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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

Lochgelly Albert v Rosyth

Saturday 2 December 2017, Gardiners Park, 13.45

The East Region South Division match up between Fife sides Lochgelly Albert and Rosyth.

With the cold weather wiping out many of the Junior ties, we had several changes of plan before picking where we would head.  With the previous weekend also meaning several postponements, there were a large number of Junior Cup ties to choose from.

We decided upon a trip to Fife to see East Region South Division’s Crossgates Primrose against West Super League Premier side Beith Juniors.

Just as we arrived in Dunfermline, the news broke that the game had been called off.  About 35 minutes before kick off.  We quickly scanned the fixtures and saw that the nearest game that looked to be on was Lochgelly, so we headed there.  It was hard not to start thinking about the fiasco we had in Fife in February  – which you can find at https://gameofthrowinssite.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/football-in-fife/ 

We managed to find our way to Gardiners Park, a first visit to the home of Lochgelly Albert.

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Lochgelly Albert were formed in 1926 and began life as an amateur team.   The most common reason given for their name, is that it was taken from the town of Albert, which was involved in the battle of the Somme, during the First World War.  Several men from Lochgelly and the surrounding area fought near the town of Albert in northern France.

With the senior side Lochgelly United folding just before the start of the war, Albert brought football back to the town.   They joined the Junior ranks in 1933 and won their first trophy, the Fife Cup in 1934-35.  A feat they have repeated a further 5 times.  While never one of the giants of the Junior game, they have picked up trophies throughout their history, including being Fife League Champions 5 times.  The vast majority of their silverware came in the 1930s, ‘50s and ‘70s.  The last trophy to come to Gardiners Park was the Beckett Cup in 1993.  Their first trophy since 1978.

With three changes to the league structure since the new century began, Albert are now in the East Region South Division.  Recent seasons have seen the club improve their league position every season, with finishes since 2013-14 of ninth, eighth, fifth and fourth.  Improvement again this season would see a promotion challenge.

Coming into the game, Albert sat in sixth, with six wins, two draws and three losses.  They had a game in hand on most of their rivals and were certainly not out of the promotion chase.

With major work on the pitch having taken place, Albert played all their games away from home until the end of September.

There have been several comings and goings since last season, with the departures of Andy Watt, Craig Paterson, Lewis Elder, Scott Gibson, John Ferguson, Ryan Robertson, Lee Wilson and club legend Stevie Brown, who had been with the club for 13 seasons.

Coming in have been strikers Calum Geddes, from Kirkcaldy YM, Liam Forbes from Thornton Hibs and Ewan Henderson, midfielders Joseph Kirby from Kelty Hearts Colts, Ricki Cooper from Glenrothes Juniors Under 19s, Josh McPhie from Kelty Hearts and Scott Renton from Hill of Beath.  Defender Ross Ogden from Kirkcaldy YM and goalkeeper Shaun Hunter from St Andrews United have also signed on.

Goalkeeper Ryan Couser and striker Chris Ireland both came in but have since left.

The biggest change has been of the manager.  Craig Ness who had been in charge since 2014 left the club in November.  Stevie Kowbel was appointed the new manager on 23 November. He was most recently assistant manager at Brechin Vics.  With last week’s game being postponed, the game against Rosyth would be his first in charge.

The current incarnation of the Junior side from Rosyth were established in 1992, but there was first a Junior team there in 1916.

The 1916 version were called Rosyth Dockyard Recreation and folded in 1926.  They re-emerged in 1946 and won the Fife League, Cup and Cowdenbeath Cup in 1949, but they lasted just a year longer than the first time, folding in 1957.

There was a big gap before Junior football returned to the area, when in 1992,

Dunfermline Jubilee Athletic, founded in 1967, relocated to New Recreation Park and renamed themselves Rosyth Recreation.  (They subsequently dropped the ‘Recreation’ bit.)

Following reconstruction, Rosyth became a member of the East Region Premier League and finished third in 2006-07, the first season.  They were relegated the following season.

The last four seasons have seen them finish twelfth, third, seventh and eighth.  This term, seven wins, a draw and three losses saw them in fifth, two points ahead of Albert having played a game more.

The team have been managed since July 2016 by Kevin Smith and Barry Cockburn.  Cockburn took sole charge in February and he has brought in Andy Penman to work alongside him.

New signings include Dale Prattis from Crossgates Primrose, the returning Scott Houston, Scott Russell, Blair Clark and Baillie Kay, Ryan Cowie from Lumphinnans United.

The joys of an internet connection got us to Gardiners Park which is located on the edge of Lochgelly.  The pitch is railed off from the grass banking which surround the pitch (but sadly don’t seem to protect the fans from the wind.)  A small enclosure is on one side which was added in 2009 and a container houses the food outlet on the same side.

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The game had just kicked off as we entered the ground and there were around 70 in attendance.

The first piece of action we saw was in the second minute, when a long throw by Millar into the Rosyth box was headed away to the edge of the box.  Albert’s Cooper picked up the ball and shot for goal.  It seemed to go through a ruck of players and ended up in the bottom corner of the goal to put the hosts in front.

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Despite the early goal, both sides seemed to be still trying to find their feet in the next few minutes, with little in the way of chances.

Rosyth’s Page chased a through ball in 12 minutes, but Hunter was quickly out of his goal to collect the ball.

A good turn by Albert’s Duffy in 13 minutes on the edge of the box saw him get a shot away, but it took a nick as it went wide.  Cooper’s corner was sliced behind by a Rosyth defender at the front post for another corner.  Cooper took it again and this time aimed at the back post, where Millar rose unchallenged to head into the net to make it 2-0.

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Poor defending by the visitors to leave the biggest player on the pitch free at a corner.

While Rosyth continued to try and fight their way back into the game, they looked a bit shell-shocked to be two behind so quickly.

McPhie tried his luck from distance at the Rosyth goal in 21 minutes, but his effort was off target.

In 24 minutes, Duffy had a go at goal from even further out, but his shot from fully 30 yards was well over the Rosyth bar.

Rowbotham was alert in 25 minutes, coming racing out of his goal to get there before Henderson to smother.

Rosyth won a free kick about 22 yards out in 27 minutes and Duff sent a great effort goalwards which came off the bar.  Gilfillan was first to the rebound, but his cross was taken by Hunter.

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Some lovely football by Albert with half an hour gone when Duffy fed Rennie, who backheeled the ball into the path of Henderson on the right hand side of the box, but he flashed his shot wide of the far post.

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At this stage it looked and sounded like the Rosyth manager was about to spontaneously combust in the dugout at the other side of the pitch.

Henderson showed some nice footwork on the edge of the Rosyth box in 33 minutes to create some space, and he hit a low shot which went right into the corner to make it three for Albert.

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Millar did well down the left for the home side in 35 minutes and a Lochgelly fan near us complimented him in a way that only Scottish people can.  “He’s on fire that c*nt.”

With 44 minutes gone a ball up the right for Rosyth’s Page saw him take the ball into the box and go past Millar, but Murray managed to block the ball behind.

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In first half injury time, Duff swung a free kick into the Albert box and Hampson rose well to get his head on the ball, but it was straight at Hunter.

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A mountain to climb for Rosyth after the first half and Albert looked very comfortable at the break.

Cooper got a sore one in 52 minutes after coming off worse in a 50/50 challenge where he seemed to hurt his back.

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Rosyth’s best way back into the game seemed to be through set pieces, as they had sent in a number of decent deliveries from corners, and another good one by Page in 54 minutes found the head of Robertson, but he couldn’t direct it on target.

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Albert’s Henderson received the game’s first booking in 56 minutes, for pulling back Gilfillan.

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Another good delivery from a Page corner again found Robertson at the back post in 57 minutes, but his header back across goal was cleared by the Albert defence.

McPhie was the next Albert player booked after a foul in 61 minutes. It wasn’t clear from where I was if it had been for the foul or something he said.

Rosyth were starting to put a bit of pressure on, particularly with their set pieces.

Albert broke forward in 63 minutes and had three against two.  Henderson played the ball left for Kirby who picked out Rennie in the box.  He sidestepped a defender but saw his shot blocked by Rowbotham.

Rennie found some space on the left for Albert in 67 minutes and his cross was dummied by Cooper at the front post, but the Rosyth defence got the ball clear.

A minute later and a good ball up the right from Bateson sent Forbes away.  He decided to go for goal himself with Cooper free in the middle, but blasted wide.

A long range strike by Rosyth’s O’Connor in 70 minutes was parried by Hunter and Murray got the ball behind.  Page’s corner to the back post picked out Robertson and he had a free header and nodded home to give Rosyth some hope.

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Cooper sent a good ball from a free kick into the Rosyth box in 74 minutes and Prattis sliced the ball over his own bar.

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Rosyth won a free kick on the edge of the box in 75 minutes after Page had been brought down.  Hampson’s free kick came off the wall and went behind.

Slimmings took a Rosyth corner in 77 minutes and incredibly, Robertson was left unmarked at the back post again and headed home to make it 3-2.

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Just a minute after the goal, Rosyth’s Hampson looked to go in two footed on Millar on the touchline and the left back was quickly up and pushed the striker.  A huge melee resulted, with players from both sides involved.  It was on the opposite side from where we were, so it wasn’t easy to see what happened, but the referee showed a straight red card to Hampson, which didn’t seem to result in too many complaints.  Millar appeared lucky to escape any card for raising his hands and nobody else was punished.

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With Rosyth having their tails up and right back in the game, this was a big blow to their hopes.

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Kirby picked up a loose ball in 83 minutes and carried it across the pitch on the edge of the Rosyth box.  Once he reached a central position, he struck for goal, but somewhat scuffed his shot.  Keeper Rowbotham was wrong footed and couldn’t get across in time to stop the ball, which just about managed to hit the net as it trundled over the line.  4-2 to the hosts.

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Cooper was put through on goal in 86 minutes and took the ball around Rowbotham but was forced wide, and the keeper managed to claim the attempted cross.

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Rosyth’s Kay was shown the yellow card in 88 minutes for dissent.

In the final minute, Kirby played the ball across for Sutherland, but he dragged his shot wide of the Rosyth goal.

There was still time for Rosyth to collect another booking, Robertson being shown the yellow card for dissent.

An entertaining game and one I wasn’t expecting to be at.  Albert looked out of sight at half time, but not learning their lesson to pick up at the back post from corners almost cost them.  Who knows if Rosyth could have got something from the game if they had stayed at full strength.  They didn’t give up and looked like they might just do it when they got their second.  A bit of a Jekyll and Hyde performance from the hosts who played some good stuff in spells, but should never have let Rosyth back into it.

A good start for Albert’s new manager.

Best for Albert were right back Bateson, centre half Murray and winger Cooper, with Glifillan and Chitemere showing good flashes of ability in the Rosyth midfield.

Thanks to both sides for their help with the team line-ups.  And thanks to the referee for letting the game go ahead, which seemed very much the right decision.

One question remains.  Why is Albert goalkeeper Shaun Hunter known as Tuna?

Full Time: Lochgelly Albert 4 Rosyth 2

Admission: £5

Lochgelly Albert: 1 Shaun Hunter, 2 Craig Bateson, 5 Douglas Swan, 4 Scott Murray, 3 Iain Millar, 7 Ricki Cooper (Sutherland 88), 8 John Duffy, 6 Josh McPhie, 11 Joseph Kirby, 9 Martin Rennie, 10 Ewan Henderson (Forbes 65).  Subs: 12 Fraser Sutherland, 13 Colin Rushford, 14 Ryan McEwan, 15 Liam Forbes, 16 Steven Page.

Rosyth: 1 Mark Rowbotham, 8 Steven Slimmings, 2 Ryan O’Connor, 4 Gregg Robertson, 3 Baillie Kay, 5 Scott Gilfillan, 7 Stan Chitemere, 6 Dale Prattis, 11 Blair Duff, 9 Thomas Hampson, 10 Gregg Page.

Referee: David McAlinden

Programme: None.

Bo’ness United v Kilwinning Rangers

Saturday 25 November, 13.45, Newtown Park

The third round Scottish Junior Cup match between Bo’ness United and Kilwinning Rangers.

We had planned to go to Kirkintilloch Rob Roy v Glenafton Athletic in the same competition, but with the weather putting paid to that and several other fixtures, we decided to head to Bo’ness.

East Super League side Bo’ness went into the tie after a very disappointing start to their season.   They sat third from bottom in the league after 13 games, with 8 defeats, four wins and a draw.  They had also been knocked out of the East of Scotland Cup by East Premier side Haddington Athletic.

It wasn’t a massive surprise that Bo’ness would take a while to get going this season.  They needed a big overhaul of the squad after a lot of departures at the season’s end.  Leaving the club were Roddy and Ruari MacLennan, Colin Strickland, Ross Philp, Robert Sloan, Calum Smith, Ross Tierney, Jack Simpson, Sam Collumbine, Fraser Eddington and Ali El Zubaidi.

Coming in were keeper Alex Marshall, defenders Jamie Boyd and Rico Quitongo and midfielder Marc Kelly, who all came on loan from Hamilton Accies, striker Scott Sally from Fauldhouse United, defender Hassan Nyang from Bathgate Thistle, midfielders Calum Scott from Camelon, Alan Comrie from Livingston United and Devon Jacobs from Kelty Hearts.  Also coming in were Andy Shirra and Ryan Miller, both midfielders, from Sauchie, defender Connor Flynn-Gillespie from SD Lenense in Spain and midfielder Ryan Batchelor from Hutchison Vale.   Connor McGregor was signed from Whitehill Welfare but has since returned and Jordan Cropley was signed from Newtongrange Star, but has also moved on.

We last saw the BUs in May when they were beaten by Broxburn Athletic in the Fife & Lothians Cup semi-final.

Bo’ness reached the third round after wins against Lochee Harp and Brechin Vics.  This was the round that they had gone out in the last two seasons, both against sides that they would have been expected to win against.  The opposition this time would be tougher.

We last saw Kilwinning Rangers in April, when we saw their home game against Cumnock in the West Super League Premier Division.  They ended up in third bottom spot and had to negotiate a tricky play-off against Kilsyth Rangers which they came through 3-2 on aggregate to retain their place in the division.

This season has been very different for ‘the Buffs’ so far.  In their 8 league games they have won 6 and lost 2, and were in second spot (if they were to win their games in hand they would be top.)  They suffered a blip in their season when they lost to Irvine Meadow from the league below in the West of Scotland Cup.

Since last season, Kilwinning have lost Darren Miller and Michael Morris, who moved on and Martyn Campbell, who retired.

Coming in were midfielders Sam McCloskey from Stranraer and Michael Wardrope from Ayr United, striker David Winters from Pollok and midfielder James Latta and defender Craig Pettigrew from Auchinleck Talbot.

Kilwinning reached the third round after being awarded the first round tie against Saltcoats Victoria after they were unable to raise a team, then won against Larkhall Thistle in round 2.  Last year saw them reach the quarter final.

There was a healthy crowd through from Kilwinning of around 100 bringing the attendance up to around 350 on a bitterly cold afternoon.  The home supporters were clearly looking for a Brucey Bo’ness.

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Credit to Bo’ness for the state of the pitch.  It looked better than many we have visited this season and with some pretty awful weather during the week, it was impressive.

There were claims for handball in the Bo’ness box in the second minute, but nothing was given.

Kilwinning won a corner in two minutes and Monti crossed to the back post where Boylan rose and tried to guide the ball goalwards with his hand.  It was pretty obvious, and he was shown the yellow card.

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The teams were feeling each other out over the next few minutes (and I was eating a steak slice and trying to get some feeling in my fingers.)

A lovely pass from United’s Kelly sent Scott running into the box on the right in 14 minutes and he fired a shot at the far corner.  Strain looked to get fingertips to it, but couldn’t stop it going in the net and the hosts were in front.

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Scott took a Bo’ness free kick in 18 minutes and his ball into the box was headed across goal by Hunter.  It fell to the feet of Gibb about three yards from goal but he somehow half-volleyed over the bar.

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Kilwinning looked very uncomfortable in defence and a pass back by Pettigrew in 21 minutes was miscontrolled by Strain, who let the ball run out for a corner.

A cross from the right by Keast in 22 minutes was scrambled behind by the Kilwinning defence.  Scott’s corner was right on the head of Hunter, but it was deflected behind.

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McGuiness found Boylan in 24 minutes and he took the ball into the box, but Hunter got across to deflect his shot over the bar.

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Another United free kick in 27 minutes saw Scott’s cross find Hunter’s head, but Strain got both hands to the header.  Hunter tried to head the rebound across goal, but the defence cleared.

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Nice build up play by the home side in 32 minutes ended with Keast setting up Scott on the edge of the box, but he shot straight at Strain.

Scott curled another free kick into the Kilwinning box in 37 minutes which was headed away to the edge of the box.  Snowdon ran onto it, but put his shot over the bar.

Kilwinning broke forward in 41 minutes and the ball was played to Monti on the edge of the box, but his powerful shot was deflected wide.

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Just before half time Kilwinning won a free kick about 25 yards from goal.  Pettigrew struck for goal, but it was a comfortable save for Murphy.

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Bo’ness a goal in front at the break and had controlled the first half.  Kilwinning had been poor and it was hard to think they would be as bad in the second period.

A United corner in 47 minutes was taken by Scott and dropped to Campbell in the box, but his shot was blocked.

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In 52 minutes, Shirra played a ball down the right wing for Scott.  He burst past a defender and crossed into the box for Keast who sent a side footed volley high into the net to double the lead for Bo’ness.

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Monti picked up on a loose Bo’ness header in 54 minutes, but he didn’t catch his shot well from the edge of the box.

With 58 minutes gone, Monti found some space on the left for Kilwinning, but his cross was taken by Murphy.

United’s Gemmell was struggling a bit after getting the ball full in the face.

When Kilwinning’s Maitland brought down Shirra in 61 minutes, he was shown a yellow card for persistent fouling.

Keast got a sore one in 66 minutes after being caught on the back of the head in an aerial challenge.

McCloskey was the next Kilwinning player cautioned, for pulling back Gibb in 68 minutes.

Hunter had a chance at the near post for Bo’ness in 69 minutes but was crowded out.  Kilwinning defender Maitland seemed to say something to the referee in the aftermath and was shown a second yellow card, then a red.  The mountain his side had to climb had just got even steeper.

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In 70 minutes, Keast was almost through on the visitor’s goal, but Pettigrew managed to get in front of him to steer the ball back to his keeper.  Remarkably, Strain took the ball into his hands.  Even more remarkably, the referee didn’t give Bo’ness a free kick for a pass back.

Kelly was next to get a sight of the Kilwinning goal, breaking through on the right in 71 minutes, but his shot flashed wide of the far post.

Nisbet did well on the left for Kilwinning in 72 minutes, going past two defenders before Jacobs got back to poke the ball behind.  The corner came to Boylan at the back post, but he sclaffed his shot behind.

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Things weren’t improving for Kilwinning, with Pettigrew overhitting a pass back in 73 minutes which went out for a corner.

Kelly went down the right for Bo’ness in 75 minutes, but his cutback was between Jacobs and Scott in the middle.

Wardrope cut in from the right in 76 minutes, he fired well over the Bo’ness bar.

Great skill by Keast in 77 minutes to turn away from two Kilwinning players and he managed to poke the ball through for Scott.  He drew the keeper before slotting past him into the corner to make it three.

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Coleman was the next player shown the yellow card for bringing down United’s Keast in 79 minutes.

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Bo’ness continued to attack and Shirra got away from two defenders on the right in 81 minutes before swinging a cross into the box.  Scott got a header in, but it went wide of goal.

Monti showed some good skill on the right for Kilwinning in 82 minutes and his ball across goal was played back by Wardrope for Frye, but he lashed over the bar.

With 5 minutes left, Gemmell found Flynn-Gillespie on the right for Bo’ness.  He cut the ball back for Miller, but his shot was wide.

Miller was shown a yellow card in 88 minutes for Bo’ness.

There was a chance for Boylan in the Bo’ness box in the final minute, but his shot was saved by Murphy.  The ball came back to the same player, but the defence managed to block his effort.

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In injury time, Kilwinning won a free kick about 23 yards from goal.  Monti curled it over the wall, but Murphy was able to touch it wide.

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A convincing win for Bo’ness and one which only their most ardent fan would have predicted.  They were impressive all over the park and played some great football.  Certainly not how they had reportedly been playing previously.  As good as the hosts were, Kilwinning were very poor.  They seemed nervous from the start and basic errors throughout cost them.  They couldn’t deal with Bo’ness in the air and it seemed incredible that they kept giving away free kicks and corners to give United the opportunity to get the ball into their box.  It was a big surprise that they didn’t lose a goal as a result of one of these.

As surprising as the result may have been, it didn’t flatter Bo’ness who could easily have scored a few more.

Hard to pick out the best players for Bo’ness, as there wasn’t a failing in the team.  Hunter was immense in defence and the whole midfield put in a good shift.  Keast and Kelly caused problems throughout, but it was Scott that Kilwinning really couldn’t cope with and his two goals and an assist were testimony to that.

It was equally hard to pick out Kilwinning’s best for entirely different reasons.  McGuiness tried to continue to play football and had some success and Monti showed flashes of his ability.  Very much an off day for the Ayrshire men.

Full Time: Bo’ness United 3 Kilwinning Rangers 0

Admission: £6

Bo’ness United: 21 Andy Murphy, 3 Scott Gibb (Flynn-Gillespie 83), 4 Ross Campbell, 5 Stuart Hunter, 2 Will Snowdon (Batchelor 92), 6 Andy Shirra, 7 Devon Jacobs, 8 Michael Gemmell, 11 Calum Scott, 10 Marc Kelly, 9 Fraser Keast (Miller 80). Subs: 12 Ryan Batchelor, 14 Connor Flynn-Gillespie, 15 Ryan Lemetti, 16 Ryan Miller, GK Alex Marshall.

Kilwinning Rangers: 1 Adam Strain, 2 James Latta (Coleman 53), 4 Craig Pettigrew, 5 Thomas Maitland, 3 Sam McCloskey, 7 Carlo Monti, 6 Findlay Frye, 8 Liam McGuiness (Wardope 56), 10 Ryan Nisbet, 9 David Winters (Lewis 56), 11 Bryan Boylan.  Subs: 12 Jamie Whyte, 14 Joe Coleman, 15 Ricky Hanvey, 16 Ben Lewis, 17 Michael Wardrope.

Referee: Scott Lambie

Programme: None.

Thanks to @NeilC80 for the picture of Bruce from the game and to @Thomson_scott for the teams.

Follow me on Twitter @blowyfootball

Hearts v Partick Thistle

Sunday 19 November 2017, 15.00, Tynecastle Park

Scottish Premier League action between Hearts and Partick Thistle.

The long overdue return of Hearts to their Tynecastle home, after delays in the building of a new stand.

We last saw Hearts when they were originally supposed to be returning to Gorgie, on 9 September when they faced Aberdeen.  This was the first of four games that Hearts played at Murrayfield, the home of Scottish rugby.

The building of the new main stand at Hearts’ home has meant every game so far has been away from their traditional home.  They have played nine games away and the four as mentioned above.  This has probably been a contributing factor to their disappointing form so far, with four wins and three draws from the thirteen.

Their last outing saw a 2-1 defeat at “home” to Kilmarnock and players and fans will be delighted to get back home.  The game was in doubt right up to the last minute as a security certificate was sought from the Council.  Although the stand will not be fully completed until 2018, it was declared fit to open to supporters.

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We hadn’t seen Partick Thistle for a while.

Thistle were formed in 1876 in the burgh of Partick, which was then independent of Glasgow (Partick was not subsumed into Glasgow until 1912).   The club now play in the Maryhill area of the city, and have not played in Partick since 1908.

They joined the Scottish Football Alliance in 1891, set up after the formation of the Scottish Football League in 1890 and then joined the Football League in 1893.  They became a bit of a yo-yo club in those early years, with 4 years in the First Division and 5 in the Second, with three promotions in that spell.  They consolidated their place in the First Division after that, and instead spent their time moving home.  A lot of different grounds were used before moving into their current home in 1908.

Since 1908 the club have won the Scottish Second Division once and the Scottish First Division (second tier, now the Scottish Championship) six times, most recently in 2013.

The Scottish Cup was won for the only time in Thistle’s history in 1921 when they beat Rangers 1-0.  Fifty years later, they caused a major shock when they defeated Celtic in the League Cup Final, by four goals to one.

A period of decline began in the ‘80s, which saw the club hit hard times both financially and on the pitch and they dropped down to third tier of the football league in 1998.

In the first two seasons of the new millennium, consecutive promotions saw them back in the top league.  Consecutive relegations in 2003-04 and ’05 saw them back where they started.  2006 saw a return to the second tier.

Season 2012-13 saw Thistle return to the top league where they have remained.  They finished last season in 6th spot, the first time they had been in the top six since the introduction of the league split in 2000-01.

Thistle went into this season with a considerably changed squad.  Liam Lindsay, Mark Ridgers, David Amoo, David Wilson, James Prentice, Adebayo Azeez and Sean Welsh all left the club.

Coming in for Thistle were right backs Milan Nitriansky from Bohemians 1905 in the Czech Republic and Paul McGinn from Chesterfield, goalkeeper Jamie Sneddon from Cowdenbeath, midfielders Blair Spittal from Dundee United and Martin Woods from Ross County, centre backs Jordan Turnbull (on loan) from Coventry City and Niall Keown from Reading, left back James Penrice on loan from Livingston, and forwards Miles Storey from Aberdeen and Conor Sammon (on loan) from Hearts.

Thistle have had a disappointing start to their season, and had only two wins and four draws from their 13 games.  They sat in second bottom spot.  Two wins and a draw in their last three league games showed signs of improvement.  Jordan Turnbull returned to the side following injury.

Hearts were boosted by the return of Arnaud Djoum to the midfield following injury and another recently injured player, Jamie Walker was on the bench.  They were without John Souttar, Ashley Smith-Brown and Malaury Martin.  Thistle had their own concerns, missing Mustapha Dumbuya, Callum Booth, Stuart Brannigan, Christie Elliott and Abdul Osman.  They were also without the services of Conor Sammon, the on-loan Hearts striker not able to face his parent club.

With Hearts struggling to get the new stand completed in time (or at least getting a  safety certificate to allow the structure to be used)  it was only finally 100% confirmed that the game would go ahead on the morning of the game.  While this was undoubtedly far from ideal, and didn’t consider those who needed to make travel arrangements and possibly book accommodation, the outpouring of anger by fans of all clubs on social media seemed a bit over the top.

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I’m sure Hearts were embarrassed by the situation, but these things do happen, with the ‘new Wembley’ construction being another example.  While you can’t control the weather, I have numerous experiences of games being called off very close to kick off.

With requests to turn up early conveyed to the fans, there was a good crowd in early, who witnessed TV and radio’s Nicky Campbell interview Chairwoman Ann Budge.  Then Scott Hutchison, lead singer of Frightened Rabbit, sang one of their songs, before his own version of the Hearts song.

The pre-match entertainment was all well and good, but it was a bit of a bind for those who had turned up early to hear that the kick off was delayed by 15 minutes to cater for those who hadn’t.

There were 16,999 in attendance and they were greeted with fireworks as the teams came out.

Hearts won a free kick about 23 yards out in the second minute and Isma hit a low shot at goal, but it was taken by Cerny.

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In 5 minutes, Milinkovic burst into the Thistle box, but his progress was halted by a good tackle.

Thistle’s Barton picked up the afternoon’s first booking in 8 minutes, after bringing down Isma at the third attempt.

Milinkovic was causing problems for Thistle with his direct running and another run down the left in 11 minutes saw him take the ball into the box, going past two defenders, but his attempted pass was cut out and the ball was cleared.

A pass out of defence by Cowie in 13 minutes released Milinkovic again and he took the ball forward, but had his shot blocked.

Spittal sprinted past Brandon in 14 minutes as Thistle looked to attack, but Berra got across to turn the ball behind.  Spittal’s corner found the head of Keown, but he couldn’t keep it down.

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Brandon took the ball down the right for Hearts in 19 minutes and his cross into the box saw a Thistle defender slip.  The ball came to Lafferty who turned sharply, but his shot was wide of the post.

In 24 minutes, Milinkovic received the ball from Cowie in the Thistle box and went down under challenge, but nothing was given.

Storey broke down the left for Thistle in 28 minutes, beating the Hearts offside trap, and he cut the ball back for Erskine.  He was under pressure as he received the ball and could only scuff his shot wide.

More good build up play from Hearts in 29 minutes, involving Milinkovic, Djoum and Smith, but nobody seemed to want to shoot and they had to make do with a corner which came to nothing.

Milinkovic was to the fore again in 35 minutes, having another effort blocked.  The ball came to Lafferty, but he dragged his shot wide.

The home fans were becoming irritated with the length of time Thistle keeper Cerny was taking every time he was taking a goal kick or free kick.

Hearts’ Lafferty and Thistle’s Turnbull seemed to have a bit of a tete-a-tete on the touchline in 43 minutes, but the referee quickly stepped in.

Just before the break, a mistake by Hughes sent Storey through on the Hearts goal.  He drew out McLaughlin and with the defence chasing back, he dragged his shot wide.

No goals at the interval in a game which the hosts had bossed but hadn’t really created much.  Milinkovic had looked dangerous, but his final pass or shot hadn’t produced results.  Thistle were defending well and had blocked numerous shots on the edge of the box.

Brandon looked to keep Hearts on the front foot at the start of the second half when he ran into the box in 47 minutes, but Isma couldn’t get his pass under control and the chance was gone.

Some good skill by Djoum in 54 minutes saw him lift the ball over a Thistle player’s head before passing to Isma on the left.  He cut inside and sent a curling effort towards goal.  Lafferty let the ball run through his legs in the middle of the box and Cerny couldn’t get there as the ball went into the corner to put Hearts in front.  A suspicion that Lafferty may have been offside.

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A good move by Thistle in 60 minutes almost had Doolan through, but a good tackle by Berra stopped it.

Thistle were starting to really come into the game and were having a lot more possession after the Hearts goal.

Brandon cleverly chipped the ball into the Thistle box in 69 minutes looking for Isma, but he couldn’t quite reach the bouncing ball.

Hearts first yellow card of the match was shown to Brandon in 71 minutes for a late tackle on Spittal.

Isma had to change his shorts in 75 minutes after having them ripped.

A free kick for Hearts in 77 minutes was taken by Cowie and Berra got in a header, but it was wide of the far post.

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Isma laid the ball off for Lafferty on the edge of the Thistle box in 80 minutes, but his shot was deflected wide.

Thistle came forward in 83 minutes through McGinn and his ball into the Hearts box was dangerous, but nobody could get a touch.

Spittal floated a free kick into the Hearts area in 85 minutes and several players went up looking for a header.  The ball seemed to come off the elbow of Turnbull and dropped perfectly for Doolan who lashed the ball into the net for the equaliser.

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Thistle’s Devine was cautioned in 86 minutes for a late tackle on Walker.

There were no further chances and the game finished all square.

Hearts would have been kicking themselves not to take 3 points in a game that they dominated, but they didn’t call Cerny into action enough.  Thistle got stronger as the game wore on and took full advantage of the rare chance they got.

Milinkovic caused problems for Thistle, particularly in the first half and Brandon had a solid performance on the right.  For the visitors, Turnbull and Devine defended resolutely and looked a good partnership at the back.

Full Time: Hearts 1 Partick Thistle 1

Admission: £19

Hearts: 1 Jon McLaughlin, 2 Michael Smith, 5 Aaron Hughes, 6 Christophe Berra, 30 Jamie Brandon, 15 Don Cowie (Keena 88), 10 Arnaud Sutchuin-Djoum, 20 Ross Callachan, 11 David Milinkovic, 9 Kyle Lafferty (Stockton 81), 77 Isma Gonçalves (Walker 81).  Subs: 7 Jamie Walker, 13 Jack Hamilton, 16 Connor Randall, 19 Krystian Nowak, 23 Cole Stockton, 47 Harry Cochrane, 52 Aidan Keena.

Partick Thistle: 1 Tomas Cerny, 16 Paul McGinn, 4 Jordan Turnbull, 5 Niall Keown, 15 Daniel Devine, 7 Blair Spittal, 13 Adam Barton, 19 Ryan Edwards, 11 Steven Lawless (Nisbet 84), 10 Chris Erskine (Fraser 81), 39 Miles Storey (Doolan 58). Subs: 9 Kris Doolan, 12 Ryan Scully, 17 Milan Nitriansky, 20 Kevin Nisbet, 22 Gary Fraser, 24 Andy McCarthy.

Referee: Andrew Dallas

Programme: £3.50

Fauldhouse United v Musselburgh Athletic

Saturday 18 November 2017, 13.45, Parkview

A top of the table clash in the East Premier League between Fauldhouse United and Musselburgh Athletic.

We last saw Fauldhouse when they won 3-2 at Tranent at the end of September.  Cup ties and a postponement have meant that they have only played twice in the league since then.  A draw at Haddington and a win at Dunbar saw them sitting in second spot in the table, five points behind the leaders.  With the top two going up automatically to the Super League (third spot wins a play-off place against third bottom of the Super League) they were looking to maintain their form for the rest of the season and go straight back up to the top league after relegation.

Fauldhouse had made a couple of signings since we last saw them.  Midfielder Chrissy Patrick had joined from Whitburn Junior and former Falkirk and Albion Rovers forward Jake Coulter had also signed up.

It was a first sighting of the season of Musselburgh for us, having last watched them fall on penalties to Tranent Juniors in the semi-final of the Fife and Lothians Cup in May.

Musselburgh suffered heartbreak when they were relegated on the final day of last season, ending their eight year stay in the Super League.  They managed to keep the bulk of the squad together and have quickly taken to their new surroundings in the Premier League.

They sat in top spot after 12 matches, having won eleven and drawn one.  With their lead over their second placed opponents at five points, a win would provide a big step in making their time in the Premier League a short one.

To supplement the squad for their assault on the Premier League, Musselburgh brought in former Hibs and Hearts youth player Bradley Whyte, left back Chris Gray has returned to the club from Linlithgow Rose after 7 years away, goalkeeper Asher Tufail from Edinburgh United and striker Stephen MacDonald, who arrived at the club from American football.  (That’s soccer, not grid iron.)

With Fauldhouse’s scheduled home fixture being postponed the week before, we’d kept an eye on the weather all week, but a 9.30am pitch inspection confirmed the game would be on.

We were through early and were greeted by the always friendly gents at the entrance who must provide the warmest welcome in football.  Always ready for a chat regardless of your team and always with good humour.  This continued after we procured something from the pie stand as a local by the name of “Robert” chatted to us in the ground.  He told us he’d been married 51 years and was always concerned when he went out to put something in the bin, that his wife would “lock the door so I couldn’t get back in.”

The friendly nature of those associated with Fauldhouse was spoiled a little when a BMW parked behind the goals was hit by a ball shot by a home player warming up.  I’m sure it wasn’t deliberate.  The car was moved soon after.

Fauldhouse are one of the sides that have a board up that they write the team names and numbers on before the game.  I can’t tell you how much I like teams doing that.

It was clear a lot of work had been done to get the pitch playable, but it was certainly patchy in parts.  The referee was inspecting the worst parts and we had worries of a very late call off when he bounced the ball several times without any movement whatsoever.

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There were around 100 in attendance.

With 7 minutes gone, Moffat won the ball for Burgh from O’Donnell and exchanged passes before winning his team a corner which came to nothing.

A minute later up the other end Currie flicked the ball on for Bennett.  He took the ball past a defender and was through on goal.  He struck his shot well, but Adams made a good save and the Burgh defence got the ball clear.

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Ward had a strike at the Burgh goal from 25 yards in 10 minutes, but he was off target.

Burgh’s Whyte looked as if he might have a chance when he ran onto a pass on the right hand side of the box in 13 minutes, but Ward was across to slide tackle the ball away.

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Currie ran into the Burgh box on the left in 16 minutes and flashed a shot across the face of goal, but it was wide of the far post.

Dunn won the ball from O’Kane in 17 minutes and took it forward before deciding to go himself from 20 yards, but it was a comfortable save for Adams.

Currie turned very well in the Burgh box in 23 minutes to get away from McManus, but a heavy touch gave Adams the opportunity to claim the ball.

In 24 minutes, King ran onto a pass down the right and took the ball into the Fauldhouse box. He cut inside a defender before seeing his shot blocked by Hutchison’s leg at the near post.

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Thomson came forward for Burgh on the right in 27 minutes and beat Brown before cutting the ball back for Cherrie, whose shot was blocked behind.

Fauldhouse broke quickly in 28 minutes and Currie sent Bennett through on goal.  It was another great chance, but again he couldn’t beat Adams.

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McLeod required treatment in 29 minutes after the Fauldhouse player was subjected to a robust tackle in the middle of the park.

It was clear the importance of the game with how much players were shouting at team mates.  Particularly if they made a poor decision.

Dunn took the ball into the Burgh box in 32 minutes and exchanged passes with Currie, but his shot was blocked.

A cross from the right in 33 minutes came to the feet of Bennett who struck the ball on the half volley, but it fizzed wide of the Burgh goal.

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Musselburgh won a free kick 25 yards from goal in 35 minutes and Thomson had a go at goal, but his curling effort was too high.

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After an offside call against Musselburgh in 36 minutes, a defender played the ball across to Fauldhouse keeper Hutchison.  With the ball at the goalie’s feet, Burgh striker King asked him if a free kick had been awarded.  Hutchison replied, “I dunno”, before booting the ball up the park.

Currie played the ball through to Bennett in 38 minutes and a Burgh defender flew across the box to block his shot.  The rebound was fired back at goal by Currie, but deflected over.

With 39 minutes gone, Bennett played the ball across the Burgh goal and it came to Brady at the back post with the goal gaping.  The defender didn’t make good contact though, and the ball drifted wide.  He may have been put off by an uneven bounce.

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Dunn attempted a low cross into the Burgh box in 40 minutes, but it was blocked.  The ball came back to him, but he lashed it over the bar.

Just before the break, as the ball was cleared into the crowd near where I stood, it came off the corner of one of the steps and flew up over my head where I caught it one handed.  The Fauldhouse official running the line shouted “Sign him!”  Still got it.

The hosts had the better of the first half and had some very good chances but had failed to score.  You couldn’t help feeling that might come back to bite them.

As the teams lined up for the second half, the referee looked to both keepers to check they were ready by waving at them.  Adams acknowledged him from the Burgh goal, then Hutchison did so with a very enthusiastic over the top wave, which we found funnier than it probably was.

In the opening minute of the half, Fauldhouse’s O’Donnell had a strike from the edge of the box, but his low effort was taken by Adams.

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Currie played a one-two with O’Donnell on the right for Fauldhouse in 47 minutes, but his cutback was cleared.

O’Kane had a go from a Burgh free kick from more than 25 yards away in 48 minutes, but he put it well over the bar.

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A deep cross into the Fauldhouse box by Moffat from the right in 50 minutes found King at the back post, and he sent a looping header over Hutchison, but a defender headed the ball off the line.

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Burgh’s Gray was shown the yellow card in 51 minutes and had a bit of a slanging match with the Fauldhouse linesman afterwards.

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Currie crossed into the Burgh box in 52 minutes and the ball dropped between players, but Adams was quick to smother.

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In 54 minutes, MacDonald threaded a ball through the Fauldhouse defence for King, but Watson got across to clear the danger.

Bennett played the ball into the feet of Currie in the Burgh box in 57 minutes and he showed great skill to turn the defender in close proximity before shooting low into the corner to give the home side the lead.

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Two minutes later and King read an attempted passback from Fauldhouse and was onto it in a flash.  He quickly took the ball around Hutchison and slotted home for the equaliser.

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Burgh had their tails up after the leveller and broke forward in 61 minutes with Whyte playing the ball to Thomson on the right.  He cut the ball back to King, but Hutchison made a fantastic save to keep out the shot.

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Fauldhouse’s Bennett was next to go into the referee’s book in 62 minutes.

Moffat passed to Whyte in 67 minutes and his shot was partly blocked and spun up in the air into the grateful Hutchison’s arms in the Fauldhouse goal.

Burgh’s MacDonald made progress down the left in 68 minutes and smashed the ball across the face of goal, but nobody could get a touch in the middle.

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The visitors were having a good spell and Whyte set up King in 70 minutes, but a block took the sting out of his shot and Hutchison saved easily.

MacDonald burst up the left in 73 minutes and beat two defenders before he was tackled in the Fauldhouse box.  The ball came to King and his shot took a bit of a deflection, but Hutchison saved well.

Burgh were almost undone in 75 minutes when a passback to Adams was hit a little hard and he took a heavy touch, but managed to get the break of the ball as Bennett tackled him.

King limped off in 76 minutes with what looked like a hamstring pull.  Not good news for Burgh.

Nice play by Fauldhouse in 78 minutes between Bennett and Currie saw the latter’s shot blocked.  The ball came to O’Donnell, whose shot was also blocked and Adams was able to take possession.

O’Kane passed to Moffat on the edge of the Fauldhouse box in 82 minutes and he sent a shot goalwards which beat Hutchison, but came off the bar.  The defence managed to get the ball away.

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Moffat was involved again a minute later when he picked out Murphy at the back post in space, but Hutchison made a fine save to turn his shot around the post.

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Ralton raced into the Fauldhouse box in 85 minutes, but Hutchison was out quickly to save at his feet.

Fauldhouse were guilty of overplaying a bit in their own half in 86 minutes and Murphy stole the ball and found Ralton on the left.  He took the ball into the box, but dragged his shot wide.

With two minutes left Brogan found some space on the right as Fauldhouse came forward.  His cross into the middle was met by the head of Currie, but went inches wide of the goal.

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Moffat was booked in 89 minutes for a foul on Fauldhouse’s O’Donnell.

As we reached 90 minutes, a kick out by Adams was headed on by MacDonald for Ralton, but he was given offside.

An entertaining game and very much the proverbial game of two halves.  Fauldhouse would have been disappointed not to be leading at the break, but Burgh will wonder how they didn’t win the game in the second half.

Credit has to go to both teams for trying to get the ball down and play football the right way, despite the difficult conditions.

There were a number of good performances and it was easy to see why the two sides are at the top of the table.  For Fauldhouse, Dunn and Ward impressed in the middle of the park and Currie did well up front.  In Burgh’s colours, I was surprised at Cherrie being withdrawn after an hour as I thought he had done well, and Thomson was a constant danger on the right.  Moffat also stood out for the East Lothian side.

There also has to be praise for both keepers, who handled well and made a number of good saves.  They were both helpless at the goals.

An enjoyable afternoon all round.

Full Time: Fauldhouse United 1 Musselburgh Athletic 1

Admission: £6

Fauldhouse United: 1 JC Hutchison, 2 Sammy Watson, 3 James Brown, 4 Chrissy Patrick, 5 Declan Brady, 6 David Dunn, 7 David O’Donnell, 8 Aiden Ward, 9 Jack Currie, 10 Jamie McLeod (Brogan 66), 11 Mathew Bennett.  Subs: 12 Martin Brogan, 14 Jake Coulter, 15 Ben Magee, 21 Johnny O’Connor.

Musselburgh Athletic: 1 Ally Adams, 2 John McManus, 4 Chris Gray, 6 Declan O’Kane, 8 Gary Cherrie (Murphy 60), 10 Mathu King (Ralton 76), 12 Bradley Donaldson, 14 Michael Moffat, 15 Conor Thomson, 18 Bradley Whyte, 20 Stephen MacDonald. Subs: 3 Matty Lynch, 7 Sean Murphy, 17 Ewan Ralton, 21 Asher Tufail.

Referee: Craig Macrae

Programme: None.

Hibernian Ladies v Glasgow City

Sunday 12 November 2017, 13.00, Ainslie Park

Hibs Ladies versus Glasgow City in the Scottish Women’s Premier League 1.

The penultimate game of the season in the top league of the women’s game in Scotland and pretty much a title decider.  Two points separated the sides going into the game, with Glasgow City leading the way.  Only a City win would seal the destination of the title on the day, but between them, they had only lost two games all season.  Those were in the match-ups against each other and City had won them both.  Although they had been the only points Hibs had dropped, City had drawn twice over the season, but it was widely expected that both would win their final games.

So effectively, a win for either side was imperative.  For City, it would confirm the title, for Hibs, it would put them in pole position and almost certainly give them the trophy.  A draw would almost confirm it for City.  With one of Scotland’s two Champions League places lost, only the league winners would be taking part in next season’s European competition.

Hibs have pushed their rivals all the way and have had the upper hand in recent cup competitions, winning the last three domestic cups.  City have won the league for the last ten seasons.  The sides were also to meet in the Scottish Cup Final just a couple of weeks later. 

We last saw Hibs Ladies just 11 days before, when they won 2-0 at home to Rangers Ladies.  They faced the same side four days later in Glasgow and won 4-1.  It wasn’t all good news for Hibs though.  In that win in Glasgow, defender and captain Joelle Murray and midfield stalwart Lisa Robertson were both sent off, meaning that they would miss the showdown with City.

It was August when we last saw Glasgow City.  They visited Hearts in the Scottish Cup and put on a commanding display to beat Hearts Women 7-0.  Since then, they have re-signed Eilish McSorley who joined in September for her second spell at the club.  After 6 seasons at City, she left in 2015 to sign for Swedish side
Mallbackens IF.

September also saw City return to Glasgow and to their former home of Petershill Park.  Having played the last three seasons at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadium, they have gone back to the north of Glasgow.

Around 250 turned out to watch, which included suspended Lisa Robertson, Scotland Women manager Shelley Kerr and Martin Boyle of the Hibs men’s side (who is the partner of Hibs Ladies Rachael Small.)

There was a minute’s silence before the game to commemorate Remembrance Day.  While this is something I never have an issue doing, and think it is right to mark the sacrifices made by the men and women who gave their lives so we could live ours, going to watch lots of different teams games at this time of year has made it start to feel like sponsored silence.  This was the sixth or seventh one we had taken part in at a football match in the last few weeks and all were observed respectfully.

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In the fifth minute, a ball up the left hand side by Turner saw Smith use her pace to get to the ball ahead of Keenan in the City defence, but Alexander came out of her goal quickly to challenge and Smith could only knock the ball across the six yard box and the defence cleared.

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A long ball forward by City in 8 minutes saw Hibs’ Smith go down clutching her face as if she had been caught.  Nothing was given as the ball rolled through to Fife in the goal.

Murray picked up a loose ball around 20 yards from the Hibs goal in 12 minutes and made her way across the pitch before shooting narrowly over.

Up the other end a minute later Harrison ran onto a through ball into the City box, but the flag went up as her shot was blocked by Alexander.

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Ross crossed into the Hibs box from the right in 16 minutes and the ball dropped for McMurchie who sent an unstoppable half volley into the net to give City the lead.

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City started to put pressure on in the next couple of minutes looking to add to their lead.  A period of possession ended with McMurchie looping a shot wide in 18 minutes.

McCabe received the ball on the left for City in 22 minutes.  She got to the bye-line and crossed to the back post where the ball was played back to Lauder.  Her shot went narrowly wide of the Hibs goal.

Hibs were guilty of overplaying at the back when City got a foot in with 23 minutes gone.  The ball came to Lauder who fired a shot at goal.  Fife made a great save, but it was a City player who was nearest to the rebound and Grant poked the ball home to make it two.

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More sloppy play at the back by Hibs just a minute later saw Notley gift possession to Lauder who strode through on goal and knocked the ball past Fife for City’s second goal in the space of two minutes. 

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City three goals in front with less than 25 minutes gone.

Hibs’ McLauchlan was shown a yellow card in 30 minutes for dissent.

Cornet played a pass behind the City defence in 35 minutes and Harrison ran onto it.  With defenders in pursuit she let fly from just inside the box, but Alexander managed to save it and the defence got the ball away.

In 37 minutes, Docherty won the ball for City from McLauchlan on the half way line before sprinting down the left.  Her cross was met by Smith, but her attempt to clear went high in the air.  Fife managed to claim the ball as it came down.

Grant brought the ball forward for City in 41 minutes and had a shot from 22 yards, but it was wide of the goal.

City were still three goals to the good at the break and it was hard to see Hibs finding a way back into the match.

Four minutes into the second half, Lauder passed to Crichton who played the ball through for McCabe.  She sidestepped a Hibs defender, but her low shot was saved by Fife.

A City corner in 50 minutes was played to Love on the corner of the box and she shot for goal, but it was too high.

Ross put a free kick into the Hibs box in 52 minutes and found the unmarked McMurchie, but she headed wide.

City continued to make the running and McCabe cut the ball back to Lauder in the Hibs box in 54 minutes, but Hunter managed to block.

The Glasgow side had some lovely build up play in 56 minutes and it gave McCabe a chance to shoot on the edge of the box, but she couldn’t find the target.

In 62 minutes, Murray played a square ball to Grant who fired a good strike at goal from 20 yards, but Hibs keeper Fife produced a flying save to turn the ball behind.

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Small put Hibs on the attack in 64 minutes with a pass up the left for Harrison.  She played the ball to Smith who shot over the bar from the corner of the box.

Harrison showed good close control for Hibs in 67 minutes and she had a go at goal from 25 yards, but it was a comfortable save for Alexander.

City’s McCabe got a sore one in 72 minutes after being caught by Harrison.

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With 75 minutes gone, McMurchie passed forward to Love.  She played the ball across to Keenan who shot at the Hibs goal, but it was wide.

A Hibs corner in 78 minutes went over the head of City keeper Alexander, but the defence got the ball away.

Harrison got her head on a Hibs cross from the right in 81 minutes, but she couldn’t get it on target.

Docherty intercepted a Harrison pass in 83 minutes and exchanged passes with Crichton before shooting at the Hibs goal, but it was wide of the post.

There was concern for Small in 85 minutes when she landed awkwardly when trying to get on the end of a Hibs corner, but she was ok to continue.

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Hibs’ Cornet was shown a yellow card in the final minute for a foul on Murray.

As the game reached injury time, there was a chance for Foley in the Hibs box, but Fife was able to push her shot clear.

The final whistle blew soon afterwards, and City had their 11th consecutive league title. 

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A much easier afternoon for City than anyone could have predicted and they had the game wrapped up early.  Hibs undoubtedly missed the calming influence of Murray in defence and Robertson’s bite in midfield, and individual errors gave away two of the goals.  City were clinical when the chances came along and managed the game well once they had established their commanding lead.  Hibs improved in the second half, but never looked like clawing back the game and City must be commended on yet another impressive season.

Docherty, McCabe and Lauder all shone brightly for City and Smith and Turner battled bravely for Hibs.

Full Time: Hibs Ladies 0 Glasgow City 3

Admission: £5

Hibernian Ladies: 1 Jenna Fife, 12 Rachel McLauchlan (Michie 79), 24 Emma Brownlie, 4 Siobhan Hunter, 11 Kirsty Smith, 19 Chelsea Cornet, 23 Rachael Small, 16 Ellis Notley, 15 Amy Gallacher (Tweedie 66), 21 Abi Harrison, 18 Katey Turner. Subs: 25 Hannah Reid, 8 Cailin Michie, 14 Shannon Leishman, 22 Caitlin Russell, 27 Lia Tweedie.

Glasgow City: 29 Lee Alexander, 15 Keeva Keenan, 16 Leanne Ross, 2 Lauren McMurchie (McCarthy 87), 11 Nicola Docherty, 24 Katie McCabe (Paton 80), 8 Leanne Crichton, 6 Jo Love, 7 Abbi Grant, 4 Hayley Lauder (Foley 76), 10 Noelle Murray. Subs: 25 Erin Clachers, 23 Megan Foley, 3 Savannah McCarthy, 12 Carla Boyce, 17 Eilish McSorley, 18 Sam Kerr, 19 Joanne Paton.

Referee: Lorraine Clark

Programme: None.

Penicuik Athletic v Kilbirnie Ladeside

Saturday 11 November 2017, 14.00, Penicuik Park

Scottish Junior Cup Second Round Replay action between East Superleague Penicuik Athletic and West Super League Premier Division’s Kilbirnie Ladeside.

It had only been three weeks since we were last at Penicuik, when their unbeaten start to the season fell in a 3-0 defeat to Lochee where they were very disappointing.

Penicuik reached the fifth round last year, when they were knocked out by Kirkintilloch Rob Roy in a 4-3 thriller, which we were fortunate enough to attend.

Penicuik were missing both their captain Craig Hume and manager Johnny Harvey, who were at a wedding.

It’s a first sight of Kilbirnie Ladeside for many a year.

Kilbirnie Ladeside were formed in 1901 and are nicknamed ‘The Blasties’.  This derives from the Robert Burns poem The Inventory.  Ever since that formation, they have consistently picked up at least one trophy every decade.

They won the Junior League in 1903-04, not giving their fans long to wait to see their first silverware. The Ayrshire Cup was won in 1913 and again in 1924, when they made it a cup double, also winning the League Cup.

The ’30’s saw two more League Cups come their way and then the late 1940s/early 1950s saw a golden period, with 3 league titles, two Ayrshire Cups and the first time they won the holy grail of the Juniors, the Scottish Cup in 1952.

Season 1967-68 saw a league win before the ‘70s saw another league title, three Ayrshire Cups and in 1977, a second Junior Cup.

The eighties saw victory in the Ayrshire Cup and League Cup and they reached the Junior Cup final in 1987, but this time they were unsuccessful.

Another League Cup came in 1994-95 and the noughties saw a West of Scotland Cup win in 2008 before the League Cup again came the way of Kilbirnie in 2010.  That has been their last trophy, so to keep up the trophy record, they have three years left to get their hands on something this decade.

With a good start to their league season and several cups still up for grabs, this may well be their year.

Former Clydebank manager Billy McGhee took over at Kilbirnie in May after former Linlithgow Rose manager Mark Bradley returned to his old club.  It wasn’t the smoothest of starts for the new management team, with only 5 of the previous season’s squad staying at the club.

He has had to get players in quickly and began with three Possil YM players – Bradley Rodden, Kris Lafferty & Harry Clark.  Further players have arrived, including forward Jon Scullion from Greenock Morton, former Queens Park defender Gavin Mitchell and defender Dominic McLaren from East Kilbride.

The newly assembled squad has gelled quickly and fans of the Blasties are hopeful of a successful season.

Kilbirnie went out in the second round of last season’s Junior Cup at Banks O’ Dee.

The original tie between the sides was postponed at the eleventh hour with Penicuik’s players, officials and supporters already in Ayrshire.  The teams then met in Kilbirnie and played out a 2-2 draw, with Kilbirnie twice coming from behind in a game that Penicuik probably should have won.

With both teams coming from the top league in their respective sides of the country, there had been a certain symmetry that both were sitting in second spot in their respective tables.  Since the first game between the two, Penicuik had dropped to third, with Lochee leapfrogging them.

There was a bumper crowd in the ground, with a noisy contingent from Ayrshire making themselves heard.

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There was a minute’s silence before the game to mark Remembrance Day.

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With 6 minutes gone, Kilbirnie’s Finlay got the ball on the left and went past Hamilton before cutting inside and seeing his shot take a nick off Forbes on its way behind.

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Scullion’s corner was headed away by Young and Penicuik broke forward.  Barr found the feet of Somerville who cut inside a defender before shooting from the edge of the box, but it was well wide of goal.

Bembo played the ball to Williamson on the right in 8 minutes as Kilbirnie came forward again, but his cross was too hard for those in the middle.

A good run forward by Finlay in 13 minutes was halted by a fine tackle by Penicuik’s Williams.

Kateleza turned well in the Kilbirnie box in 15 minutes to get space to make it to the bye-line and win a corner.  McCrory-Irving’s delivery was met by Hamilton, but was off target.

Back up the other end a minute later and Scullion passed wide to Williamson whose cross picked out Finlay in the box, but he headed wide from a good position.

In 20 minutes, Ponton crossed into the Kilbirnie box and Somerville appeared to be pushed in the back by O’Byrne before the ball dropped to Kateleza.  He stepped away from a defender and struck for goal but saw his effort come back off the bar and the defence cleared.

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A good turn by Penicuik’s Kateleza in 22 minutes gave him some space on the edge of the box, but his shot was straight at Hughes.

Forbes came forward in 25 minutes and threaded a pass through for Jones who ran in behind the Kilbirnie defence before rounding Hughes and firing into the net.  But the flag was up for offside.

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With half an hour gone, Kilbirnie’s Scullion sent Finlay through on goal, but he was also given offside.

A good run forward by Barr in 34 minutes saw him shoot at the Kilbirnie goal, but there wasn’t enough power to trouble Hughes.

Another through ball to Finlay in 36 minutes saw the Kilbirnie striker not given offside, although he certainly looked to be, and take on the Penicuik defence, but Hamilton managed to get the ball behind.

Penicuik came forward in 38 minutes with Young finding McCrory-Irving on the right.  He brought the ball inside before beating a defender and shooting for goal, but Hughes made a magnificent save to keep the ball out.

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Three minutes away from half time, a cross into the Kilbirnie box saw the referee award Penicuik a penalty.  Very few in the ground seemed to know what it was for and I certainly didn’t see anything, but it appeared to be for holding.  The referee booked MacKinnon who must have been the culprit, then keeper Hughes who must have complained too much.

Somerville sent Hughes the wrong way from the spot to give Penicuik the lead.

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As we reached the 45 minutes, Kateleza released Forbes down the right for Penicuik.  He reached the bye-line, but his attempted cutback was deflected to Hughes.

In the third minute of injury time, McGill had a shot at the Penicuik goal from distance and Allison watched it carefully as it bounced just in front of him before he claimed.

Penicuik a goal in front at the break and they had the better chances in a first half that didn’t quite catch fire.

Kilbirnie’s Scullion sprinted down the left in the third minute of the second half, but his cross was cleared by Williams.

A free kick for Kilbirnie in 51 minutes was not cleared by the Penicuik defence and fell to the feet of Bembo in the heart of the box.  His shot took a deflection and wrong-footed keeper Allison and rolled into the net for the equaliser.

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McCrory-Irving took a Penicuik free kick in 56 minutes and his cross into the box was knocked down to the feet of Jones, but as the ball bounced up, he could only volley over the bar.

As Kilbirnie looked to clear their lines in 58 minutes, Ponton got across to block and the ball fell to Somerville, but his effort was too high.

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Bembo was booked in 61 minutes for a late tackle on Penicuik’s Barr.

McCrory-Irving turned well in 62 minutes before his attempted shot came to the feet of Kateleza in the Kilbirnie box, but he was given offside.

Some fine flowing football by Penicuik in 63 minutes created a chance for McCrory-Irving to deliver into the box, but his ball into the middle was cleared.

In 65 minutes, Jack Hamilton chased a ball down the right for Penicuik.  Hughes came out of his goal and the ball broke back to Kateleza as the two challenged.  He tried to shoot for goal from out wide, with the keeper out of his goal, but couldn’t find the target.

Ponton played a ball forward into the Kilbirnie box in 68 minutes and McLaren managed to get his head to it, but it went behind him.  Jack Hamilton ran in behind him and tried to lift the ball over the head of Hughes in the Kilbirnie goal, but didn’t make good contact with the ball.

A Kilbirnie corner into the Penicuik box in 73 minutes was again only half cleared by the Penicuik defence and when the ball was headed back into the box, O’Byrne acrobatically sent a volley in off the post to put the visitors in front.

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Penicuik had looked very much the more likely to score and it must have come as a shock that they found themselves trailing.

Straight from the restart, Penicuik burst forward and Kateleza got to the bye-line on the right.  He cut the ball back for Somerville who saw his shot blocked.  The ball came back towards the edge of the box where Barr raced in to smash the ball into the net for a quickfire equaliser.  Hughes had got his fingers to the shot, but couldn’t keep it out.

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In the aftermath of the goal, Kilbirnie’s Finlay was shown the yellow card for dissent.

Worse was to come for the men from Ayrshire when O’Byrne was shown a straight red as the game got going again, putting his team down to ten.  He was claiming that he was fouled in the build-up to Penicuik’s equaliser, but had clearly taken his protests too far.

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Penicuik’s Forbes was booked in 77 minutes for a late tackle on the touchline.

A quick break by the home side in 79 minutes saw Kateleza play the ball into the path of Ponton in the Kilbirnie box, but his shot went into the side netting.

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Kilbirnie’s Roberts was next to go into the increasingly full referee’s book for dissent.

McGill and Cory Hughes needed treatment after separate incidents over the next few minutes, but both Kilbirnie players seemed ok to continue.

Somerville passed in behind the Kilbirnie defence in 82 minutes for Kateleza on the right.  He cut the ball back for Jack Hamilton and although the ball was a little behind him, he twisted his body to get his foot to it and send it into the net to put Penicuik in front.

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Kilbirnie won a corner a minute later and Scullion’s cross was headed away to the edge of the box, where McGill volleyed towards goal.  Allison could only parry the ball and Finlay was first to react in a crowded box to poke the ball over the line for the equaliser.

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Penicuik began piling on the pressure in search of a winner.

Barr had a shot which took a touch off a Kilbirnie defender on its way over the bar in 87 minutes, then Barr squared the ball to Ponton a minute later, but he shot wide.

In the third minute of injury time, Roberts passed to Scullion, but his shot was wide of the Penicuik goal.

So penalties were to settle the tie.  The noisy section of the away support made their way round behind the goals to do their best to put off the Penicuik players.

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Jones scored first for Penicuik, before Williamson squared things.  Williams and Jack Hamilton missed Penicuik’s next two, while Tuohy and Crerand scored for Kilbirnie to put them 3-1 in front.

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Barr scored for Penicuik and Scullion missed for Kilbirnie, then Young scored for Penicuik.  Finlay stepped up for Kilbirnie and sent his kick into the net to win the match for Kilbirnie.

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A game which just got better and better the longer it went on and a great watch.  Penicuik must have wondered how they didn’t win the match.  They were the better side, had the better chances and controlled long periods of the game.  They also had a numerical advantage for the key part of the game after O’Byrne’s sending off.  Their inability to deal with crosses into the box was their downfall.

The celebrations by the Kilbirnie players and fans at the end showed how much the Junior Cup means to Junior sides, and it certainly didn’t look like it was only the second round.  They had ridden their luck, but their never say die attitude had seen them through when it looked like they had lost.  It looked as if they had lost their discipline, but they dug deep to get the result and there was almost an inevitability that they would win the shoot-out by the fact that they had got the game to that point.  With Lanark United visiting Ayrshire in the next round, they will certainly fancy their chances of progressing further.

Jones, Kateleza and Barr were best for Penicuik, while McLaren, Bembo and Kieran Hughes were the Kilbirnie stars on the day.

Full Time: Penicuik Athletic 3 Kilbirnie Ladeside 3 (Kilbirnie won 4-3 on penalties)

Admission: £6

Hearts Women v Forfar Farmington

Sunday 5 November, 14.00, Kings Park

Hearts Women against Forfar Farmington in the Scottish Women’s Premier League 2.

The penultimate weekend of the SWPL2 season and a match up which looked like it might be an important one when the fixtures were announced at the beginning of the season.  With Hearts narrowly losing out on the one promotion spot last season and Forfar the team that dropped down from the top league, you’d have been forgiven for thinking this might just end up being a league decider.  It hadn’t quite worked out like that.

Farmington led the league from the start and wrapped up the title with three games left when they won 5-1 against their nearest challengers Motherwell to ensure an automatic return to SWPL1.  They had only lost once in the campaign and were certainly worthy winners.  (They also lost to Edinburgh University Hutchison Vale the week before they played Hearts, but Vale had made an administrative error and their 3-1 win became a 3-0 loss).

It certainly hadn’t been the season that Hearts had hoped for.  Key players left the club, some snapped up by teams in the top league and they had a terrible time with injuries.  There were a lot more players stepping up from the young development side than I’m sure manager Andy Enwood expected.  A terrible run of results after a good start had them out of contention and they were beginning to look nervously over their shoulder as they dropped down the table.  With survival confirmed after a 7-0 win over Buchan Ladies, they then went and won 4-3 at Motherwell as injured players finally made their return.

Hearts went into the game without injured defensive stalwart Louise Moultray and midfielder Stacey Hutchison who had suffered a family bereavement.  Wing back Sharon Hughes took a role in central defence with defensive midfielder Danni Pagliarulo continuing her recent spell playing up front.

Forfar continued their policy of giving some of their squad players a game since the league had been won, but still had a strong team out.  Midfielder Nicola Davidson was in an unusual left back role.

Forfar dropped their first points of the season when they drew at the same ground earlier in the campaign.

The players observed a minute’s silence before the game to mark the passing of Stacey’s mother.

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With two minutes gone, Forfar’s Heron crossed to the far post from the left looking for McGinlay, but Watson reacted quickly to get down and block the ball behind.

The visitors started the game strongly and certainly looked the most likely in the opening period.

A passback in 7 minutes by McCarthy was misjudged by McKay in the Forfar goal as she missed her kick and despite her best effort chasing back, it was adjudged to have gone over the line to give Hearts an early lead.

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A cross into the Hearts box from the left in 9 minutes was met acrobatically in the middle by Heron, but it was wide of goal.

Heron broke down the left in 10 minutes and took the ball past Paterson before crossing into the Hearts box, but the flag went up for offside as the ball went just out of McGinlay’s reach.

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Forfar had the ball in the net in 12 minutes after a Scott cross was headed in by McGinlay, but the referee blew for a free kick to Hearts that I certainly didn’t see.

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Davidson played the ball forward for Forfar in 18 minutes and Hughes sliced the ball behind her own goal, but the corner came to nothing.

In 23 minutes, Heron hit a half volley towards the Hearts goal from 25 yards which wasn’t far wide.

Hearts won a free kick about 23 yards from goal in 28 minutes.  Pagliarulo stepped up to take it and hit a stunning shot which flew into the top corner past a static McKay to put the home side two up.

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Paterson took another Hearts free kick in 37 minutes from the right and put a great ball into the Forfar box.  McAvoy rose to head the ball into the net, but once again, the referee seemed to see something nobody else did and gave a free kick.  At least that was both sides had a goal ruled out mysteriously.

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With 5 minutes to the break, Kilcoyne burst into the Hearts box on the left but saw her shot take a nick off Hughes and go wide.  The result saw a bit of a scramble in the box, but Watson was able to dive on the ball to end the danger for Hearts.

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Just before the half time whistle, a Hearts corner was cleared to the edge of the box where Stewart tried to chip the ball to Carse in the box.  It was a bit high for the small Hearts player, but she managed to get her head to it, before showing great technique to readjust quickly and volley at goal.  Sadly for her, it was considerably wide of the target.

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Hearts two in front at the break in a half that Forfar had looked the better side.  Some good defending had kept Forfar out and a freak goal and a fantastic free kick had Hearts in a commanding position.

Forfar played the ball forward straight from the restart and McGinlay latched onto a heavy touch from Hughes, but her shot sailed over the bar.

Carse played the ball to Stewart on the edge of the Forfar box in 49 minutes, who was nudged off the ball as she went to shoot.  The Hearts manager was given a telling off by the referee for complaining at the lack of a free kick.

Hearts’ McAvoy was pulled back by Deans as she broke forward in 52 minutes and Carse shouted “that’s got to be a booking ref!”  The ref didn’t take kindly to that and showed Carse the yellow card.

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Forfar’s Davidson had now pushed into midfield with substitute Bruce taking over at left back.

Watson made a good block from White’s corner for Forfar in 59 minutes and she was back in position quickly to save at the feet of Smith.

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Smith appeared to be brought down by Forfar’s Kilcoyne in 60 minutes, but the referee ignored the appeals and allowed Forfar to continue with their attack.  Heron struck for goal, but Watson held the shot well.

There was some fine build up play by Hearts down the right in 63 minutes, but Miller’s cross was cleared by the defence.

A great cross by Forfar’s Scott in 65 minutes found the head of Kilcoyne, but she nodded over.

With Hunter coming on for Hearts in 66 minutes, Hughes was able to take her usual position on the left.

McGinlay was booked for Forfar in 67 minutes for shouting something at the linesman after being given offside.

A minute later and McGinlay was involved again, latching onto a through ball by Smith and shooting low past Watson into the net to get Forfar back into the game.

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Straight from kick off, Carse passed through the Forfar defence for Stewart, but McKay came out of her goal to get there before the Hearts striker.

McGinlay was coming to the fore for Forfar and she looked to have brought her team level in 69 minutes when she shot from the edge of the box, but she was thwarted by a magnificent save by Watson.

A number of substitutions by both sides interrupted the flow of the game for the next few minutes before the game settled down again.

A long throw in into the Hearts box in 81 minutes from McGinlay came all the way through to Heron who helped the ball on its way and into the net for the equaliser.

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A quick break by Hearts in 83 minutes saw Miller play the ball down the right for Stewart.  With Kidd free at the back post, a defender managed to block the ball across goal.

In 87 minutes, the referee sent the Hearts manager off.

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With a minute left of regulation time, Forfar’s Bruce was booked for a late tackle on Stewart.

Two minutes into injury time Forfar’s Davidson had a chance at the edge of the box, but she dragged her shot wide.

In the fifth extra minute, a deep cross from the right by McCarthy found Smith at the back post in the Hearts box, but she put her header wide of the post.

All square at the end and Forfar certainly didn’t deserve to lose the game and did well to keep going when two behind.  They showed their quality in coming back to get a share of the points.  Hearts battling qualities served them well and they almost managed to hold on for the win.

For Hearts, Paterson seemed to be everywhere in defence, particularly in the first half, and she seemed to take on extra responsibility in the absence of Moultray.  Stewart was a bundle of energy and chased down many lost causes.  Watson’s handling in goal was excellent.

Heron looked a real player for Forfar, quick and strong and with no little skill.  Smith was very good on the ball and showed off a range of skills during the game.

Full Time: Hearts Women 2 Forfar Farmington 2

Admission: £3

Hearts Women: 1 Ashley Watson, 14 Lynsay Miller, 6 Megan Paterson, 3 Sharon Hughes, 2 Louise Kerr (Hunter 66), 7 Courtney McAvoy, 10 Ashley Carse (Kidd 75), 11 Jenny Smith, 15 Holly Aitchison, 16 Danni Pagliarulo, 8 Michelle Stewart.  Subs: 5 Georgia Hunter, 9 Kara Kidd, 12 Jennifer Dodds.

Forfar Farmington: 31 Chantelle McKay, 3 Leah White (Brough 70), 18 Megan McCarthy, 2 Gemma Collier, 10 Nicola Davidson, 9 Robyn Smith, 16 Cheryl Kilcoyne, 15 Kirsty Deans (Bruce 58), 19 Julia Scott (Shillitto 79), 12 Caroline Heron, 6 Danni McGinlay (Parsley 85).  Subs: 4 Erin Cattanach, 8 Beth Shillitto, 11 Alana Bruce, 17 Laura Parsley, 27 Lotte Deubel, 33 Alison Debio, 34 Kayleigh Brough.

Referee: Dominic Falconer

Programme: None.

Arniston Rangers v Wishaw Juniors

Saturday 4 November 2017, 14.00, Newbyres Park

Scottish Cup Second Round Replay between Arniston Rangers of the East Premier League and West Central Division One’s Wishaw Juniors.

A quick return to Newbyres after seeing Arniston beat St Andrews in the Fife and Lothians Cup in October.

Since that game in October, Arniston went to St Andrews in the league and got a draw, before a home fixture with Kirriemuir was a victim of the weather.  They then visited Wishaw and came from behind to draw 1-1 which brought about the replay.

Andy Watson was carried off at Wishaw in a neck brace after just four minutes, but was fit enough to take his place in the team for the rematch.

Wishaw Juniors began life as Wishaw Thistle in 1885 and had some early success in the Junior game and won the Junior Cup in 1888.  They then turned senior, but were unsuccessful in gaining entry to the football league.  They still managed to pick up silverware, but mainly in Lanarkshire competitions.

Following the First World War, they reinvented themselves as Wishaw YMCA Juniors in 1919-20 as they returned to Junior football, enjoying early success before shortening their name to Wishaw Juniors in 1924 when the club switched to the Lanarkshire Junior League.

Re-organisation of Scottish Junior football in 1968 saw Lanarkshire clubs joining with those from the greater Glasgow area to form the Central Junior League.  Further re-organisation saw the Central League amalgamate with the Ayrshire Junior League to form the West Region in 2002.  The vast majority of this spell saw Wishaw in the bottom league, but they gained promotion out of the bottom Division in 2013-14.

While league success has been hard to come by, Wishaw have saved their best performances for cup ties.

With the Wishaw manager Chris McGroarty and his team leaving to take over at Kilsyth Rangers in August, John Brogan took over the reins.  They’ve started this season well and are challenging at the top of Central League Division 1.

Around 100 turned up to watch the action.

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Coffey shot towards the Arniston goal from the half way line straight from kick off and it wasn’t a million miles away from causing Cornet concern in the Arniston goal.

A good run down the left by Wishaw’s Collinder in 2 minutes saw him cross into the box, but the ball eluded those in the middle.

The visitors continued their good start with Crawford chipping the ball into the box just out of reach for the strikers before a header went wide of the goal.

Arniston first showed their attacking intentions in the fifth minute, with McIntosh going down the left before sending a deep cross into the box where Somerville’s header came off the foot of the post before going wide.

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Kindlan and McGuire did some good work for Wishaw coming forward in 12 minutes, but Woods cleared the cross.

A Wishaw corner in 14 minutes was taken by Kindlan and Coffey got his head to the ball at the near post, but it went narrowly wide.

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In 18 minutes McGuire passed to Coffey in the Arniston box.  Offside was given as he was challenged, and Arniston’s Crawford got a knock to the head which resulted in him having to be replaced.

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Wishaw’s McGeouch was caught by a late tackle from Callaghan in 24 minutes and the Arniston player was given a warning.  McGuire took the free kick from about 24 yards out, but put it wide of the goal.

A great turn by Kindlan on the edge of the Arniston box in 28 minutes saw him beat a defender before cutting inside and beating another, but his shot was blocked.

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A Watson pass in midfield in 31 minutes was blocked by Wishaw and the ball went towards the Arniston goal.  Cornet was out quickly and got there first but had a collision with McGuire.  Both were ok to continue.

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McTernan laid the ball off to Aitchison on the edge of the Wishaw box in 32 minutes, but his shot was too high.

Arniston came forward again in 35 minutes with Dunn passing to McTernan who found Watson, but his shot from 22 yards was wide.

Up the other end a minute later Collinder slid the ball through to Coffey, but a good tackle by Callaghan halted his progress.

A fine cross by Martin from the right in 37 minutes found McGuire unmarked in the Arniston box, but he headed wide.

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With 40 minutes gone Arniston’s Somerville cross from the right was sliced towards his own goal by Martin, but Thomson made an acrobatic save (which may have been one for the cameras.)

With a minute to the break Coffey sent McGuire running into the Arniston box but Cornet raced from his line to get something on his shot to send it behind.  From the corner McGuire went down in the box and the referee awarded a penalty, booking Waugh.  McGuire took the kick himself and sent Cornet the wrong way to give Wishaw the lead.

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One nil to Wishaw at the break and they had been the better side in a competitive first half.

Arniston had the ball in the net within 2 minutes of the start of the second half, but offside was given.

O’Kane’s corner for Wishaw in 52 minutes saw Sconville go up to challenge Arniston keeper Cornet and the ball dropped behind them, but the defence managed to get the ball away.

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An attempted clearance by Arniston’s Aitchison in 53 minutes cannoned off Collinder and fell to the feet of Coffey, but his shot was wild.

McAfferty threaded a pass through the Arniston defence in 56 minutes for Coffey, but Cornet blocked.  The rebound hit McGuire and went straight back to the keeper.

In 60 minutes Aitchison sent Fairgrieve away down the right for Arniston.  He shot for goal under pressure from Crawford, but it was straight at Thomson.

A good ball from the right by Martin in 61 minutes gave Coffey the chance to head at the Arniston goal, but he put his header wide.

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With 63 minutes gone, Jeffrey was brought down by Crawford in the Wishaw box for the second penalty of the afternoon.  Also at the same end.  This time there was no booking for the culprit.  Watson had put the ball into the net, but the referee had already given the spot kick.  Callaghan took it and although Thomson got his fingers to it, he couldn’t keep it out.  1-1.

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Fairgrieve went down in the Wishaw box in 65 minutes, with Sconville in close attendance, as he tried to get on the end of a free kick, but nothing was given.

A minute later and Wishaw’s Martin was caught late, but the referee didn’t see it.

The game looked to be fading away as the minutes passed, with little of note happening for a while.

Watson turned well in the Wishaw box in 81 minutes, but he lashed wide.

A terrible pass out from his own box by Cornet in 83 minutes was straight to McGuire instead of the intended Deland, and the Wishaw striker took the ball into the box before shooting into the corner to put Wishaw back in front.

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With 5 minutes left Kindlan crossed to the back post and McGeachie headed into the Arniston net to make it three for Wishaw.

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Wishaw keeper Thomson came out of his goal in 88 minutes and missed the ball, giving Watson the simple task of sending the ball into the empty net and the hosts were only a goal behind again.

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With a minute left of the regulation 90, Deland set up Watson on the edge of the Wishaw box, but his shot was blocked.

Deep into injury time there was a final chance for Arniston to send the game to penalties when they won a corner.  Keeper Cornet was up for it too, but Wishaw survived to go through to round three.

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An entertaining affair which Wishaw probably deserved to win.  Arniston made more of an impression in the second half, but defensive lapses cost them dearly.

McTernan and Devlin (whose early withdrawal was a surprise) played well for Arniston, while McGeouch, McGuire and McAfferty stood out for Wishaw.

Thanks to @WishawJuniorFan on Twitter for help with the Wishaw team.

Full Time: Arniston Rangers 2 Wishaw Juniors 3

Admission: £6

Arniston Rangers: 1 Dale Cornet, 2 Ross Aitchison, 5 Stephen Woods, 4 David Dunn (Callaghan 20), 3 Michael Deland, 9 Kieran Somerville, 8 Scott Devlin (Jeffrey 54), 6 Darren McTernan, 11 Liam McIntosh, 10 Andy Watson, 7 Scott Waugh (Fairgrieve (46).  Subs: 12 David Jeffrey, 14 Callum Callaghan, 16 Jack Fairgrieve.

Wishaw Juniors: 1 Sandy Thomson, 2 Chris Martin, 4 Craig Crawford, 5 Neil Sconville (14 76), 20 Liam O’Kane, 7 Dan Kindlan, 6 Paul McGeough, 10 Joe McAfferty, 11 Michael Collinder (Grant 84), 8 James Coffey (McGeachie 67), 9 Vinnie McGuire. Subs: 12 McGeachie, 14 ?, 15 KB Grant.

Referee: Keiran Trayner

Programme: None.

Follow me on Twitter @blowyfootball

Hibernian Ladies v Rangers Ladies

Wednesday 1 November 2017, 19.30, New Victoria Park

Hibs Ladies versus Rangers Ladies in the Scottish Women’s Premier League 1.

We last saw Hibs Ladies in September, when they beat Celtic in the Scottish Women’s Cup.

It’s shaping up to be another good season for Hibs, challenging again for the league title and they sat two points behind leaders Glasgow City coming into this game.  It was the first of a double header with Rangers, with a visit to Glasgow coming up at the weekend.

Hibs had also made it through to the Cup Final, due to face Glasgow City later in the month.

It was a temporary departure for Hibs from their Ainslie Park home, playing the game at the home of Newtongrange Star.

With manager Chris Roberts leaving to manage English Super League side Bristol City, former coach and Penicuik Athletic assistant Kevin Milne has taken over the reins.

It’s been a couple of years since we’ve seen Rangers Ladies.

Rangers Ladies were founded in 2008, when they went into a partnership with Paisley City Ladies.  They took the Paisley side’s place in the First Division and won the title in their first season.  In that first season they also made it to the Scottish Women’s Cup Final, but lost out to Glasgow City.

They reached the cup final again in 2010, but again lost out, this time to Hibs.  Season 2014 saw them finish the season as runners-up in the top league.  The following season saw them finish in sixth as the SWPL was split into two leagues and least year they were fifth.

They sat in sixth spot going into the game.

Amy McDonald was appointed as the new Head Coach in May, joining from her role as Head of Youth Development for Glasgow City.  She was quick to introduce some new signings with French goalkeeper Joanna Viollaz coming in from Spartans, attacking midfielder Caitlin O’Hara and more recently, Brogan Hay from Glasgow City.

There were around 80 in attendance.

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A ball forward by Hibs in 4 minutes came off the top of Muir’s head as she chased back and went into the path of Turner on the right.  She crossed into the box but saw the ball well taken by Elliott.

Both teams were showing lots of endeavour and were closing down very quickly.

A good run by Hay in 12 minutes saw her lay the ball back to Davidson whose powerful shot was tipped over the bar by Fife in the Hibs goal.

A great turn by Turner on the right in 15 minutes gave her space to cut the ball back into the Rangers box, but the defence cleared.

Michie crossed from the right in 19 minutes and Harrison volleyed at the Rangers goal, but it was straight at Elliott.

McLauchlan got the ball inside the Rangers box in 20 minutes and Robertson went to strike for goal first time.  Coakley managed to block the shot behind.  Brownlie’s corner saw Hunter try to get her head to the ball and it was deflected back to her, but she could only shoot into the side netting.

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A chip forward by Hibs’ Michie into the box in 24 minutes saw Coakley get her head on the ball and it looked as though the ball might go over her keeper’s head, but Elliott managed to get back to catch.

Robertson tried a long range effort at the Rangers goal in 26 minutes which Elliott let squirm through her fingers, but she was able to get back to claim the ball.

McLauchlan did well on the right for Hibs in 29 minutes and beat Muir to get to the bye-line, but no-one was able to get a touch on her cross into the middle.

In 32 minutes, Sinclair found Davidson on the left of the box and she turned and curled a shot just wide of the Hibs goal.

In the next minute, Davidson was through on the Hibs goal, but Fife saved well to turn the ball behind.

Rangers Sinclair required treatment in 34 minutes after being caught in the face by Michie.

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Elliott was the next player requiring treatment, caught by Hibs’ McLauchlan as she collected the ball in 38 minutes.

A mistake in the Rangers defence in 39 minutes sent McLauchlan through on goal, but Elliott saved well with her foot.

A great ball by Murray into the Rangers box in 44 minutes found Small running in on goal, but she couldn’t get enough purchase in her header and it drifted wide.

Goalless at the break and it was proving to be a much harder night for Hibs than I’m sure they expected.  Rangers had more than matched them and probably had the better of the half.

With 3 minutes of the second half gone, Smith played the ball wide to Harrison on the left.  She played the ball across the face of the Rangers goal, but it was just out of Turner’s reach.

Hunter played a fine pass to Smith on the left for Hibs in 50 minutes.  Her cross came off the top of the bar and went over.

Rangers’ Sinclair got to the bye-line in 52 minutes and saw her low cross deflected in the side netting.

Rangers were starting to put a bit of pressure on as they continued to take the game to Hibs.

As Hibs came forward in 57 minutes, Brown put in 2 great tackles to halt their progress.

A McLauchlan cross in 58 minutes was met by the head of Hunter, but Hay was back to clear off the line for Rangers.

Another ball into the box by McLauchlan in 59 minutes picked out Turner at the back post, but under pressure, she couldn’t find the target.

Hunter played a fantastic pass through the Rangers defence on the hour for Small who slotted past Elliott to give Hibs the lead.

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Hunter cleared the ball from the left back spot in 63 minutes and was caught late by Hay.  The referee made do with having a word with the Rangers player.

In 64 minutes, Brown had a go at the Hibs goal from distance, but Fife comfortably covered her low shot.

Rangers came forward in 66 minutes and Davidson found some space on the right, but her shot was into the side netting.

Gallacher shot from the edge of the Rangers box in 72 minutes and it took a deflection off Coakley.  With Elliott stranded in goal, she was happy to see the ball go wide of the post.

As Hibs looked to kill the game off with a second goal Small had a good strike at goal in 73 minutes which Elliott held well.

McLauchlan did extremely well in 77 minutes to win the ball from Coakley and passed to the feet of Harrison in the Rangers box.  Harrison turned well and rifled the ball into the corner of the net to double the hosts’ lead.

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There was a chance for Rangers to reduce the deficit in 80 minutes when Davidson was played through on goal, but Fife was out quickly to boot clear.

With 5 minutes left, McLauchlan had a shot from 22 yards, but it was too close to Elliott in the Rangers goal.

Hibs managed to see the remaining minutes out without any threat to their lead.

An important win for Hibs and they stepped it up in the second half after Rangers looked like they might produce a shock.  There could have been no complaints if Rangers had got a point, but Hibs were clinical in front of goal.

A number of good performances with Murray, Smith and McLauchlan the stand-outs for Hibs.  For Rangers, Brown, Watson and Muir all impressed.

Glasgow City also won on the night, meaning Hibs were still 2 points behind with three games left, including a match against each other.

Full Time: Hibs Ladies 2 Rangers Ladies 0

Admission: £5

Hibernian Ladies: 1 Jenna Fife, 8 Cailin Michie (Notley 78), 17 Joelle Murray, 4 Siobhan Hunter, 11 Kirsty Smith, 12 Rachel McLauchlan, 23 Rachael Small (Cornet 88), 6 Lisa Robertson, 24 Emma Brownlie, 21 Abi Harrison, 18 Katey Turner (Gallacher 67).  Subs: 25 Hannah Reid, 14 Shannon Leishman, 15 Amy Gallacher, 16 Ellis Notley, 19 Chelsea Cornet, 27 Lia Tweedie.

Rangers Ladies: 1 Jordyn Elliott, 5 Rachael O’Neill (Rice 74), 18 Hannah Coakley, 4 Chelsie Watson, 3 Amy Muir, 20 Brogan Hay (Templeton 86), 17 Clare Gemmell, 22 Caitlin O’Hara, 11 Chantelle Brown, 14 Hayley Sinclair (Robertson 78), 9 Lauren Davidson (Napier 89). Subs: Joanna Viollaz, Hayley Cunningham, Rachel Ross, 2 Katie Rice, 7 Hannah Robertson, 16 Helen Templeton, Terri Donnelly, 8 Holly Napier.

Referee: ?

Programme: None.

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