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Season 2016-17 review

Season 2016/17 – A review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s to season 2017-18.

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Featured post

What’s it all about?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for looking.

Featured post

Hearts Women v St Johnstone Women

Sunday 27 May 2018, 14.00, Kings Park

Hearts Women against St Johnstone Women in the Scottish Women’s Premier League 2.

Our first visit to see Hearts Women since the middle of April, when they won 4-3 against Central Girls Academy.  Two wins and three defeats since then look to have put paid to their promotion credentials for this season.

St Johnstone Women’s FC have surfaced through a partnership with Jeanfield Swifts Ladies, with their senior side carrying the name from the 2018 Scottish Women’s Premier Division Two campaign.  We’d last seen them under their previous guise, when they won 1-0 at the same venue in May 2017.

St Johnstone came into the match a point better off than Hearts.

There were around 70 in attendance.

With three minutes gone, Hearts’ Hutchison was shown a yellow card for dissent.  The referee also had a word with the Hearts bench.

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McAvoy played a pass through the Saints defence in 6 minutes looking for Carse, but McIlravey raced from goal to boot the ball clear.

It was interesting to see the linesman in front of us seemed to be getting coached and encouraged by someone in the crowd who had positioned himself behind him.

A Hearts corner in 13 minutes was cleared to the edge of the box.  Smith passed to the feet of Paterson who shot for goal but didn’t get power in it and McIlravey saved.

McAvoy found Carse on the left in 14 minutes and received the ball back.  She struck for goal and saw the ball come back off the post and into McIlravey’s arms.

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A bit of a midfield battle was developing with neither side able to break through the defences.

Wolecki took the ball down the left for Saints in 22 minutes and crossed into the box looking for Cowie.  She got her head to it, but it was a bit high for her and she couldn’t direct the ball on target.

A minute later, Wolecki had a strike at the home goal from distance, but it was off target.

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A Hearts throw-in after 28 minutes was flicked on by Hughes and McAvoy almost got there, but McIlravey came out to catch.

Saints won a free kick on the left in 29 minutes after a foul on Fleming.  Dunn put the ball into the box, but Delworth headed over for a corner which came to nothing.

Another Saints free kick in 31 minutes was taken by Tweedie, whose cross was flicked on by Wolecki, but the Hearts defence managed to get the ball away before it came to Cowie.

Cowie needed to go off for treatment in 35 minutes and was limping when she returned a couple of minutes later.

McIlravey did well in 39 minutes to sprint from her line very quickly to prevent McAvoy reaching a Hearts through ball.

With four minutes to half time Hearts sprung the Saints offside trap and Hughes ran onto the ball on the right.  She took it into the box before squaring for McAvoy for a simple tap in, but she somehow cracked the ball off the bar.  Hughes recovered the ball but could only shoot over.

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That was the best chance to break the deadlock in a pretty disappointing first half.

In a mirror image of the first half, the second period’s first moment of note was a booking.  This time Saints’ Henderson shown a yellow for a foul on Pagliarulo.

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In 48 minutes, Carse flicked on a Hutchison cross, but Hughes couldn’t quite get there, and Saints survived.

McGowan passed the ball through to McDonald on the edge of the Hearts box in 52 minutes and she hit a well-placed shot into the corner of the net to give Saints the lead.

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A good run down the right by Hughes for Hearts in 55 minutes saw her put the ball into the box, but Carse was unable to get a shot away and the defence got the ball clear.

McDonald ran into the Hearts box on the right in 56 minutes and hit a low shot at goal which was well taken by Watson.

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Hearts broke forward in 57 minutes and Liddle’s ball over from the right picked out Hall, but her shot was well blocked by McIlravey.

Paterson got a sore one in 62 minutes when she got the ball full in the face from close range.

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Saints’ McDonald became the third player booked after not retreating at a free kick in 64 minutes.

Carse was unhappy with a late tackle from Saints’ McGowan in 68 minutes and was perhaps lucky to escape without a card after swinging a boot at her.

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Hearts came forward in 69 minutes with Kaney finding Hutchison on the left.  She squared for Liddle who hit a first time shot high into the net for the equaliser.

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The visiting side had an impromptu huddle after conceding the goal before the restart.

Cowie had a chance in the Hearts box in 70 minutes but Watson got down to save.

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Straight up the other end Liddle found Kidd on the right and she took the ball past the keeper, but the defence managed to block the ball behind.  Kidd’s corner was missed by McIlravey, but the Saints defence got the ball away.

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Liddle had a go at the Saints goal in 72 minutes which didn’t look far away.

Hunter managed to flick the ball behind for a Saints corner in 74 minutes after a Dunn cross.  Wolecki’s corner was won by McDonald, but she headed wide.

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Hearts moved from their three at the back to four with Kidd moving to left back.

McGowan came off worst in a 50/50 challenge with Hearts’ Hall in 78 minutes and was treated by the Hearts physio.  She was replaced soon after.

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Kidd took a Hearts free kick in 79 minutes which McIlravey palmed behind for a corner which came to nothing.

Both teams were looking for a winner and in 84 minutes, Hutchison cut in from the left and fired at the Saints goal, but McIlravey got a touch to turn the ball wide.

Hall looked to have her jersey pulled in the Saints box in 85 minutes before the ball came to the feet of Liddle, but she shot over.

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Saints’ number 13 threaded a through ball behind the Hearts defence in 86 minutes, but Watson was out quickly to smother.

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A good run down the right by McGowan in 87 minutes saw her deliver into the Hearts box, but it was headed wide.

In the first minute of injury time Carse fed Liddle down the line for Hearts and she cut inside Tweedie, but McIlravey managed to grab the ball off her feet.

There was still time for one more chance when a cross from the right into the Hearts box fell to Wolecki, but she shot straight Watson.

A fair result at the end of the game in an improved second half.  It had looked as if one goal would win it, but Liddle gave Hearts fresh impetus when she came on, and the hosts grabbed an equaliser.

Delworth and Hughes were the stand-outs for Hearts while Saint’s Tweedie and McGowan were best for them.

No reply from St Johnstone’s twitter means I have done my best in obtaining their team, so apologies for any errors.

Full Time:  Hearts Women 1 St Johnstone Women 1

Admission: £3

Hearts Women: 1 Ashley Watson, 2 Claire Delworth, 6 Megan Paterson, 5 Georgia Hunter, 3 Sharon Hughes (Kidd 66), 18 Mariel Kaney, 16 Danni Pagliarulo, 17 Stacey Hutchison, 11 Jenny Smith (Hall 57), 7 Courtney McAvoy (Liddle 57), 10 Ashley Carse. Subs: 13 Kirsty King, 9 Kara Kidd, Jennifer Dodds, 15 Lauren Hall, 19 Pam Liddle.

St Johnstone Women: 1 Corry McIlravey, 14 Rebecca Foote, 4 Rhianna Tweedie, 3 Amy Henderson, 9 Rachel Wolecki, 6 Laura Dunn (Number 15 86), 19 Rebecca McGowan, 22 Emma Maclean (Clark 75), 17 Leah Fleming, 10 Ellie Cowie, 18 Jade McDonald (Number 13 81). Subs: 20 GK, 8 Hannah Clark, 13?, 15?

Referee: ?

Programme: None.

Hill of Beath Hawthorn v Bonnyrigg Rose

Saturday 26 May 2018, 14.30, Keirs Park

Hill of Beath Hawthorn against Bonnyrigg Rose in the East Super League.

We last saw Hill of Beath in July 2017 in a friendly, at home to Arbroath.  This was their penultimate league game of the season and they sat in seventh place in the East Super League and looked set for a top half finish.

Their last game had seen a 1-1 home draw with Dundonald Bluebell.

The ‘Haws’ are another side to have made the move to the East of Scotland League for next season and were already looking ahead with three trialists listed in their squad for the game.

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We’d last seen Rose ten days earlier, when they lost at Penicuik Athletic in the quarter final of the East of Scotland Cup.  They still had much to play for.  A point against Hill of Beath would guarantee them their second Super League title in three years, and they were also in the semi-final of the Fife and Lothians Cup.

Most expected Rose to secure the league title at Sauchie Juniors in midweek, but a 1-1 draw put the champagne on ice.  Linlithgow Rose still had three games left and were nine points behind.  With Bonnyrigg having the superior goal difference, a point would confirm the title for them.

Both sides lined up with three centre halves and the full backs playing as wing backs, with two up front.

Around 250 turned up to see if Rose would get the point they needed.  We found ourselves standing next to Arbroath manager Dick Campbell and former Dunfermline Athletic boss Bert Paton.  Former Hearts and Kilmarnock player and manager Gary Locke was also in attendance, complete with Rose scarf.

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Rose won a free kick in the first minute and Currie crossed to the back post where McGachie headed towards goal, but it was an easy save for Hall.

McGachie was involved again in 3 minutes when he showed good strength to hold onto the ball, but he got his shot all wrong, and it went out for a throw-in.

In 5 minutes, Rose struggled to get the ball clear and it eventually fell to the feet of Watt, but his shot came off a team mate.

Rose won a free kick about 20 yards out, in a central position, in 12 minutes.  Currie stepped up to take it but put it high over the bar.

A good burst forward by Leishman for Haws in 15 minutes saw him pass to Cuthbert on the edge of the box.  Brett put in a very heavy tackle before clearing the ball away.

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Some good passing by Rose in 17 minutes ended with McGachie feeding the ball through the defence for Wilson, but Hall was quickly out of his goal to smother at his feet.

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With 18 minutes gone, the ball broke to Cuthbert on the edge of the Rose area, but he sent his snap shot wide.

There was a bit of head tennis outside the Rose box in 19 minutes before Kellichan headed to Harrower on the left hand side of the box.  He played the ball across goal where Elder took a touch before seeing his shot well blocked by Moyes.  It fell to Watt whose close-range shot came off the raised hand of Hoskins and Haws had a penalty.

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Wright stepped up to take it and although Young went the right way, he couldn’t get there, and Haws had the lead.

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Wilson sent a deep cross into the Haws box in 21 minutes and Hoskins headed the ball across goal looking for McGachie, but the defence managed to clear.

A great ball was sent into the Rose area from a Wright free kick in 26 minutes, but nobody was able to get a touch.

McGachie took the ball into the Haws box on the right in 27 minutes, and looked as though he may have been held, before his cross was cut out by Hall.

In 29 minutes, Currie struck a good effort at the Haws goal after a pass from Horne, but Hall fisted clear.

Moyes was shown a yellow card in 30 minutes for a foul on Cuthbert as he ran down the right.

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Haws swung a corner into the Rose box in 31 minutes which was headed behind by Moyes, but the referee awarded a goal kick.

Currie fired a free kick at the Haws goal in 33 minutes which took a nick off the defensive wall and Hall dived full length to turn the ball around the post with a fine save.

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Three Haws players converged on Horne on the right in 36 minutes to win the ball and Kellichan took the ball down the left.  He put a low cross into the middle and Watt slid in to double the home side’s lead.

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Rose looked to strike back right away and a cross from Currie in 37 minutes was headed at goal by Wilson, but Hall made another good save to get a hand to it.  McGachie was first to the rebound, but the defence managed to get the ball away.

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They fashioned another chance a minute later when Currie lobbed the ball through for Wilson, but Hall was out to block at his feet.  The ball came out to Currie, but Harrower threw himself at the ball to deflect it behind.

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Currie crossed to the back post in 42 minutes and McGachie’s shot at goal was blocked.  The ball came to Gray on the edge of the box, but he dragged his effort wide.

Haws’ Watt was booked in 44 minutes for catching Brett late as he played the ball forward.

The hosts two goals to the good at the break and it didn’t look like Rose’s day.

Four minutes into the second half, Gray was brought down around 20 yards from the Haws goal.  Currie’s free kick was deflected off the wall before going behind.

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Kerr Young was the next player to be cautioned with 50 minutes gone, the Rose player late with a tackle.

A clearance by Moyes went deep into the Haws half in 53 minutes and Wright let the ball bounce, leaving it to keeper Hall.  McGachie nipped in between them and knocked the ball past the keeper.  The ball rolled towards goal and came back off the post.  McGachie retrieved the ball but could only shoot wide.

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Patrick took a Haws throw-in on the left in 54 minutes which was headed away by Moyes.  It came to Grierson on the edge of the box, but he put his shot wide.

Haws’ Harrower required treatment in 58 minutes after his team had repelled a corner.

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Currie took a Rose free kick on the right in 60 minutes which saw McGachie send a glancing header towards goal, but it was the wrong side of the post for his side.

Rose continued to look for a way back into the game and in 62 minutes Gray squared the ball to Brett on the edge of the box.  He hit a well struck shot with the outside of his foot, but it was straight at Hall.

Almost immediately after Turner was almost through on the Haws goal, but Hall was out quickly to smother.

Hoskins collected the ball on the left for Rose in 66 minutes after Currie’s cross from the other side was headed away.  He chipped into the box for Lough, but his header was off target.

Rose won a corner in 67 minutes and Turner took it short to Currie.  His ball into the box was met by a firm McGachie header which went into the corner of the net to give Rose a lifeline.

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There was a huge stramash in the back of the net as Rose looked to get the ball back.

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A Haws player was shown a yellow card once the referee had gained control, but I didn’t see who it was.

It had been all Rose since the beginning of the second half, but Watt took the ball down the left for Haws in 72 minutes and his cross bounced off the woodwork before spinning behind.

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Currie sent a free kick into the Haws box in 75 minutes which was touched behind by Hall for another fruitless corner.

Smith passed to Patrick in 76 minutes and he had a shot at the Rose goal from 22 yards, but it was deflected wide.

In 77 minutes, another Currie free kick bounced just in front of Hall, who was unable to gather, but the Haws defence got the ball clear.

Haws’ Schiavone was yellow carded in 81 minutes for throwing the ball away to delay a Rose throw-in.

Wright was penalised for a foul on McGachie in 82 minutes twenty yards from goal.  Currie stepped up and curled the ball around the ball and into the net for the equaliser.

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Another Rose free kick in 86 minutes was put into the box by Currie and found the head of Lough, but he nodded wide.

In the final minute, Stewart picked up the ball 20 yards from the Haws goal and curled inches wide.

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The final whistle blew, and Rose were champions.

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At half time Rose looked as if they had a mountain to climb and really didn’t look as if they could fight their way back into the game, but they completely controlled the second half and Haws couldn’t hold out.  The home side battled well and caused Rose a lot of problems in the first half but couldn’t replicate that in the second period.

Leishman and Patrick were best for the home side, while Currie, McGachie and Stewart were the Rose top players on the day.

There was a nice touch by the Haws players when they told the Rose team to leave the pitch so they could make a guard of honour for them when they returned to lift the trophy, resplendent in ‘Champions’ t-shirts.

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Full Time: Hill of Beath Hawthorn 2 Bonnyrigg Rose 2

Admission: £6

Hill of Beath Hawthorn: 1 Stuart Hall, 2 Shaun Leishman, 5 Rory Harrower, 4 Darrin Wright, 6 Jake Mitchell, 3 Lyle Kellichan, 7 Ross Cuthbert [T] (Smith 61), 8 Rikki Patrick, 11 Russell Grierson (Denton 83), 9 Lewis Elder (Schiavone 63), 10 Daniel Watt. Subs: 12 Charlie Denton, 14 Greg Smith, 15 Lee Schiavone, 16 Jay Watson [T], 17 Marco Valente [T]

Bonnyrigg Rose: 1 Bryan Young, 2 Dean Brett, 4 Kerr Young, 5 Ewan Moyes, 6 Alan Horne (Turner 55), 3 Dean Hoskins, 7 Ross Gray, 8 Jonathan Stewart, 11 Lee Currie, 10 Kyle Wilson (Lough 55), 9 Keiran McGachie. Subs: 12 Neil Martynuik, 14 Lewis Turner, 15 Adam Nelson, 16 Keith Lough, 17 Neil Janczyk.

Referee: Stuart Luke

Programme: None.

Newtongrange Star v Penicuik Athletic

Monday 21 May 2018, 19.00, New Victoria Park

Newtongrange Star against Penicuik Athletic in the semi final of the Fife and Lothians Cup.

Our sixth day in a row at a game leads us to Newtongrange for the first Fife and Lothians Cup semi-final, with Bonnyrigg Rose due to meet Linlithgow Rose in the other.

We’d not seen Star since they visited Bonnyrigg Rose in January, when they lost out 5-2 in the fourth round of the Junior Cup.

This season had been an improvement, after losing in the Super League play-off at the end of last season, only to have a reprieve and retain their top league status, they finished in eleventh this season.

As well as reaching the semi-final of the Fife and Lothians Cup, they had made it to the quarter final of the East of Scotland Cup, but they went out on penalties to Dundonald Bluebell on 19 May, after a 1-1 draw.

This was the first tie of the competition where Star had been drawn at home.  After a first round bye, they defeated Armadale Thistle 3-2, Glenrothes 2-0 and Thornton Hibs 4-2 on their home turfs in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th rounds respectively.

We saw Penicuik just two days earlier, when their much-changed side lost 2-0 at home to Jeanfield Swifts.

Penicuik also received a first round bye before a 5-2 win at home to Broxburn in the second round.  They then put out the current cup holders Tranent by winning 1-0 at Foresters Park in the third, before winning at home 3-2, against Harthill Royal in round four.

Around 250 were in attendance.

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With four minutes gone, Renton took a free kick and sent the ball up the right for Star.  The ball fell for Melvin, who picked the ball up on the by-line and cut back inside before sending a low left foot shot into the far corner to give the hosts an early lead.

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A minute later O’Hara’s ball forward was flicked on by Hunter’s head and Richardson struck for goal from the edge of the Penicuik box, but it was too high.

Connelly made a mistake in 11 minutes and pulled back Star’s Wilson as he got away.  He was shown the yellow card.

Kateleza took the ball into the Star box on the left in 18 minutes and Melvin used his strength to win the ball from him.  There were some appeals for a penalty, mainly from the crowd, but it looked a fair challenge.

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A clever ball into the box by Star’s Richardson in 21 minutes saw Hunter running in on the left, but Forbes got back to put him under pressure, and he could only fire into the side netting.

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Following a Star throw in in 23 minutes, Wilson latched onto a loose ball and rifled a shot at goal from 20 yards, but it was too high.

There were home claims for a penalty after a Connolly challenge in the box, but nothing was given.  The Star bench were spoken to by the referee for their protestations.

MacDonald found the feet of Jones in 29 minutes as Penicuik came forward.  He passed to Kateleza who lifted the ball over the Star defence back to Jones who chested the ball down before sliding the ball past Renton for the equaliser.

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Some good skill by Hunter saw him take the ball down the right for Star in 30 minutes, but he pulled up with what looked like a hamstring strain and had to be replaced.

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Ponton was brought down right on the edge of the Star box in 32 minutes.  Somerville took the free kick but sent it into the wall.

A good lay off by Richardson in 35 minutes was into the path of Scott in the Penicuik box, but he was offside.

Somerville played a nice pass for Kateleza into the Star box on the right in 42 minutes.  He knocked the ball past Renton, but Swaney was there to put the ball out for a throw in.

Penicuik’s Forbes required treatment in 43 minutes after getting the ball full in the face.

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There were Star penalty claims just before the break when Wilson’s shot was blocked by Forbes, with a suggestion the ball had hit his hand.

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A fairly disjointed first half with Penicuik shaken by Star’s early goal.  Both sides had chances, but there wasn’t a huge amount of goalmouth incident in an even first 45 minutes.  Star were working very hard to close Penicuik down quickly and there had been a lot of misplaced passes from both sides.

The visitors began the second half on the front foot and in 48 minutes, Jones played the ball to Ponton on the left.  His cross found the head of Jones, but it was slightly behind him, and he couldn’t get it on target.

Lowson had a go at the Penicuik goal from 20 yards in 59 minutes, but it was saved down low by Allison.

Penicuik sacrificed a midfielder to put another forward on in 61 minutes.

Porteous was shown a yellow card in 64 minutes for going in a bit late on Penicuik keeper Allison.

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In 67 minutes Jones passed to Somerville on the right.  His cross came back to Jones, who shot for goal first time, but it was wide.

Kateleza lobbed the ball into the Star box from the right in 70 minutes and the bounce beat Melvin.  Somerville ran onto the ball and struck for goal, but it was too close to Renton, who managed to turn it over the bar.

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A misplaced pass by Somerville in 73 minutes gave possession to Stephen Scott and he hit a decent effort at goal, but it was wide of the post.

With 75 minutes gone, Kateleza nipped in front of Melvin on the right and put the ball into the Star box.  It was cleared to the edge of the box where Jones ran onto it, but his shot was dragged well wide.

Kateleza received a throw-in with 78 minutes gone and sent a great ball into the Star box. Somerville got away from his marker to get his head to the ball inside six-yards, but Renton somehow managed to turn it behind.  It was a remarkable save, but the striker really should have scored.

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A ball up the left by Penicuik in 80 minutes saw Kateleza running in behind the defence and he took it past Renton to get to the by-line, but Lowson got in the way to challenge, and Renton gratefully dived on the ball.

Forbes crossed into the Star box in 84 minutes and there was a chance for McCrory-Irving, but a defender managed to deflect the ball behind.

There were no further opportunities of note and the finalists would be determined by a penalty shoot-out.

Melvin went first for Star and scored.  Somerville’s effort for Penicuik was saved by Renton.

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Kyle Scott and Kateleza both scored.  Allison then saved Wilson’s kick before Forbes brought the scores level for Penicuik.  O’Hara then scored for Star and Jones for Penicuik.  Richardson then saw his kick saved,

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giving Connelly the chance to win it for Penicuik, but Renton saved.  Into sudden death and Smith netted for Star.  McCrory-Irving stepped up for Penicuik but Renton saved again to put Star through.

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While Penicuik controlled the second half and had enough chances to win the game, some poor finishing prevented them from winning in 90 minutes.  Star hung in there despite not threatening the visitors’ goal in the second half and Renton’s heroics won the game for them.

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Smith, Lowson and Renton were the home side’s best performers, while Penicuik’s Jones, Hume and Forbes were the stand-outs.

Full Time:  Newtongrange Star 1 Penicuik Athletic 1 (Newtongrange Star won 4-3 on penalties)

Admission: £6

Newtongrange Star: 21 Kieron Renton, 25 Sean Melvin, 2 Scott Swaney, 14 Neil Lowson, 23 Dale O’Hara, 6 Ryan Porteous (K Scott 66), 10 Jack Wilson, 18 Darren Smith, 16 Alistair Forster, 17 Dale Richardson, 9 George Hunter (S Scott 32). Subs: 1 Jordan Dunsmore, 7 Kyle Scott, 11 Scott McNaughton, 12 Stephen Scott, 22 Kevin Bracks.

Penicuik Athletic: 1 Kyle Allison, 2 Andy Forbes, 4 Craig Hume, 5 Darrell Young, 3 John Williams (McCrory-Irving 71), 7 John MacDonald (Sampson 61), 8 Sam Jones, 6 Callum Connolly, 11 Arran Ponton, 10 Lumbert Kateleza, 9 Aaron Somerville. Subs: 18 Thomas Cordery 12 Scott McCrory-Irving, 14 Gary Hamilton, 15 Andrew Sinclair, 16 Kyle Sampson.

Referee: Iain Snedden

Programme: £1.

BSC Glasgow v Civil Service Strollers

Sunday 20 May 2018, 14.30, Olivebank

The final of the South Challenge Cup between BSC Glasgow and Civil Service Strollers.

A first look at BSC since August, when they won 2-1 at Selkirk in the Lowland League.

They had gone on to have a fine season, finishing third in the Lowland League and reaching the semi-final of the League Cup, as well as looking to win the South Challenge Cup.

BSC Glasgow were the favourites going into this final having last won this trophy in 2014-15.  They had won by three goals to one at Bonnyton Thistle in the second round, before seeing off East Stirlingshire 2-1 in round three.  They’d had an emphatic 6-0 victory away to Glasgow University in the quarters, before beating Edusport Academy 4-1 in the semi-final.

BSC had James Stokes on the bench, who joined the club on loan from Partick Thistle in January.

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We last saw Strollers in October, when they were knocked out of the Scottish Cup by Brora Rangers.  They had finished in seventh place in the Lowland League

Strollers’ route to the final had started with a win away to Gretna 2008 3-2 in the second round followed by a 4-1 triumph over Dalbeattie Star in round three.  They won away at Leith Athletic 3-2 (after extra time) in the quarter finals and beat Vale of Leithen 4-2, again after extra time, in the semi-final. If Strollers were to win this, they would be picking up their first piece of silverware since winning the East of Scotland Trophy in 2001-02.

Strollers added to their squad in January with the signings of forward Paolo Buzzi from Hamilton Accies, and Mark McConnell on loan from Bonnyrigg Rose.

As the players warmed up before the game, Ross Pilcher, a weel kent face around the Lowland League and football in the Lothians and Borders, came into the ground on reporting duty for the Edinburgh Evening News.  His timing wasn’t great as a wayward ball flew into the crowd and smashed into the side of his head.  A dazed ‘Pilch’ may not have quite so weel kent a face now.

The game was played at the home of Musselburgh Athletic and a crowd of around 150 were there to watch.

With two minutes gone, Downie showed some good close control before having a go at the BSC goal from well out, but it was a comfortable save for Marshall.

Bentham received the ball in the Strollers box in 5 minutes and was halted by a desperate tackle from Newall to get the ball away.  There were claims for a penalty, but the referee wasn’t interested.

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As BSC’s keeper Marshall went to clear his lines in 7 minutes, Froude managed to get a block on it, but the ball spun away from goal.

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Straight up the other end and Duncan had a shot from the edge of the Strollers box, but it was too high.

The ball broke to Downie inside the BSC box in 13 minutes, but his shot struck a defender before going behind.

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In 17 minutes, Murray turned well on the by-line after receiving a throw-in, but his ball across goal was caught by Burnside in the Strollers goal.

Froude took a throw-in for Strollers in 18 minutes and hurled it into the box.  Ballantyne crossed back into the area and McMillan almost headed into his own net in clearing behind.  Downie looked as if he was trying to score from the resultant corner, but it was held by Marshall.

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With players complaining about a decision, it was interesting to hear the referee reply “what are you moaning about?”

A clever free kick by Strollers in 21 minutes saw Downie put a bouncing ball into the BSC box, but nobody could get there.

BSC’s Grehan was shown a yellow card in 24 minutes for (I think) what was perceived to be a dive.

A mistake by Laird in 32 minutes gave the ball to BSC and Grehan passed to Bentham on the right-hand side of the box, but Burnside saved his shot.

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Grehan required treatment before continuing in 33 minutes.

Murray cleverly chipped the ball into the Strollers box in 36 minutes, but Burnside was quickly out of his goal to grab the ball off the head of Duncan.

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Downie continued to try to trouble the BSC goal from distance with another effort in 37 minutes, but it was wide of goal.

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In 42 minutes, the ball was bobbling around the BSC box and Mair got a shot away, but Marshall got down to save his low strike.

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Strollers won a corner in 43 minutes and Downie’s delivery found the head of Ballantyne, but he nodded over.

Just before the break, Turnbull hooked the ball over his head inside the BSC box and it went just wide of the post.

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Still goalless at the break with not much in the way of goalmouth incident and both keepers having a fairly quiet afternoon.  Strollers probably just about edged the first 45 minutes.

It was interesting at half time to encounter some foreign visitors (German I think?) who were asking what was in a scotch pie.  Upon purchasing one, the three of them seemed to be turning their noses up as they poked at it.  As has been said previously, people born outside Scotland rarely have the constitution to eat a scotch pie.

McMillan was first to have a go at goal in the second half, but his shot from 30 yards didn’t concern Burnside in the Strollers goal.

A long ball into the Strollers box in 52 minutes found Grehan but he didn’t catch his shot well and it ran through to Burnside.

Clapperton was booked in 56 minutes for catching BSC’s McStay late.

Murray had shot from over 25 yards out in 63 minutes, but it wasn’t close to hitting the Strollers goal.

It certainly wasn’t a classic.

Mair burst down the left for Strollers in 67 minutes and sent a great cross to the back post where Froude met it with a downward header which beat Marshall and found the net.

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It had increasingly looked like one goal would win it and Strollers had their noses in front.

Murray tried a volley on the edge of the Strollers box in 69 minutes which took a deflection, and Burnside did well to get down and save the ball on the line.

With 72 minutes gone, Downie turned well in the BSC area, but his effort at goal was blocked.

Strollers gave away a sloppy corner in 78 minutes and although it was cleared, the ball eventually came to Murray, whose shot at goal was going wide but hit the hip of McArthur and flew into the net for the equaliser.

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Mair took a free kick for Strollers from the edge of the BSC area in 81 minutes, but it was too high.

With two minutes left, Downie found Fee on the right for Strollers.  He got the break of the ball off Redpath and continued into the box but could only hit the side netting.

BSC won a corner in the third minute of injury time and Murray’s delivery found McMillan, but his header down bounced wide.

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In a game that had never really caught fire, I don’t expect many in attendance had wanted extra time.  Strollers seemed to be tiring more than BSC who seemed to be getting on top.

With four minutes of extra time played, Froude’s cross from the right was volleyed well by Buzzi, but it was straight at BSC keeper Marshall.

Murray intercepted a Downie pass in 99 minutes and put BSC on the attack with a pass to Bentham, but he shot wide.

Strollers’ Turnbull wasn’t fit enough to continue in 100 minutes and had to be replaced.  McConnell moved back into his place in defence.

Half time in extra time came and went and everyone was starting to think about penalties deciding the destination of the trophy.

McStay looked for Mills inside the Strollers box in 112 minutes, but a great tackle by Laird prevented him getting a shot away.

Grehan made some space for himself in the Strollers box in 114 minutes, but his shot was deflected wide.  McStay’s corner was met by McMillan’s head, but was deflected again before a defender managed to boot clear.

BSC were starting to put a bit of pressure on with a series of corners.

Strollers broke forward in 117 minutes with Froude on the left.  Churchill took over and returned the ball to Froude who saw his shot turned around the post by Marshall.  Downie’s corner was headed over the bar by Buzzi.

With a minute left in extra time, a Strollers free kick midway inside their own half was pumped forward.  Froude headed the ball on and it came to Buzzi on the edge of the box.  He chested the ball down then to the disbelief of pretty much everyone, sent an unstoppable overhead kick flying into the net to put Strollers back in front.

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Buzzi was off to celebrate whirling his top round his head with all of his team mates and some of the coaching staff in pursuit.

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The final whistle went seconds later.

An incredible way to win a cup final and a goal which wouldn’t have looked out of place in a European Cup Final.

Strollers had begun well and looked the better side early on.  When BSC equalised, it looked as if they would go on to win.

Mills and Murray had been BSC’s best players, while Downie and Newall had been the stand outs for Strollers, with keeper Burnside also performing well when called upon.

Strollers manager Alex Cunningham had his hands on a trophy in his final game in charge before moving to the boardroom.

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Full Time: BSC Glasgow 1 Civil Service Strollers 2 (After extra time)

Admission: £6

BSC Glasgow: 1 Ryan Marshall, 2 John Tennent, 4 Josh McArthur, 6 Ross McMillan, 3 Jamie Mills, 8 Robbie Duncan (McNab 71), 11 Stevie Murray, 20 Ryan McStay, 7 Gary Redpath (Connor Smith 109), 9 Tom Bentham, 10 Martin Grehan. Subs: 21 Stephen Barr, 12 Robbie McNab, 14 Darren McLean, 15 Ayden Nicol, 16 Joe Irvine, 17 Connor Smith, 18 James Stokes.

Civil Service Strollers: 1 Stuart Burnside, 2 Kyle Fee, 4 Shaun Turnbull (Hainey 101), 5 Robbie Laird, 6 Craig Newall, 3 Andrew Mair, 7 Mark McConnell, 8 Scott Clapperton (Churchill 68), 10 Jack Downie, 11 Iain Ballantyne (Buzzi 86), 9 Stephen Froude. Subs: Kyle Rankin, 12 David Churchill, Johnathan Devers, 15 James Hainey, Alex Brown, 17 Paulo Buzzi, Joe Boyle.

Referee: Kyle Hall

Programme: £2.

Penicuik Athletic v Jeanfield Swifts

Saturday 19 May 2018, 13.00, Penicuik Park

Penicuik Athletic against Jeanfield Swifts in the East Superleague.

A return to Penicuik just three days after they’d beaten Bonnyrigg Rose in the quarter final of the East of Scotland Cup.

It was a much-changed Penicuik side, with only two of the team who began the cup tie in the starting eleven.  Goalkeeper Kyle Allison and Andy Forbes, who was drafted into central defence from his usual right back berth.  Two trialists were in the squad, Ben Taylor starting in midfield and manager Johnny Harvey pulling the boots back on to take a place on the bench.

With the semi-final of the Fife & Lothians Cup to look forward to on Monday, the league game was sandwiched between two big games for the Midlothian side.

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Remarkably, it had been three years since we had seen Jeanfield Swifts, when they lost at Bo’ness United to a single goal in an East of Scotland Cup quarter final tie.

Jeanfield Swifts are an SFA Quality Mark Community Club who play their home games at Riverside Stadium in the North Muirton area of Perth.  They were established in 1928 and spent their early life in the Perthshire Junior and Midland Junior Leagues.

In the first few years of the 1990s, the Swifts played in Tayside Division One, but were relegated to Division Two in 1994-95.  It was a short stay there as they came back up the following season as Champions.  They continued to play in Division One for the rest of that decade before being promoted as Champions to the Tayside Premier League in 2000-01.  Unfortunately, they were relegated again at the end of the season.

The club seemed to find its level in Division One until the end of 2005-06, when they won the league.  Restructuring took place before the start of the 2006-07 season and Swifts were placed in the East Region Central Division where they finished in 7th place.  After another five seasons there, they were promoted to the East Regional Premier League as Champions in 2011-12.

They won the league in 2015-16 and were promoted to the Superleague for the first time, however they struggled in 2016-17, managing to just avoid relegation by finishing 13th.

Their manager is Ross Gunnion who took over in the summer of 2015.

This season has been another tough one for the men from Perth and they would have found themselves in danger of facing a play-off to retain their top league status, were it not for the mass exodus of clubs to the East of Scotland League from the Juniors.

For this season, Swifts signed striker Fraser Mills, who returned to the club from Scone Thistle; from the same club, midfielder Gary Fergus; from Kinnoull, forward Rhys Davies and midfielder Lewis Mackie; and defender Benn Blyth from Letham Amateurs.

Their last outing saw them defeat bottom of the table Forfar West End 6-0.

Around 160 came to watch.

A mistake by Reid in two minutes let Fergus in for Swifts on the left, but his attempted cross was blocked.

The opening minutes of the game were very much played in the middle of the park, with both sides looking to gain supremacy.

There seemed to be a lot of swearing on the pitch as one misplaced pass after another failed to find its target.

In 17 minutes, Dewar slid the ball through for Davies on the right of the Penicuik box and his low cross/shot was well taken by Allison in the home goal.

Holden backheeled the ball into the path of Mackie in 23 minutes but his shot 20 yards from the Penicuik goal wasn’t caught well and it didn’t unduly trouble Allison.

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Penicuik’s first real foray into the visitor’s area in 24 minutes saw keeper Mitchell boot the ball high in the air.  When it came down, it fell for Jamieson, but he was thwarted by a good Deans tackle.

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Back up the other end a minute later Holden crossed to the back post from the left, but Mackie’s shot was blocked behind by Montgomery.

Holt did well in 26 minutes to create some space in the Penicuik half, but he was off balance as he struck for goal and put it high and wide.

Yates took a Swifts throw-in on the right in 27 minutes and had the ball returned to him by Holden.  He hit a low cross into the box which was missed by a number of players before coming to the feet of Davies.  He took a touch to take the ball away from Forbes before firing high into the net to give his side the lead.

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In 30 minutes, Sinclair did well to anticipate the flight of the ball to take it down on the right of the Jeanfield box and won his team a corner, which the defence cleared.

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Davies played a one-two with Holden in 31 minutes and looked clean through on the Penicuik goal, but Forbes managed to send the ball behind.

Home appeals for a free kick in 33 minutes were turned away by the referee after Sampson looked to be hauled down on the edge of the box by Deans.

A strong challenge by Yates on Mendes as both players chased the ball to the touchline in 35 minutes almost saw the Penicuik player collide with the barrier round the pitch.

Swifts broke forward in 36 minutes and Holden found Holt on the edge of the box, but his shot was poor, and the chance was gone.

Holt had another opportunity from a similar position in 41 minutes, but again his shot was off target.

One nil to Swifts at the interval and they deserved their lead against a disjointed home side.

Penicuik took off Forbes at the interval and Mendes moved to right back, with Reid moving into central defence.  Both full back positions now occupied by wingers.

In the opening minute of the second half, Holden had a shot from the corner of the Penicuik box on the left which flashed just wide of the far post.

Swifts continued to make the running and Fergus clipped the ball to the back post from the left in 50 minutes for Davies, but he headed over from close range.

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MacDonald gave the ball away in 51 minutes and Swifts worked the ball to Davies on the left of the box.  He skipped past a defender before seeing his shot turned around the post by Allison.  Holt’s corner was headed over the bar by Davies.

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Penicuik’s Sinclair got to the by-line on the right in 52 minutes, but the defence managed to scramble clear.

MacDonald looked to have a bit of a disagreement with the Swifts bench in 56 minutes following a throw-in.

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A long ball forward in 58 minutes won Penicuik a free kick after Sampson was held back by Gunnion, who was shown the yellow card.  McCrory-Irving played the ball square to MacDonald, but his shot was wide of target.

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A minute later Reid found Fergus on the edge of the Penicuik penalty area, but he shot straight at Allison.

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Montgomery played a good ball down the left for Sinclair in 67 minutes and he crossed into the Swifts box looking for Jamieson, but he couldn’t get there.

The hosts were starting to see more of the ball but were creating little.

McCrory-Irving found Jones 20 yards from the Swifts goal in 73 minutes, but his shot was deflected wide.

A good move by Swifts in 79 minutes saw them work the ball to Fergus on the left and his cross came to Mackie at the back post, but he sliced his volley wide.

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Good footwork by Dewar on the right for Swifts in 80 minutes got him away from a defender before he played the ball through the defence.  Holden ran onto the ball and from the edge of the box, sent a great shot over Allison and into the corner to double the visitors’ lead.

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Montgomery passed into the Swifts box in 83 minutes looking for the run of Harvey, but it was just too far in front of him and ran through to Mitchell.

With two minutes left, Harvey passed to Jones on the edge of the box, but his shot was wide of the Swifts goal.

A comfortable win for Swifts who did the league double over their Penicuik rivals.

Penicuik were disjointed throughout with several players making their first appearance for some time.  While they gained added impetus when the lively Jones came on, Swifts managed to score a cracking second to ensure there was no way back.

The visitors belied their lowly league position with an accomplished performance and never really looked in danger of dropping points after taking the lead.

Hamilton performed well in defence for the home side with Sinclair trying hard up front.  Jones really added something when he arrived.

For Jeanfield, Yates, Holt and Holden were the stand outs.

Full Time: Penicuik Athletic 0 Jeanfield Swifts 2

Admission: £6

Penicuik Athletic: 1 Kyle Allison, 2 Craig Reid, 4 Andy Forbes (MacDonald 46), 5 Gary Hamilton, 3 Ross Montgomery, 7 Fernando Yafa Mendes, 6 Ben Taylor[T] (Jones 61), 8 Scott McCrory-Irving, 11 Andrew Sinclair (Harvey 79), 10 Kyle Sampson, 9 Sean Jamieson. Subs: 12 John MacDonald, 14 Darrell Young 15 Johnny Harvey [T], 16 Arran Ponton, 17 Sam Jones.

Jeanfield Swifts: 1 Mark Mitchell, 2 James Yates, 5 Lee Deans, 15 Ross Gunnion, 19 Jamie Reid, 6 Lewis Mackie, 21 Keith Dewar, 8 Anthony Holt (McKenzie 86), 11 Gary Fergus, 18 Rhys Davies (Mills 76), 9 Robbie Holden. Subs:  20 Sam Townsley, 4 John Anderson, 12 Andrew McKenzie, 17 Fraser Mills.

Referee: Craig Wilson

Programme: £1.50

Hawick Waverley v Bonnyrigg Rose

Friday 18 May 2018, 19.30, New Victoria Park

Hawick Waverley Amateurs against Bonnyrigg Rose Amateurs in the South of Scotland Amateur Cup Final.

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The Scottish Amateur Football Association was formed in 1909 and is the organising body for amateur football across Scotland.  An affiliate of the Scottish Football Association, there are 50 regional associations affiliated to it.

The South Challenge Cup is open to teams from several Amateur Associations, namely the Borders, Lothian and Edinburgh, and South Lanarkshire as well as teams from the Caledonian League and the Strathclyde Churches League.

There were 48 entrants this year, with the first round consisting of 16 ties with 16 clubs receiving a bye.

Hawick Waverley were crowned Border Amateur League Division A Champions earlier in the week.  They also lifted the Border Cup earlier in the season.  They are still on for a further three trophies, with the Beveridge Cup Final and the Waddle Cup semi-final still to come, along with the South of Scotland one.

Waverley reached the final with wins over Tweeddale Rovers, West Hamilton, Larkhall Thistle, Pencaitland and in the semi-final, beat Carluke Hearts 4-3.  They lost in the final the season before.

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Bonnyrigg Rose Amateurs play in the Lothian & Edinburgh AFA and currently compete in the Lothian East Division, where they finished in fourth place.  Rose won the Ronnie Travers Memorial Cup earlier in the season.

Rose made their way to the final with wins against Haddington United, Leithen Rovers, Stow, Shotts Thistle and Chirnside United, who they won 4-2 against in the semi-final.

The game was played at the home of Newtongrange Star.  A good crowd of around 200 turned up, with a healthy contingent up from the Borders.

With 3 minutes gone, a Rose free kick from the left to the back post was won in the air by Milligan, who saw his header come off the top of the bar.

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A minute later Waters latched onto a loose ball at the edge of the Hawick box, but his shot was wide.

Hawick came forward for the first time in 6 minutes with Philbin on the left.  He passed to the feet of McColm in the box.  He backheeled the ball into the path of Yardley who poked the ball past Parker and into the net to give the Borders side an early lead.

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A good touch by Rose’s Roxburgh on the left in 14 minutes played the ball back to Calladine who returned the ball to Roxburgh, but the flag went up for offside.

In 15 minutes Rich brought the ball forward for Rose and struck an adventurous shot at goal from distance.  The ball took a nick on the way to win a corner.  Calladine’s corner was headed at goal by Nisbet, but it was too high.

A mistake by Nisbet in 20 minutes let McColm run in behind for Hawick and he expertly lobbed the ball over Parker and into the net to double the lead.

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Robertson was caught late on the touchline by Hawick’s Inglis in 22 minutes and he took the free kick himself, but it sailed over everyone in the middle.

A long kick out by Parker in 24 minutes saw Robertson chasing into the Hawick box, but Leckie got there first to send the ball behind for a corner which came to nothing.

A long throw into the Hawick box in 26 minutes came to the feet of Robertson and he was brought down to win Rose a penalty.  He took the kick himself and sent Wilson the wrong way to half the deficit.

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Things threatened to boil over in 27 minutes when Roberts caught Hawick’s Taylor Hope late and the players squared up to each other, but the referee made do with having a word with both players.

Hawick’s Gass was the next to be spoken to for having a raised foot in a tackle.

Yardley chased what looked like a lost cause down the left in 33 minutes and kept the ball in when the Rose players had given it up.  He cut the ball back to Taylor Hope in the box, who looked to be caught, before McColm’s shot was deflected wide.

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A great move by Hawick in 35 minutes got them into the Rose box, but Duncanson managed to intercept the ball and Rose survived.

Hawick won a corner in 39 minutes and McColm crossed to the back post where Davis Hope bulleted a header past Parker and into the net to restore their two-goal advantage.

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Rich caught Hawick’s Taylor Hope late in 42 minutes and was shown a yellow card.  The free kick was taken by Philben and Parker got a hand to the ball, but it dropped to the feet of Davis Hope.  Parker managed to get something on his shot to divert the ball away and he made a third save when the ball was played back in, but this time the flag was up for offside.

Rose went straight up the other end and Robertson hit a half volley at goal which Wilson did well to tip over the bar.

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In the third minute of injury time Yardley was tripped just outside the Rose box on the left after receiving a pass from McColm.  McColm crossed to the back post where it looked like Calladine hauled down Taylor Hope, but nothing was given.

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There was still time for Hawick to come forward again with Inglis sending a pass down the left for Yardley.  Rich got a cross to send the ball out for a corner.  McColm crossed into the middle of the box where Inglis smashed an unstoppable volley into the top corner to make it 4-1.

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The whistle went straight after the restart with many wondering where all the additional time came from.

Rose had started the game well and were undone by Hawick’s first meaningful attack.  Although they looked to have got back in the game with the penalty, it didn’t take Hawick long to regain control.

In the opening minute of the second half Yardley chased down Rose’s Duncanson who was a bit short with his passback and he took the ball inside and smashed a shot off the top of the bar.

Taylor Hope was nearly through for Hawick in 47 minutes, but Parker was out of his goal quickly to smother at his feet.

A great ball through the Rose defence by Philbin in 53 minutes sent Yardley clear.  He was caught by Parker as he ran into the box and Hawick had a penalty.  McColm stepped up to take it but Parker made a fine save diving to his right.

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Robertson passed wide in 57 minutes to find Roxburgh on the right.  His cross into the Hawick box was a good one, but Davis Hope managed to get the slightest touch with his head to take the ball away from the waiting player behind.

In 58 minutes, Roxburgh was brought down 22 yards from the Hawick goal by McColm.  Duncanson took the kick and curled it just wide.

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Rose’s Robertson required treatment in 60 minutes before he could continue.

A throw-in into the Hawick box in 62 minutes was flicked on but Roxburgh was unable to force the ball in, colliding with the post as he stretched.  Thankfully, he was ok to continue.

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Rose were having a decent spell and Calladine’s cross into the box in 67 minutes saw Milligan nip in between two defenders, but he headed wide.

Craig took a Hawick throw in 70 minutes and found Philbin down the left wing.  He crossed into the box and Taylor Hope got there first to slide the ball past Parker and into the net for Waverley’s fifth.  It was amusing to see McCutcheon’s celebrations, as he had lambasted Craig for taking the throw-in quickly.

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One of the Rose subs took advantage of no spectators behind one goal to go and relieve himself in the trees.

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Roxburgh’s ball into the Hawick box in 78 minutes was touched by Wilson, which put off Hunter, who could only turn the ball wide of the post.

Rose won a free kick in 79 minutes and Duncanson’s cross was headed at goal by Hunter, but Wilson got down well to push the ball away.

McColm was almost through on the Rose goal in 80 minutes but was halted by a fine Duncanson tackle.

A number of substitutions over the next few minutes disrupted much of the play.

Rose’s Ure was booked in 88 minutes for a foul on Hossack.

Hawick broke down the left in the final minute through Craig who was poleaxed by Finney who was also cautioned.

In injury time Duncanson put a free kick into the Hawick area, but Hunter’s header was too high.

A good win for Hawick who were very impressive and had too much for Rose.

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A lot of good performances from Hawick, with McColm, Yardley and Inglis the stand outs.  For Rose Calladine and Roxburgh were best.

Full Time: Hawick Waverley 5 Bonnyrigg Rose 1

Admission: £5

Hawick Waverley Amateurs: 1 Alistair Wilson, 2 Davis Hope (Dunne 86), 4 Declan Leckie, 5 Jason Inglis, 3 Craig McCutcheon (Richardson 86), 6 Grant Gass (C Hope 81), 7 Taylor Hope, 8 Paul Hossack, 11 Simon Philbin (Ford 83), 10 Dean McColm, 9 Jordan Yardley (Craig 65).  Subs: 12 Scott Craig, 13 Greg Ford, 14 Charlie Hope, 15 Chris Dunne, 16 Jamie Richardson.

Bonnyrigg Rose Amateurs: 1 Steven Parker, 2 Dan Rich (Thomas 52), 5 Graeme Nisbet (McDougall 75), 15 Stuart Duncanson, 19 Marc Finney, 14 Chris Roxburgh, 6 Calum Roberts (McAskill 52), 8 Drew Calladine (Ure 75), 10 Chris Robertson (Hunter 75), 9 Paul Waters, 22 Paul Milligan.  Subs: 3 Steven Thomas, 4 Tom McDougall, 11 Marc McAskill, 16 Calumn Hunter, 17 Rab Ure.

Referee: Christopher Bonnar

Programme: None.

Livingston v Partick Thistle

Thursday 17 May 2018, 19.45, Tony Macaroni Arena

Livingston versus Partick Thistle in the first leg of the Scottish Premiership Play-off Final.

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We’d last seen Livingston when they drew at home to Morton in March.  After promotion from Scottish League One last season, they had massively overachieved and finished runners-up to St Mirren in the Championship.

Livi knocked out Dundee United in the play-off semi-final and were ready to cause another surprise in the final.

With both Ryan Hardie and Raffaele De Vita both missing through injury, midfielder Scott Robinson started up front.

Having seen Partick Thistle at home to Ross County just under two weeks earlier, when they drew 1-1, we hadn’t been hopeful of them escaping relegation.  A 1-0 win at Dundee on the final day saved them from going straight down with a possible reprieve in the play-offs.

Callum Booth returned to the side after injury, but key striker Chris Erskine missed out.

A crowd of 5,469 turned up to watch.

The hosts started strongly, and the ball spent the first few minutes in the Thistle half.

Thistle won the game’s first corner in 4 minutes and Livi’s Miller and Cargill clashed heads.  Cargill had to go off to be patched up.

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Thompson won a free kick on the left level with the penalty spot in 9 minutes.  Jacobs curled the ball to the back post where Gallagher headed it back across goal, but nobody could get a touch.

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Booth played the ball back to Cargill in 10 minutes and he fired the ball into the Livi box.  Doolan ran in behind Lithgow and headed past Alexander to give Thistle the lead.

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A long throw from the left in 3 minutes by Lithgow was flicked on by Miller into the Thistle box.  Pittman played it back to Thompson on the edge of the box and he knocked it first time to Jacobs on the right hand side.  He shot for goal and Cerny got a hand to it but couldn’t stop it going into the net.  Even though he probably should have.  Back to all square.

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Longridge went up for a header in 15 minutes and McGinn rose to challenge.  Longridge got there first before the Thistle player crashed into him and he required treatment before he could continue.

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A Livi free kick was pumped into the box in 18 minutes and Cerny couldn’t gather as he leapt to claim.  He was a bit fortunate that the ball fell for him and he was able to smother.

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Thistle won a free kick of their own in 21 minutes and Woods had a go from about 23 yards, but his shot was too high.

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Jacobs crossed into the Thistle box in 22 minutes and Devine managed to head away from Miller as he tried to volley.  The ball fell to Thompson on the edge of the box and he hammered a shot inches wide.

In 29 minutes, Edwards headed back to Devine and he missed the ball, allowing Livi’s Thompson to run in behind him.  Devine looked to stick out an arm to impede him and Thompson went to ground.  With everyone wondering if it would be a red card for the defender, the referee waved play on.

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Some patient passing by Livi in the Thistle half in 35 minutes ended with Byrne stepping away from Lawless and crossing into the box where Miller’s header produced a great save by Cerny, but the flag was up for offside.

Livi’s Miller had to go off for some treatment to a blood injury in 40 minutes.

Byrne received the game’s first yellow card for bringing down Thistle’s McGinn in 41 minutes.

Thistle attacked down the left in 43 minutes and Barton crossed for Sammon, but his header was well wide of goal.

Thompson was the second home player booked for bringing down Cargill in first half injury time.

Level at the interval in a game full of tension, but lacking quality.

The crowd were entertained by some cheerleaders at half time, although it seemed the wrong music had been played as they all stood in position for a good 5 minutes before a song came on that they had a routine for.

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Longridge got a sore one on the ankle in 52 minutes when Devine went in with his studs.  Although the Thistle player won the ball, he had his foot up and he was shown the yellow card.

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Both sides were probing, but defences were on top.

Pittman picked up the ball just inside his own half in 59 minutes and took the ball all the way into the Thistle box.  He went past Cargill, but Cerny came out to block his effort.

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After a Thistle free kick had broken down in 61 minutes, Edwards played the ball back into the feet of Sammon.  He took a touch to lift the ball up and volleyed narrowly wide from the edge of the box.  The linesman’s flag signalled that it wouldn’t have counted anyway.

A long throw into the Thistle box by Lithgow in 62 minutes was headed back by Miller to Mullin 20 yards out, but he got his shot all wrong and it was high and wide of the goal.

Miller flicked the ball on for Robinson in 64 minutes and he looked to be bundled over by Barton just outside the Thistle box, but the referee didn’t see a foul.

Miller needed treatment in 66 minutes after an aerial challenge with Cargill where he seemed to get a bang in the face.

Gallagher took a throw-in on the right for Livi in 74 minutes and threw it down the line for Robinson.  He flicked the ball inside for Mullin who fired the ball across goal from the by-line and Pittman was the only player to react as he met the ball inside the six-yard box and sent it high into the net to give the hosts the lead.

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A long ball forward by Livi in 79 minutes was flicked on and Cadden almost got there in the box, but Cerny was out quickly to smother.

Longridge headed the ball on in 84 minutes and Pittman was alert again as he ran in behind the Thistle defence.  He was given offside as Cerny managed to turn his shot over the bar.

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Thistle came forward in 86 minutes and Edwards fed Barton on the left of the box.  He put a cross in and Cargill threw himself to the ground with Miller in close attendance.  He wasn’t going to reach the ball and there looked to be minimal contact.

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A narrow first leg lead for Livi and one they deserved.  While they can never be accused of playing flowing football, they have a team that all work for each other and they are certainly effective.

Thistle were a disappointment.  They created very little and lost the game with a whimper.

Halkett and Lithgow were solid at the back for the home side, with Pittman a bundle of energy in midfield.  Miller gave the Thistle defence an uncomfortable night and he was battered and bruised when he came off.

For Thistle, Woods and Edwards put themselves about in midfield but were unable to create a big impression on the game.

Full Time: Livingston 2 Partick Thistle 1

Admission: £20

Livingston: 1 Neil Alexander, 31 Declan Gallagher, 26 Craig Halkett, 4 Alan Lithgow, 14 Keaghan Jacobs, 24 Jordan Thompson (Mullin 60), 6 Shaun Byrne, 8 Scott Pittman, 3 Jackson Longridge, 17 Scott Robinson (Cadden 78), 18 Lee Miller (Buchanan 87). Subs: 20 Gary Maley, 2 Jack McMillan, 5 Gregor Buchanan, 7 Josh Mullin, 11 Nicky Cadden, 19 Adam Frizzell.

Partick Thistle: 1 Tomas Cerny, 16 Paul McGinn, 15 Daniel Devine, 4 Baily Cargill, 3 Callum Booth, 37 Martin Woods, 13 Adam Barton, 11 Steven Lawless (Spittal 67), 19 Ryan Edwards, 9 Kris Doolan, 18 Conor Sammon (Storey 85).  Subs: 12 Ryan Scully, 2 Mustapha Dumbuya, 7 Blair Spittal, 14 Christie Elliott, 21 James Penrice, 24 Andrew McCarthy, 39 Miles Storey.

Referee: Craig Thomson

Programme: None.  (Online version)

Penicuik Athletic v Bonnyrigg Rose

Wednesday 16 May 2018, 19.00, Penicuik Park

Penicuik Athletic against Bonnyrigg Rose in the East of Scotland Cup Quarter Final.

A first sighting of Penicuik since their 1-1 home draw with Broxburn Athletic in February.

It had been a fine season for Penicuik and they had only lost once since that game in February.  Although they had been challenging for the title for much of the season, it looked likely that a third place finish was how they would end it.

There was still potential to make it a great season.  As well as being in the quarter final of the East of Scotland Cup, they were also in the semi-final of the Fife and Lothians Cup, where a trip to Newtongrange Star awaited them.

They made it to the quarter final with wins over Bathgate Thistle, Brechin Vics and Camelon Juniors.

Penicuik were without long term injury victim Lewis Barr.

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We’d last seen Rose when they visited Dundonald Bluebell in March, bringing a 3-0 victory back to Midlothian.

Five points from their last three league games would bring Rose the Superleague title before they depart for the East of Scotland League next season.  Only second placed Linlithgow Rose could catch them.

Bonnyrigg lost in the final last year and would be hoping to go one better this time around.  They reached the quarter final with wins over Dundee North End, Kennoway Star Hearts and Haddington Athletic.

With the league title still to be secured, Rose had first choice defenders Kerr Young and Ewan Moyes on the bench.

A good crowd of around 300 turned up to watch the Midlothian derby, including Broxburn Athletic manager Brian McNaughton, Selkirk manager Ian Fergus and former Rose manager, now in charge at Berwick Rangers, Robbie Horn.

Rose won a free kick in the opening minute and Currie’s ball into the box was met by Hoskins at the back post, but Alison looked to get something on it to deflect the ball as it went across goal and eluded McGachie and Turner before going behind.  The referee thought otherwise and awarded a goal kick.

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In the fifth minute, a Currie corner was headed over his own bar by Williams, under pressure from Hoskins.  Penicuik struggled to clear the corner from the other side before they were awarded a free kick for a challenge by Brett.

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A chip forward by Somerville in 8 minutes was into the path of Jones on the left as the home side came forward.  He struck for goal on the half volley, but it was a comfortable save for Young.

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Gray lobbed the ball into the Penicuik box in 16 minutes and McGachie raced into the box as Allison came out of goal.  The striker got there first, but didn’t make contact, and the ball bounced past them both.  Forbes did well to get back to hook the ball clear before it went into the net.

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A fine cross field ball by Currie in 22 minutes found Gray on the right for Rose and he showed good skill to get away from Williams on the by-line, but he couldn’t keep the ball in.

Gray broke through the tackle of Young in 26 minutes and took the ball forward before shooting just too high of the Penicuik goal.

McGachie was close to catching out the Penicuik defence in 27 minutes when Allison and Forbes exchanged passes, but he couldn’t quite get there.  Penicuik went straight up the park and Kateleza was almost through in the box, but a great tackle by Hoskins halted his progress.

With half an hour gone, Currie put a dangerous looking ball into the box from a Rose free kick, but nobody could get a touch.

The visiting supporters were angered when the referee overruled his assistant to award a throw-in to Penicuik in 34 minutes, but it looked from where I was that the ref was right.

Some nice passing by Penicuik in 39 minutes led to Somerville looking to curl a shot in from 23 yards, but it was too high.

Kateleza squeezed a pass through to Somerville in 40 minutes, but his shot was again too high.

Janczyk received the game’s first yellow card in 41 minutes for pulling back Penicuik’s Jones.

Still no score at the break with the visitors looking the more dangerous of the two sides.

Martynuik crossed into the Penicuik box in the first minute of the second half, but Nelson headed over.

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Penicuik attacked up the left in 47 minutes with Kateleza playing the ball inside to MacDonald, who played it into the path of Somerville on the right of the box, but Young saved his shot.

Hoskins played a ball from the right with the outside of his foot which found Gray running into the Penicuik box in 48 minutes, but he screwed his shot wide of the post.

Somerville picked up the ball on the right a minute later and his cross into the box came to the feet of Kateleza who hit the ball into the ground to bundle the ball past Young and into the net from six yards out to give Penicuik the lead.

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Rose were awarded a free kick in 52 minutes and Currie’s shot came off the wall before going behind.  The same player took the corner which came to Hoskins on the opposite side.  He took the ball into the box, but his shot was also deflected wide.

Currie found Martynuik on the left in 54 minutes as Rose attacked again.  He played the ball into the front post, but Hume was there to send it behind.

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Martynuik won the header from Currie’s corner, but couldn’t find the target.

Currie had a go at goal himself in 56 minutes after being set up by Gray, but Allison got down to save.

A minute later, Martynuik latched onto a loose ball on the edge of the Penicuik box, but he shot wide.

A ball down the left in 58 minutes found Kateleza.  He passed back to Ponton who squared it to Jones on the edge of the Rose box.  He struck for goal but was thwarted by a great save from Young.

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Martynuik became the second Rose player booked for catching Somerville late in 60 minutes.

A slip by Hoskins on the right touchline in 69 minutes gave Kateleza the ball for Penicuik and he played the ball across the edge of the box looking for Jones.  Stewart got there first but passed back firmly towards Young and his touch was a bit heavy, allowing Jones to poke the ball past him and into the net for Penicuik’s second.

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Rose looked to get back into it straight away and Brett’s deep cross from the right was won in the air by McGachie at the back post.  Allison parried, but the ball fell to Nelson, but he could only fire over the bar.

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Gray became the third Rose player cautioned after having a go at the referee in 72 minutes about the award of a throw-in.

The hosts broke forward in 73 minutes with MacDonald feeding Ponton on the edge of the box, but Brett got across to block.

Stewart was the next to go into the referee’s book, again for dissent, in 74 minutes.

Rose made their third substitution in 75 minutes and threw defender Moyes up front.

MacDonald played a one-two with Kateleza in 76 minutes and hit a good strike at goal from the edge of the Rose box, but Young got his fingertips to it to turn it around the post.

A Hoskins ball into the Penicuik area in 80 minutes found the feet of Gray, but he shot straight at Allison.

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Almost immediately after, a poor pass from Rose saw Sampson get a foot in for Penicuik and Kateleza played the ball forward.  Horne got a touch but couldn’t stop it reaching Jones and he chested the ball down before smashing a half volley into the corner past a static Young to make it three nil.

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Currie put a free kick into the Penicuik box in 84 minutes and it bobbled around in the box before Moyes took a touch and hit a low shot into the corner of the net to get a goal back.

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Penicuik’s Sinclair was shown a yellow card in 86 minutes just moments after he came on as substitute.

Rose won a free kick 20 yards out after McGachie went down with a scream following an aerial challenge in 87 minutes.  Hoskins stepped up but blasted high over the bar.

In injury time a Currie corner was headed on by Hoskins and Martynuik shot from the edge of the box, but his effort was too high.

A good win for Penicuik who would have been delighted to get through to the semi-final of both cup competitions.  Rose would be very disappointed and were masters of their own downfall with the goals they gave away.

The home defence all performed well, with Young the pick of the bunch and Jones had a fine game in midfield.  For Rose, Currie was involved in most good things they did, and Horne was good on the ball as usual.

Thanks as usual to those at Penicuik for their assistance with the team line-ups.

Full Time: Penicuik Athletic 3 Bonnyrigg Rose 1

Admission: £6

Penicuik Athletic: 1 Kyle Allison, 2 Andy Forbes, 4 Craig Hume, 5 Darrell Young, 3 John Williams, 7 John MacDonald, 8 Sam Jones (McCrory-Irving 88), 6 Callum Connolly, 11 Arran Ponton, 10 Lumbert Kateleza (Sinclair 85), 9 Aaron Somerville (Sampson 67). Subs: 18 Thomas Cordery, 12 Scott McCrory-Irving, 14 Gary Hamilton, 15 Andrew Sinclair, 16 Kyle Sampson.

Bonnyrigg Rose: 1 Bryan Young, 2 Dean Brett, 6 Alan Horne, 5 Dean Hoskins, 3 Neil Martynuik, 4 Neil Janczyk (Stewart 62), 10 Lee Currie, 8 Adam Nelson (Moyes 75), 11 Scott Gray, 7 Lewis Turner (Wilson 62), 9 Keiran McGachie. Subs: 25 Michael Andrews, 12 Kerr Young, 14 Jonathan Stewart, 15 Ewan Moyes, 16 Kyle Wilson.

Referee: Daniel Graves

Programme: £1.50

Follow me on Twitter @blowyfootball

Heart of Midlothian v Hibernian

Wednesday 9 May 2018, 19.45, Tynecastle Park

Hearts against in Hibs in the Edinburgh derby in the penultimate game of the Scottish Premiership for both sides.

We last saw Hearts on the first day of April when they drew at Dundee.

Hearts would finish in sixth place regardless of the outcome of the game.  Their motivation was very much bragging rights and to stop Hibs from achieving their goals.

John Souttar was missing through injury, but Kyle Lafferty made it after picking up an injury at the weekend, when Hearts lost their unbeaten home record since their return to Tynecastle to Celtic.  They made four changes to that team.

Left wing back Demetri Mitchell had returned on loan to Hearts after injury had seen him go back to parent club Manchester United.

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It was the first time we’d seen Hibs since they visited Tynecastle in January, when Hearts knocked them out of the Scottish Cup.

Hibs were still fighting for second spot.  They would have drawn level with third placed Rangers with a win, one point behind second placed Aberdeen.  With Hibs at home to Rangers and Aberdeen at champions Celtic on the final day, it looked a real possibility for them.

Since we’d seen them last, they signed goalkeeper Cammy Bell from Kilmarnock and coming in on loan, midfielder Scott Allan from Celtic and striker Florian Kamberi from Grasshoppers Zurich.

Hibs were on a thirteen game unbeaten run and made one change to the side which drew 0-0 at Aberdeen in their last game, with Brandon Barker coming in for Jamie MacLaren.  Dylan McGeouch had a fractured cheekbone and was on the bench.

19,324 turned up to watch.

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In 4 minutes, Allan put a ball into the Hearts box from a free kick which McGregor won in the air, but it was over the bar.

Hibs had a free kick in an almost identical spot in 7 minutes, and this time Allan played it short to McGinn, but he dragged his shot wide.

Hibs had started the better and Hearts were struggling to get any possession in their half.

Barker made a good run from his own half in 13 minutes and got to the edge of the Hearts box, but Smith was there to block his shot.

The same player got another sight of goal in 15 minutes, but his low drive was saved by McLaughlin.

Mitchell made a good challenge on McGinn in 16 minutes but caught the Hibs player on the follow through.  McGinn stayed down and Adao tried to haul him back to his feet, thinking he was feigning injury.  Adao was a bit fortunate not to receive a booking.

Hearts went straight up the park and when the move broke down, Lafferty caught Stevenson late as he cleared the ball.  There was a lot of pushing and shoving involving several players from both sides before Lafferty was shown the yellow card.

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In 24 minutes, Lafferty turned away from Hanlon and passed to Milinkovic inside the Hibs box.  He passed first time to Naismith who took a touch before going down under the challenge of Ambrose.  The home fans screamed for a penalty, but the referee waved play on as the ball ran through to Marciano.  It looked like Naismith may have been tripped.

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The Hearts fans were still complaining about the decision as Milinkovic passed to the feet of Naismith just outside the Hibs box in 26 minutes.  He quickly played a pass to the right of the box looking for Lafferty, but Stevenson was in front of him.  The Hibs defender looked like he didn’t know Lafferty was there as he took a touch and the striker nicked the ball off him and quickly poked the ball into the far corner to give the hosts the lead.

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A maroon smoke bomb landed on the pitch before the game could restart.

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Smith crossed in the Hibs box from the right in 33 minutes and Berra won the header, but it looped straight to Marciano.

A second late tackle by Hibs’ Whittaker in 34 minutes saw the Hearts fans wondering why he wasn’t booked.

Cochrane charged forward from the half way line in 36 minutes and was tackled by Hanlon 22 yards out.  With McGinn joining his Hibs team mate to get the ball, Cochrane somehow emerged with it again and shot from the edge of the box, but it was straight at Marciano.

Hibs came down the left in 37 minutes and Allan was brought down by Adao.  The referee played advantage as Barker took possession and he cut inside before unleashing an effort at goal from 20 yards which McLaughlin palmed clear.

The home side put together a fine move in 38 minutes which ended with Milinkovic playing the ball to Cochrane on the edge of the box.  He went past Ambrose on his way into the box, but McGregor threw himself at the ball to deflect the shot wide.

A minute later and Boyle took the ball down the right for Hibs and as he looked to sprint between two defenders, he pulled up with what looked to be a hamstring injury.  He was replaced by McGeouch, complete with a face mask to protect his damaged cheekbone.

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Before the substitute arrived, Cochrane played the ball to Smith on the right and his ball into the Hibs box was just too far in front of Lafferty.

Allan moved out to the right to accommodate the substitute.

McGeouch was involved immediately when he robbed Mitchell and passed to Allan.  He struck for goal from the corner of the box, but McLaughlin was down quickly to stop his shot.

Allan had another go at goal in 44 minutes, but he was off balance and his shot from 23 yards was off target.

A poor pass by Adao just before the 45 minutes was up gave possession to Barker who ran into the Hearts box on the right, but he dragged a poor shot across goal, although it did get a nick to win his side a corner which came to nothing.

Hearts a goal up at the break and although Hibs had started well, Hearts had come on strongly and created the better chances in a feisty first half.

With two minutes of the second half gone, Stevenson won the ball from Smith on half way and charged down the left.  He played the ball to the feet of Barker, but he didn’t control it well, and Adao toed the ball away.  The ball came back to Stevenson and he went down under Adao’s challenge and the referee pointed to the spot.  Kamberi sent McLaughlin the wrong way to draw Hibs level.

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A green smoke bomb appeared on the pitch this time.

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Whittaker was shown the yellow card in 53 minutes for a foul on Hearts’ Mitchell.  Adao was lucky to escape a similar fate for bringing down McGinn after the referee had blown for a free kick.

Lafferty was clipped by Hanlon as he chased a ball down the right in 57 minutes.  Cochrane curled the ball into the near post where Naismith got in front of Stevenson to steer the ball into the far corner with his head to put Hearts back in front.

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In 58 minutes Hibs were back on the attack and Allan squared the ball to Barker, but his shot from the edge of the ‘D’ was blocked well by Berra.

Mitchell looked to pull back Kamberi on the half way line in 60 minutes as the Hibs striker chased a long ball forward, but nothing was given.

Hearts forced four corners in quick succession in the next couple of minutes and the last one came to Cochrane on the edge of the box, but he was high and wide with his effort.

Barker went down the left for Hibs in 67 minutes, but his cross into the middle was cleared by Hughes.

McLaughlin came out of his goal to take a Hearts free kick near half way in 69 minutes and Naismith flicked the ball on at the edge of the box and Lafferty nipped in, but the flag went up and he landed on his shoulder when coming together with Marciano.  He had to go off for treatment but returned soon after.

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MacLaren went down on the edge of the Hearts box in 75 minutes claiming he was tripped by Smith and Hibs manager Neil Lennon went racing off down the touchline, but the flag was up for offside.

With 76 minutes gone, Cowie, who had just come on for Hearts, got the ball full in the face from very close range and required treatment before continuing.

Another sub who had just come on, Hibs’ Slivka, raced into the Hearts half in 78 minutes and played the ball to Barker.  He was forced wide by Smith and slid to get a shot in, but it went over the bar.

Hibs’ McGregor was cautioned in 79 minutes after jumping into the back of Milinkovic with his knee up.

McGeouch was brought down by Adao 20 yards from goal in 83 minutes.  The Hearts midfielder must have really been on his last warning now.  McGinn’s ball into the box was headed clear by Berra.

A McGinn corner in 87 minutes was headed down by McGregor and MacLaren turned and shot but didn’t catch it well and McLaughlin dived on the ball.

The board went up to say that there would be 6 minutes of injury time.

In the fifth minute of injury time, Barker got the ball on the right of the Hearts box and squared it for McGregor, who completely missed his kick.  The ball came to Kamberi who hit the ball over.

Hibs couldn’t fashion another chance and Hearts had the win.

The visitors went more attacking as the game went on but struggled to create chances.  Hearts started slowly but just about deserved their win in the end.

Berra and Cochrane were best for Hearts with Ambrose and Barker Hibs’ top players on the night.

Full Time: Hearts 2 Hibs 1

Admission: £28

Heart of Midlothian: 1 Jon McLaughlin, 2 Michael Smith, 5 Aaron Hughes, 6 Christophe Berra, 24 Demetri Mitchell, 7 Danny Amankwaa (Cowie 69), 66 Joaquim Adao, 47 Harry Cochrane (Callachan 84), 11 David Milinkovic (McDonald 90), 14 Steven Naismith, Kyle Lafferty. Subs: 13 Jack Hamilton, 15 Don Cowie, 20 Ross Callachan, 33 Lewis Moore, 43 Euan Henderson, 46 Anthony McDonald, 48 Chris Hamilton.

Hibernian: 1 Ofir Marciano, 25 Efe Ambrose, 24 Darren McGregor, 4 Paul Hanlon (MacLaren 68), 17 Martin Boyle (McGeouch 41), 3 Steven Whittaker, 23 Scott Allan (Slivka 78), 7 John McGinn, 16 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Brandon Barker, 22 Florian Kamberi.  Subs: 31 Cammy Bell, 6 Marvin Bartley, 8 Vykintas Slivka, 10 Dylan McGeouch, 11 Danny Swanson, 19 Jamie MacLaren, 32 Oli Shaw.

Referee: Craig Thomson

Programme: £3.50

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