand.  With us handing over £40 to pay for the very reasonable Premiership price of £19 each, there was a slight delay as the man on duty paused to add 19 and 19 on his calculator before proudly telling us it would be “£38”.  I’m not sure how relevant it is that local MSP Clare Adamson’s husband is a head teacher.

I never understand why Motherwell charge £19 to sit along the side of the pitch and it’s £4 dearer to sit behind the goals.  (It’s dearer for both for ‘premium games’.)

The South Stand, where the away support traditionally sit was closed for the evening with the Saints’ fans sitting opposite us in the main (Phil O’Donnell) stand.

There were 3,227 in the ground, 170 of which were supporting the away side.

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The visitors started brightly with MacLean finding Kane, who set up Foster in the box in the second minute, but his shot was smothered by Carson.

Well first showed in 6 minutes when Ciftci passed to Cadden on the right.  He cut inside and ran across the pitch before shooting for goal from 20 yards, but it was well over.

A minute later, Foster got to the Well by-line, but couldn’t pick out a team mate in the middle.

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Tanser picked up on a clearance in 10 minutes and had a strike at the Well goal, but it was wide of the target.

Clever play by Campbell in 13 minutes on the Well left saw him make good progress before cutting the ball back for Main who saw his shot deflected over.  Cadden’s corner was punched clear by Mannus.

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Ciftci got down the left for Well in 17 minutes and pulled the ball across for McHugh, but his finish was poor and well off target.  Saints’ Scougall had picked up a knock in the attack and after lengthy treatment had to be replaced.

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Tait played the ball into the Saints box in 28 minutes and the ball eventually came to the feet of Main who turned well and shot, but Mannus acrobatically saved and held onto the shot.

Campbell laid the ball off to Main in 35 minutes and he sidestepped a defender before seeing his shot clip the top of the bar on the way over.

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In 38 minutes, Saints’ Willock looked a bit fortunate to be allowed to continue after a Motherwell player went down in a tangle of legs, but Kipre got in the way of his shot.  The ball went to Tanser whose shot was taken low by Carson.

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Alston took a Saints corner in 40 minutes and it was headed away to the edge of the box.  Rose slipped as he went to challenge Davidson and clipped him, giving the visitors a free kick just outside the “D” on the edge of the box.  Alston got the ball past the wall, but it was straight at Carson, who took the ball at his feet.

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Kerr picked up the game’s first booking in 44 minutes for taking down Well’s Ciftci as he turned on the half way line.

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With no hint of irony, Saints’ Tanser required treatment in first half injury time.

A poor first half with lots of free kicks punctuating play.  Saints started on the front foot, but Well had periods on top as the half progressed.  Not much in the way of chances or excitement and it could still have gone either way.

In the third minute of the second half, Cadden took a Well corner which was punched away by Mannus.  Rose lobbed the ball back into the box and Main tried to cushion a volley across the face of goal for a team mate, but the defence got it clear.

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A minute later, Ciftci had a shot from the edge of the box which the Saints defence blocked, but it came back to Main who hammered just wide with Mannus beaten.

Some good football from Well in 52 minutes ended in Ciftci playing a clever pass in behind the defence for Main, but Mannus made a fine save with his foot.  Ciftci retrieved the ball but curled it over the bar.

There were half hearted appeals for a penalty from the home fans when Ciftci went down in the box in 55 minutes, but the referee wasn’t interested.

Tait got down the left in 57 minutes but his ball into the Saints box was claimed by Mannus.

Cadden burst forward for Well in 62 minutes and went past a couple of challenges to get to the edge of the Saints box, but he shot over the bar.

Well attacked again in 64 minutes and Main managed to squeeze the ball out to Rose on the left.  He played the ball low into the box and Campbell got there first poking the ball into the net from inside the six-yard box and giving the home side the lead.

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Six minutes later Saints overplayed the ball in their own half and Shaughnessy lost possession to a Tanner tackle.  Tait took the ball forward and played to Main who took a touch before hitting a shot right into the corner to give Mannus no chance and double the lead.

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Well broke forward in 74 minutes and had men in space, but Cadden lost the ball when he should have passed.

Campbell did very well in 76 minutes to retain possession in the corner and put in a fine cross which saw Main volley at goal first time, but it was straight at Mannus.

In a rare Saints foray forward, Alston hit a dipping volley goalwards in 81 minutes, but it hit the side netting.

The home side were playing with confidence and in 83 minutes, Cadden fed Petravicius on the right.  He crossed to the back post where Rose headed it down for Tanner, but he lashed the ball over the bar.

With two minutes left, Cadden picked out Rose with a cross, but he couldn’t get his header on target.

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Into injury time and Saints gave the ball away on the half way line and Tanner brought the ball forward before passing to Bigirimana.  His curling shot was pushed around the post by Mannus.  The final whistle blew as the resultant corner was headed away.

Well stepped up the pace after the interval and ended up being convincing winners after bossing the whole of the second half.  They could easily have won by more.  Very poor from St Johnstone, who weren’t at the races in the second half.

Campbell was very good in the Well midfield and Main looked a handful up front, with the defence looking very solid.  For Saints, a very bad day at the office with Davidson and Kane probably their best in the first half.  Nobody really performed for them after the break.

Full Time: Motherwell 2 St Johnstone 0

Admission: £19

Motherwell: 1 Trevor Carson, 7 Chris Cadden, 21 Cedric Kipre, 19 Tom Aldred, 18 Charles Dunne, 2 Richard Tait, 22 Allan Campbell, 8 Carl McHugh, 15 Andy Rose, 9 Curtis Main, 23 Nadir Ciftci.  Subs: 3 Stephen Hendrie, 4 Liam Grimshaw, 5 Gael Bigirimana, 11 Elliott Frear, 13 Russell Griffiths, 20 Deimantas Petravicious, 27 Craig Tanner.

St Johnstone: 1 Alan Mannus, 19 Richard Foster, 5 Jos Shaughnessy, 6 Steven Anderson, 15 Jason Kerr, 3 Scott Tanser, 21 Stefan Scougall, 8 Murray Davidson, 4 Blair Alston, 9 Steven MacLean, 25 Chris Kane.  Subs: 7 Chris Millar, 12 Zander Clark, 17 Denny Johnstone, 20 Kyle McClean, 22 Keith Watson, 23 Liam Gordon, 28 Matty Willock.

Referee: Don Robertson

Programme: £3 (Double issue which included Partick Thistle game the previous weekend.)

Follow me on Twitter @blowyfootball

Hebburn Town v Brandon United

Saturday 3 February 2018, 15.00, Hebburn Sports and Social Ground

Hebburn Town against Brandon United in the Northern League Division 2.

A fifth visit of the season across the border to take in some English football.  After enjoying last season’s trip to see South Shields on their way to promotion from the Northern League Division 1, this time we headed for Hebburn Town, in the league below.

Hebburn Town were formed in 1912 but football took place in the town since 1882 under the guise of Hebburn Argyle.

They began as a works team for the Reyrolles company and joined Division Two of the Jarrow and District Junior League.  Following the First World War, they bounced around several leagues in the area before joining the Tyneside League in 1927, and were league champions in 1938–39.  During World War II they joined the Northern Combination and after winning the Durham Challenge Cup in 1942-43, they won the league title the following season.  The club remained in the Combination until rejoining a relaunched North Eastern League in 1959.

In 1960 Reyrolles joined the Wearside League, and were league champions in 1966-67.  They were renamed Hebburn Reyrolles in 1986, before changing their name to Hebburn two years later.  In 1989 they gained promotion to Division Two of the Northern League, and were promoted to Division One in 1991-92, when they also won the Durham Challenge Cup for a second time.  Issues with their ground saw them relegated back to Division Two in 1995.  They were promoted again in 1999-00 and then adopted their current name, but it was just a one year stay in Division One.

Promotion was attained at the end of 2011-12, but the stay came to an end when they were relegated two years later.  They narrowly missed out on promotion in 2014-15, but the next two seasons saw them finish in mid table.

Last season nearly saw the demise of the club with attendances very low, but the players led the survival challenge by foregoing their wages and an appeal to the local community saw a big increase in the attendances and the combination of these two factors and other fund-raising pulled the club back onto an even keel.

Things are looking up for the club with a newly established reserve team taking part in the Wearside League from this season.

Attached to the ground is the newly refurbished Hebburn Sports and Social Club, an impressive two-storey facility which seems to get a lot of use.  There’s a small enclosure along one side of the pitch.

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New signings for this season are midfielders Lee Maitland and Anth Myers from Jarrow Roofing, Meechak Kanda from Newcastle Benfield, Jonny Wightman from Dunston and Peter Jones from Easington, forwards Paul Chow from Jarrow Roofing and Dan Robinson from Heaton Stannington, wingers Kris Hughes from Whitley Bay and Gary Shaw from Washington, defenders David Coulson from Whitley Bay and Stuart Bramley from Washington and versatile Ross Toward from Jarrow Roofing and Chris Douglas from West Allotment Celtic.  Newest signing is John Sherlock, a defender I have seen play several times for Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale, who plays in midfield for Hebburn.

Hebburn have had a good season and sat in fourth spot coming into the game.  An unbeaten January ended with a 5-2 win at Heaton Stannington who had previously been unbeaten at home.

They were missing Ian Bickerstaff, Ross Toward, Dave Coulson and Channon North but Johnny Wightman and Chris Feasey returned to the squad.

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Brandon United were originally formed as a Sunday morning side called Rostrons, the name of the waste paper company where most of the founders worked. The County Durham side began in the Durham & District Sunday League in 1968-69, joining the Third Division and played their way up to the First Division.

In the seasons leading up to 1977 they won the First Division title four times, along with the Durham County FA Sunday Cup three times and the FA Sunday Cup in 1975-76.

They entered the FA Cup for the first time in 1979-80 and beat four Northern League opponents to make it to the first round proper, where they lost 3-0 to Bradford City.

The club joined the Wearside League in 1981-82, winning the Sunderland Shipowners Cup before being admitted to the Northern League’s Second Division for the start of 1983-84 season and won the Second Division title the following season.

They again reached the first round of the FA Cup in 1988 where they lost out to Doncaster Rovers after a replay.  Progress continued with a Northern League Cup Final appearance in 1993 where they lost on penalties to Seaham Red Star.

The Northern League Division Two title was won in 2001 and two years later, they were Division One Champions.

Financial problems started to hit Brandon and they were relegated at the end of the 2005-06 season.  A period of rebuilding saw them struggle in the lower reaches, but they were sixth in 2008-09.

They have been fortunate to survive a few relegation scares since, including twice escaping due to issues with other clubs when finishing in relegation positions.

New manager Stephen Skinner came onboard at the end of November and is working hard to turn the club’s fortunes around.

Signings this season are Jack Pounder from Easington, Adam Cumby from Willington, Aaron Jackson from Spennymoor, Zac Renwick, midfielder Adam Storey from Silksworth, David Mould, Daniel Madden, Nathan Graham, Jamie Abbott as well as Lee Blades from Tom Law Town.

Since the new manager came in, they have signed Jack MarleyAndrew Brown from Seaham Red Star, Glen Donaldson from Darlington RA, Craig Ruddy from Billingham Town, Jack Patton from Seaham Red Star, Craig Hindmarch from Billingham Synthonia and striker Warren Byrne from Bishop Auckland.

Recent results for Brandon suggest an upturn in form and they needed to continue that, sitting in 19th spot in the 21-team league.

It was a cold and wet afternoon in South Tyneside and 174 turned up to watch.

Hebburn were first to show when in the third minute, Robinson played the ball to Malley, who had a shot from the right hand side of the box, but it was straight at Patton in the Brandon goal.

Hindmarch found Lee on the edge of the Hebburn box in 9 minutes and he showed good feet but struck his shot over the bar.

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Brandon were forced into an early substitution after Marshall was forced to come off with what looked like a hamstring injury.

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In 12 minutes, Hindmarch saw his cross into the Hebburn box deflected and Ruddy fired into the net from close range, but the flag was up for offside.

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A minute later a cross into the Brandon box saw keeper Patton make a mess of an attempted punch, but he got lucky as the ball deflected back to him.

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Stephenson squeezed the ball through to Lee in the Hebburn box in 15 minutes, but Hubery was able to parry his effort and the defence booted the ball clear.

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Sherlock found Jones on the left for the hosts in 17 minutes.  He made his way to the by-line and crossed low into the six-yard box where Thompson slid in and sent the ball into his own net to give Hebburn the lead.

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The goal had come against the run of the play and one of the locals, with tongue firmly in cheek stated that it “had been coming.”

Robinson showed good pace to get to the ball in the Brandon box in front of the ponderous Thompson and also outmuscled the big defender to give himself a great chance, but Patton did well to block his shot.

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A misplaced pass by Brandon’s Alderson in 28 minutes gave the ball to Shaw who raced down the left, but Skinner got across to stop the ball.

Robinson outpaced Thompson again in 31 minutes but Patton blocked his shot from the right side of the box.  Smith recovered the ball for Hebburn and crossed into the middle where Malley headed back across the keeper and high into the net to double the home side’s lead.

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Ruddy carried the ball forward for Brandon in 33 minutes and got to the edge of the box before laying it off for Lee, but he fired well over the bar.

With 35 minutes gone Stephenson got into the Hebburn box and had his shot deflected behind.  The corner was played short then was put into the box where the defence couldn’t seem to get it clear, before Skinner poked it wide.

Shaw crossed into the Brandon box in 37 minutes and it was met by the head of Bramley, but Patton was well placed to save.

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With 5 minutes to the break, Stephenson chased a Brandon through ball and he and Hubery went for the ball together on the edge of the box.  It broke to Lowes, but Williams managed to get in the way of his shot with the net empty.

In the final minute of the half, Brandon put together a good move involving Lowes, Ruddy and Lee, but the latter’s shot didn’t have the power to get past the diving Hubery.

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Smith latched onto a loose ball in first half injury time but dragged his shot wide of the Brandon goal.

Two nil at half time and Brandon’s good start was halted by the game’s opening goal.  While not out of it, they didn’t look like hauling back the deficit.

Shaw put a dangerous looking cross into the Brandon box in 52 minutes which hit someone and spun up in the air and went straight into the arms of Patton.

A Hebburn corner in 55 minutes was headed away to the edge of the box where Malley took possession, but his shot was too high.

Jones released Shaw on the left of the Brandon box in 56 minutes and he cut inside before hitting a low shot straight at Patton.

The same players combined in 58 minutes and this time Shaw’s cross came back to him before he drove it back in and saw the ball come back off the post.

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Hebburn’s Bradley was booked in 59 minutes for a late tackle on Ruddy.  Ruddy took the kick himself and it was headed away to the edge of the box where Skinner sent the ball back at goal.  Hubery made a fantastic save, but it fell into the path of Lowes who looked to have an open goal, but he slipped as he shot, and the ball went wide.  He was probably relieved to see the flag was up.

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A great ball by Sherlock in 61 minutes picked out Shaw on the left for Hebburn.  He cut the ball back for Jones who was foiled by a great Patton save.  The keeper was up quickly to also stop the rebound.

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Robinson broke down the left for the home side in 64 minutes as Brandon were caught on the break and he pulled the ball back for Jones, but again Patton was there to push the ball away.

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Smith played the ball through the Brandon defence in 65 minutes and Patton came out of his goal to meet Shaw and they both went in to challenge for the ball.  The ball went for a corner and Shaw came off worst from the challenge.

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The resultant corner was taken by Smith and Malley got his head to the ball and saw it crash back off the crossbar.

It was Hebburn’s turn to lose their right back through injury when Bramley went off with what looked like a groin strain in 67 minutes.

Hebburn continued to look for a third and in 73 minutes Smith passed to Shaw on the left.  He crossed into the middle for Robinson, but his header was too high.

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Lee brought the ball forward for the visitors in 76 minutes and tried for goal from 20 yards, but it was off target.

A Brandon free kick in 78 minutes was taken by Blades but was well saved by Hubery.

There was a great chance for Hebburn on the break in 80 minutes and they eventually worked the ball to Shaw and he seemed to inadvertently poke the ball at goal only to see it come back off the post.

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Shaw crossed into the Brandon box in 86 minutes for Chow who somehow headed over from inside the six-yard box.

Jones required treatment in 87 minutes before he could continue.

Just before the final whistle, Shaw put Chow through, but his shot was tipped round the post by Patton.

Another win for Hebburn and the longer the game went on, the more on top they seemed to get.  Brandon looked to run out of steam and never looked the same after the opening goal.

There were a number of good performances in yellow and black with solid midfield displays by Sherlock and Jones.  Malley and Shaw were a threat from the wings and Robinson had great work rate while Smith showed some nice touches.

For Brandon, Skinner held the defence together and Ruddy fought hard in midfield.

Both keepers showed impressive shot stopping ability.

If Hebburn keep up this form, they will certainly be singing their unofficial club song, as borrowed from Belinda Carlisle – ‘Ooooh Hebburn is a place on earth’

A decent game in a nice ground to visit, in a game that was of a good standard, on a pitch which cut up quite badly in the bad weather.  It’s a very good set-up and a ground we will certainly be back to.

Full Time: Hebburn Town 2 Brandon 0

Admission: £5

Hebburn Town: 1 Steve Hubery, 2 Stuart Bramley (Douglas 67), 5 Rhys Williams, 6 Jack Donaghy, 3 Scott Wallace, 7 Craig Malley, 4 John Sherlock, 8 Peter Jones, 11 Gary Shaw, 9 Dan Robinson (Chow 85), 10 Callum Smith (Kanda 81).  Subs: 12 Paul Chow, 13 Jonny Wightman, 14 Chris Feasey, 15 Chris Douglas, 16 Meechak Kanda.

Brandon United: 1 Jack Patton, 2 Reece Marshall (Alderson 10), 6 Stephen Skinner, 5 Luke Thompson, 3 Kyle Wren, 7 Jordan Lee, 4 Craig Hindmarch, 8 Craig Ruddy, 11 Lee Blades, 9 Connor Lowes, 10 Nathan Stephenson (Quine 75).  Subs: 12 Kieran Alderson, 15 Andrew Jones, 16 Kris Carr, 17 Daniel Quine.

Referee: Paul Cooper

Programme: £1.50.

Follow me on Twitter @blowyfootball

Blackburn United v Linlithgow Rose

Saturday 27 January 2018, 13.45, Dem-master Community Stadium

The Scottish Junior Cup Fourth Round tie between Blackburn United and Linlithgow Rose.

It was January 2017 when we last saw Blackburn, when they played an East Region South League match against Easthouses Lily Miners’ Welfare at New Murrayfield Park.  They finished the season in runners-up spot and gained promotion the East Premier League.

They took no time to settle into life in a higher division and after 16 games, they sat in fifth place.

A number of new players have been procured for the season, with defender Callum Rarity from Dundonald Bluebell, midfielders Scott Hay from Edinburgh City and Michael Browne from Broxburn Athletic and former Camelon striker James Donaldson all coming in before the new season began.  They have continued to supplement their squad as the season has progressed, with keeper Kyle Marley signing from Kelty Hearts and full back Michael Gibson coming in from Broxburn Athletic.  The first month of 2018 saw them add James Martin, from Tranent Juniors, former Fauldhouse United forward Craig Chilton and winger Jordan Bain from Dalkeith Thistle.

Full back Ewan Herriot, who had been on loan to the club since 2016, was called back by his parent club Berwick Rangers in January.

Blackburn’s Junior Cup journey so far this season has seen them get a bye in the first round before a 6-0 win at Aberdeen East End and 5-1 at home to Colony Park.  They had a much sterner test to face against Linlithgow Rose.

In their last game, they won a Premier Division match 2-0 at St Andrews United.

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It was also our first sight of Linlithgow Rose this season.  It was May towards the end of season 2016-17 when they visited Bonnyrigg Rose for an East Super League match that we last saw them.

Returning manager Mark Bradley had just taken over before that win at Bonnyrigg after a poor spell for the West Lothian side.  He has got them back on track and they sat in second place in the Super League when they came into the cup tie.

Rose were given a first round bye as one of the Junior teams involved in the Scottish Cup, so were excused the first round of the Junior version.  They then won at Lugar Boswell Thistle, before winning at Oakley United.

There had been a big reshaping of the squad since last season, with a large number of players leaving the club.  These were Lewis Small, Graham Weir, Ross Gray, Jackie Myles, Robbie McNab, Mark Williams, Jack Beaumont, Aiden Malone, Sean Muhsin, Cammy McClair, Connor Kelly, Liam Coogins, Richie Barnard, Kevin Kelbie and Reece Donaldson.

Coming in were Kyle Turnbull, a left back from Albion Rovers, left winger Owen Ronald and right back Iain Gray from Kilbirnie Ladeside, goalkeeper Andy Carlin, midfielders Martyn Shields from Kilsyth Rangers and Robert Sloan from Bo’ness United.  Coming back to Rose were the MacLennan brothers Roddy and Ruari, the midfielders had left for rivals Bo’ness the season before.

Their most recent run out saw them play out a remarkable 5-5 draw with Kennoway Star Hearts in the Super League.

Midfielder Luke Whelan joined Rose in January from Queens Park.

It was a very windy afternoon in West Lothian, but 345 turned up to watch.

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The conditions were particularly apparent in the opening minutes, with a couple of Rose players miscuing clearances which went straight up in the air, but they were moving the ball quickly in the Blackburn half when in possession.

In 4 minutes, Whelan slid the ball through looking for Batchelor, but he couldn’t quite take it in his stride as he ran into the Blackburn box.

A minute later, McQuillan had a shot at the Rose goal from outside the box but it was blocked.  It came back to him, but he screwed his second attempt wide.

Gray came forward up the right for Rose in 7 minutes and a one-two with Batchelor got him to the bye-line.  He crossed to the back post for Coyne, but he could only volley into the side netting.

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The visitors won a free kick around 23 yards from goal in 8 minutes, but MacLennan’s drive was blocked by the wall.  The ball ran to Coyne, but he couldn’t get a shot away and the ball ran behind.

Some nice build up play by Rose in 9 minutes ended with MacLennan setting up Whelan for a strike at goal, but his effort was turned behind at full stretch by keeper Marley.

Blackburn were still looking to make their own mark and Hutton did well to get to the bye-line in 12 minutes, but his cross was booted clear.

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Another Blackburn attack was broken up in 13 minutes and Rose broke quickly with Turnbull finding MacLennan who laid the ball off to Strickland.  He picked out the run of Batchelor in the box who was halted by a great tackle from Rarity.

A poor kick out from Marley in 15 minutes went straight to MacLennan, but his shot was straight at the Blackburn keeper.

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Chilton played a clever through ball in 17 minutes which saw Hutton run onto it and strike narrowly over the bar from just inside the box.

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A misplaced pass by McQuillan in 20 minutes saw Rose come forward again.  The ball was worked to Coyne on the left, but his cross from the left was taken by Marley.

Blackburn’s best outlet was looking to be Hutton.  The hosts number 7 was causing problems down the right for Rose.

A free kick for Blackburn in 23 minutes was curled into the box by Ross and found Chilton, but he was offside.

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Up the other end a minute later MacLennan latched onto a headed clearance and shot for goal, but he didn’t connect well, and the ball ran through to Marley.

Whelan found Gray out wide for Linlithgow in 32 minutes and his driven cross was met by a flying Turnbull at the front post who got his head on it but couldn’t direct it anywhere near the goal.

A Rose throw in from the left in 34 minutes saw MacLennan turn away from Browne on the edge of the box before the Blackburn player tripped him.  Rose claimed for a penalty although it looked just outside the box from where I was.  The referee made the argument null and void by strangely not even giving a foul.

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An extended period of Rose possession ended with Batchelor chipping the ball forward to Strickland who headed into the path of Coyne.  He nipped in front of Rarity and took the ball into the box before firing past Marley to give the visitors the lead.

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A nasty looking collision between Blackburn’s Chilton and Rose’s Gray saw both go down, but they were able to continue.

Rose were really starting to put pressure on and in 40 minutes, Batchelor passed to Coyne who squared the ball to Strickland.  His blocked shot came to MacLennan, but Marley saved his strike.

Batchelor reached the Blackburn bye-line in 41 minutes and cut the ball back for MacLennan, but he blasted wide of goal.

Coyne played the ball across to Thom in 42 minutes as the central defender strode into the Blackburn half.  He had a shot at goal from 25 yards which was straight at Marley, but somehow the keeper let the ball slip through his hands and he couldn’t get back in time to prevent the ball going over the line.  2-0 to Rose.

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In the first minute of first half injury time, Shields took a pass from MacLennan and had a go at the Blackburn goal, but shot wide.

Just before the break, McQuillan crossed into the Rose box and Thom spectacularly headed over his own bar.  He looked like he enjoyed it.

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Rose two up at the break and they had controlled the game with lengthy spells of possession.  Blackburn had battled well and had looked dangerous at times but conceding the second close to the interval meant they had a real mountain to climb.

There were no substitutions at half time, but Blackburn wide men Ross and Hutton switched sides.  (Of the pitch rather than teams…)

Hutton received the ball on the left in 48 minutes for Blackburn and cut inside before hitting a curling shot which Hill magnificently tipped around the post.

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A dangerous looking ball into the Blackburn box from Batchelor in 50 minutes saw Mildren well placed to clear.

Rose won a corner in 51 minutes and Shields’ cross held up in the wind a bit which may have been the reason that the home defence stood and watched as McKenzie ran in to head home from close range to make it three.

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Shields shot for goal from 22 yards in 54 minutes and it took a nick as it went wide.  The same player took the corner and Marley got a hand to the ball and it went straight up in the air which meant he could catch it as it came down.

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Blackburn’s Mildren was booked in 57 minutes for a foul on Strickland on the half way line.

The home side were penalised for a foul on MacLennan about 20 yards out in 61 minutes.  Strickland took the kick and it came off the wall and flew into the net, completely wrong-footing the helpless Marley.  Number four for Rose.

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Chilton and Hutton were both yellow carded in the space of a minute for fouls around the 65-minute mark as frustration looked like it might be setting in.

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Blackburn manager Mark Campbell immediately made all three substitutions in 66 minutes, which included taking off the two players just booked.  Mildren went to left back with Browne coming back to play in central defence.

When the game restarted the ball was played forward to Strickland who slid a fine pass into the path of Batchelor on the right of the box and he knocked it past Marley for Rose’s fifth.

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A long ball forward by Rose’s keeper Hill in 79 minutes saw Coyne running into the box on the left after the flight of the ball had been misjudged by the defence, but he knocked his effort over the bar.

Blackburn’s Rarity was shown the yellow card in 86 minutes for a foul on Sloan.  Sloan took the kick himself and his low shot was just wide of the post with Marley a spectator.

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With two minutes left, Thom was booked for a foul on McQuillan just outside the Rose box.  Ross struck a great free kick which came off the underside of the bar and the defence cleared.  If anyone was still in any doubt that it wasn’t going to be Blackburn’s day, this was the final evidence.

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Full time and a convincing win for the Super League side.  It’s easy to see why Rose are at the top end of the league this season.  They have a strong midfield and defence and forwards who can cause all sorts of problems.  The midfield men are constantly taking it in turns to go forward and pop up all over the pitch.  The strength on their bench also didn’t go unnoticed and they look a real force to be reckoned with this season.

Blackburn won’t come up against teams like Rose every week and they were in the game until just before the break.  Hill’s save at the start of the second half stopped any thoughts of a comeback, particularly when Rose scored their third soon after.

Ross and Hutton looked like they would cause problems for a lot of teams in the Premier League this season and Blackburn have the makings of a good team.  For Rose, Whelan and Shields were both very impressive in the middle of the park.

Full Time: Blackburn United 0 Linlithgow Rose 5

Admission: £6

Blackburn United: 1 Kyle Marley, 2 Jason Ward, 4 James Mildren, 5 Callum Rarity, 3 Michael Gibson (Williamson 66), 7 Richie Hutton (Spence 66), 8 Craig Young, 6 Michael Browne, 11 Brian Ross, 10 Craig Chilton (Campbell 66), 9 Andy McQuillan.  Subs: 12 Danny Campbell, 14 Ross Williamson, 16 Fraser Spence.

Linlithgow Rose: 1 Darren Hill, 2 Iain Gray, 5 Gary Thom, 4 Jamie McKenzie, 3 Kyle Turnbull, 7 Blair Batchelor (MacLennan 74), 11 Ruari MacLennan (Sloan 68), 6 Martyn Shields, 8 Luke Whelan, 9 Colin Strickland, 10 Tommy Coyne.  Subs: 19 Andy Carlin, 12 Robert Sloan, 14 Roddy MacLennan, 15 Colin Leiper, 16 Owen Ronald.

Programme: £1.50

Referee: Jordan Curran.

Follow me on Twitter @blowyfootball

Heart of Midlothian v Hibernian

Sunday 21January 2018, 14.05, Tynecastle Park

The Scottish Cup Fourth Round tie between Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian.

The third year in a row that the sides have met in the cup, this time a round earlier than the last two.  In season 2015/16 Hibs won in a replay in the fifth round after drawing at Tynecastle on their way to winning the cup.  Last season also saw the sides paired in the fifth round, with Hibs winning a replay again at Easter Road before losing in the semi-finals.

Hibs could also boast a nine match unbeaten run in derbies with Hearts, while Hearts fans point to several lengthy undefeated spells against their capital rivals, most notably 22 in a row between the 1980s and’90s.

Hearts were unbeaten in December and were on a nine-game unbeaten run and a club-record six straight clean sheets.  They sat in fifth place in the league, 5 points behind fourth placed Hibs.  We last saw them in mid-December, when they won 2-0 at home to Dundee,

Departing Hearts since the transfer window opened were Jamie Walker and Rafal Grzelak.  They brought in left back Demetri Mitchell on loan from Manchester United and Steven Naismith on loan from Norwich City.

Ross Callachan and Arnaud Djoum returned to fitness for Hearts with Prince Buaben, Malaury Martin and Krsytian Nowak injured.  Kyle Lafferty was suspended.

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We also last saw Hibs in mid-December, when they lost 2-1 at home to Rangers.  Since then they drew twice, won one and lost one.  One of those was when they visited Tynecastle for a league match on 27 December and the teams played out an uninspiring 0-0 draw.

They have also had some movement in the transfer market since the window opened at the start of the year, with Sam Stanton leaving the club and coming in, keeper Scott Bain on loan from Dundee, former Hearts left back Faycal Rherras on loan from KV Mechelen and striker Jamie Maclaren from SV Darmstadt 98.

Hibs were without David Gray, Ross Laidlaw and Steven Whitaker through injury, and also Anthony Stokes was absent, with rumours of a bust up with manager Neil Lennon.

The first competitive game of 2018 for both sides, although they both went to sunnier climes during the winter break, where they played some bounce games against foreign sides.  Also the first Scottish Cup game in front of Hearts’ new stand.

A crowd of 18,907 turned up to greet the end of the winter shutdown.

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The first action came in the fourth minute when a fine passing move by Hearts saw Naismith play the ball to Cochrane, who passed to the feet of Goncalves.  He laid the ball off to Milinkovic who threaded the ball in behind the Hibs defence for Naismith.  Marciano came charging out of his goal and the Hearts player sidestepped him and knocked the ball at goal in one movement as Stevenson got back to challenge.  Agonisingly for Naismith, the ball ran wide of goal.

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Boyle burst down the right for Hibs in 10 minutes and his cross was deflected by Berra and fell to Slivka in the centre of the box, but under pressure from Randall, he couldn’t get the ball under control.

In 16 minutes, the referee played a good advantage as Bartley went through the back of Naismith as he laid the ball off to Djoum.  The Hearts midfielder strode to the edge of the box but got no power in his shot and it trickled through to Marciano.

Hibs Boyle got possession down the right again in 22 minutes and put a dangerous looking ball into the box, but it was just too far in front of Shaw and McLaughlin was able to gather.

Shaw picked up a loose ball on the right a minute later and crossed into the Hearts box where Slivka missed his kick.  The ball continued to run across the face of goal and came to Boyle free at the back post, but he somehow put it wide of the target from inside the six-yard box.

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Up the other end in 24 minutes, Mitchell ran on to a clever ball from Naismith in the left of the Hibs box, but his cutback looking for Goncalves was well cut out by Hanlon.

As Hibs came forward in 28 minutes, Bartley pushed over Cochrane and the Hearts player then tripped Bartley as he ran past.  Both a little fortunate that the referee hadn’t seen the events.

McGinn tried a shot from 23 yards after receiving a pass from Slivka in 29 minutes, but he was off balance as he struck it and it drifted harmlessly wide of the Hearts goal.

It was great to see fans all around the ground unite to stand and applaud in the 30th minute to support the fight to get justice for the late Shaun Woodburn and his family, the Junior footballer and Hibs fan who was fatally attacked outside a pub in Leith.

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Hearts came forward in 33 minutes and Milinkovic chipped the ball over the Hibs defence looking for Goncalves.  As McGregor ran back to challenge, it looked like the ball came off his hand in the box as Goncalves was forced wide.  He couldn’t get his shot past Marciano as the home fans screamed for a penalty which the referee ignored.

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A loose pass from Ambrose in 36 minutes gave Djoum a sight of the Hibs goal from 20 yards, but he sliced his first time effort wide.

The referee played another good advantage in 39 minutes when McGeouch was caught in his own half.  The ball went to McGinn who fed Boyle on the left.  He cut inside and let fly from 20 yards, but McLaughlin in the Hearts goal was down quickly to hold the shot.

Milinkovic and Bartley squared up to each other in 42 minutes after Bartley had used his physicality to let the ball run out for a Hibs goal kick, but it was soon over.

A competitive first half in which both sides had had their moments, but still goalless at the break.

Hearts began the second half on the front foot and forced a couple of early corners, but the Hibs defence weren’t overly troubled.

A free kick to Hearts in 52 minutes about 25 yards from goal saw Mitchell run over the ball and Naismith playing it into his stride on the left of the box, but he sliced wide of the post.

Shaw found Slivka on the left for Hibs in 54 minutes and his first time ball was just too far in front of Boyle and McLaughlin smothered.

In 57 minutes, Randall played a fine ball into the feet of Goncalves in the left of the Hibs box.  He chipped the ball across the box and the inrushing Mitchell hit a thunderous half volley right at the bottom corner which saw Marciano make a magnificent save to keep the ball out.

Hibs McGinn picked up the game’s first booking in 61 minutes for persistent fouling after bringing down Cochrane and it looked like it had been coming for a while.

From Cowie’s free kick, the ball dropped for Berra in the centre of the box, and he hit it well, but it was straight into the arms of Marciano.

Djoum was a bit lucky to escape a booking in 68 minutes for taking down Hibs McGeouch from behind next to the dug outs.

With 70 minutes gone, Mitchell had an ambitious effort at goal from a 25 yard free kick, but it was well off target.

Soutar was the first Hearts player booked in 73 minutes for going in very late on Bartley as he went down the wing.

Hearts were looking the more likely at this point but weren’t really creating any clear cut chances.

Barker made a good run forward for Hibs in 81 minutes, using his pace to take the ball from his own half and going past Cochrane and Randall, but he overhit his pass when looking to play in Stevenson on the left.

Hibs were really coming back into the game and it was them who was starting to put the pressure on in the final ten minutes.

Hibs won a free kick on the left in 85 minutes after another Djoum foul and McGinn’s cross was headed on in the middle of the box.  It came to Boyle on the corner of the six-yard box on the other side and he struck it on the volley, but McLaughlin did well to push it over the bar.

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The resultant corner saw Hearts break forward in numbers, but Randall’s cross was deflected behind by McGeouch.  Cochrane took the corner and Berra rose above everyone to head the ball towards goal.  Cowie waved a foot at it and got the slightest touch to make the ball deviate slightly from its original path.  It hit McGinn on the line but spun back toward the goal and he couldn’t react quickly enough to prevent the ball going just over the line.

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Bedlam in three of the four stands.

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Berra was booked in the final minute for time wasting.

In the second minute of injury time, Boyle and Hearts manager Craig Levein were involved in a bit of a shoving match on the touchline, but the referee made do with having a word.

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Five minutes of injury time were played but Hibs couldn’t fashion a chance to find an equaliser and it was Hearts through to the next round.

Not the greatest game of football you will see by any manner of means, but few in maroon would care about that.

Berra was immense at the heart of the home defence and Djoum was very competitive in midfield.  Mitchell showed real promise on his debut.  For Hibs, McGeouch continues to impress every time I see him and Boyle looked a threat, although he really should have scored with his first half sitter.

Full Time: Hearts 1 Hibs 0

Admission: £28

Hearts: 1 Jon McLaughlin, 4 John Souttar, 5 Aaron Hughes, 6 Christophe Berra, 16 Connor Randall, 10 Arnaud Djoum, 11 David Milinkovic (Cowie 57), 47 Harry Cochrane (Smith 93), 77 Isma Goncalves (Moore 88), 24 Demetri Mitchell, 14 Steven Naismith. Subs13 Jack Hamilton, 2 Michael Smith, 23 Cole Stockton, 30 Jamie Brandon, 33 Lewis Moore, 46 Anthony McDonald.

Hibs: 1 Ofir Marciano, 25 Efe Ambrose, 24 Darren McGregor, 4 Paul Hanlon, 16 Lewis Stevenson, 6 Marvin Bartley (S Murray 77), 10 Dylan McGeouch, 7 John McGinn, 8 Vykintas Slivka (Barker 60), 17 Martin Boyle, 32 Oli Shaw. Subs31 Scott Bain, 11 Danny Swanson, 14 Faycal Rherras, 19 Jamie Maclaren, 36 Ryan Porteous.

Referee: Kevin Clancy

Programme: £3.50.

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