Saturday 30 September 2017, 14.30, Foresters Park
East Premier League action between Tranent Juniors and Fauldhouse United.
Plans to go to the Kennoway Star Hearts v Linlithgow Rose were curtailed due to issues with the trains, so a quick look at other fixtures saw us heading to East Lothian instead of Fife.
Tranent finished in fourth place in the Premier last season, one place and ten points off the play-off spot, but it was the cups which made the season so memorable. They reached the final of both the East of Scotland Cup and the Fife and Lothians Cup, knocking out several Super League clubs on the way. They then won both finals against Super League teams again, Bonnyrigg Rose and Broxburn Athletic respectively.
With confidence sky high, challenging for promotion was certainly this season’s aim and they got off to a good start with an opening day win at home to St Andrews, a draw at Arniston and a 5-1 win at Downfield. After that though, home defeats to Dalkeith and Tayport and then a draw at Bathgate dropped them down the table. A home win against Kirriemuir got them back on track but was followed by defeat at Thornton Hibs. Their last game before facing Fauldhouse saw a win at Whitburn and they headed into the match in sixth spot.
We last saw Tranent in that East of Scotland Final (after seeing the Fife and Lothians Final win 3 days before.)
Myles Doig has joined the club from Bonnyrigg under 21s and Neil Janczyk had joined from Penicuik, but left to become assistant manager at Bonnyrigg Rose soon after. Former Penicuik midfielder Ryan Gay came out of retirement to sign for Tranent. Kyle Mitchell left to go to Whitehill Welfare.
We haven’t seen Fauldhouse since we were at their Park View ground to see them lose out to Dundonald Bluebell in the semi-final of the East of Scotland Cup in May 2016.
There’s been a football team in Fauldhouse since the late 1800s, but the current Fauldhouse United were formed in 1919.
A couple of early trophies were obtained before there was a gap of 22 years until the next silverware, the Lothian and Lanark League, followed by two more cups in 1944-45. The following season saw them win the Scottish Junior Cup for the only time in their history. The same season also saw them win the Edinburgh and District League and three other cups.
Since that glory season ‘The Hoose’ have won league titles and cups over the years. In more recent times, they won the East Region Division Two title in 2002 before reorganisation saw them placed in East Region South Division for season 2006-07. A year later, they won the league taking them up to the second tier of the East Juniors.
Relegation in 2010 put them back to the South Division, but they went up as runners-up the following season.
Season 2012-13 saw them return to the second tier as champions and they gained consecutive promotions when finishing second in the 2013-14 Premier League, taking them up to the Super league.
Last season saw them fall back into the Premier League after a three year stay in the top division and they began the season as one of the favourites to go back up.
The bookies seem to have got things right so far as Fauldhouse began the season with home wins against Dalkeith and Whitburn, then an away win at Kirriemuir and further home wins against Bathgate and Downfield. When they won their next game 4-1 at Tayport they had maximum points after 6 games and had scored 24 goals.
A trip to St Andrews saw the end of the 100% record with a 3-3 draw, but they got back on track with a win at Arniston in their next outing. Their last game before the trip to Tranent saw a very surprising 4-0 loss at home to Blackburn United which meant they came into the game level on points with leaders Musselburgh Athletic, although they had played a game more.
There was a major overhaul of the squad after relegation with only 6 players being kept on. These have been supplemented by the signings of midfielders David O’Donnell from Lanark United and Terry Dignam from Gartcairn Juniors, striker Jack Currie from Lesmahagow and defender Dean Currie from Shotts Bon Accord. Others coming in (I don’t know from where!) are left back James Brown, keeper JC Hutchinson, midfielders Dean Arrol, Yami Misanjo, David Dunn and Aiden Ward, right back Sammy Watson, defenders Declan Brady and Kyle Stewart, striker Anothony Higgins and Martin Brogan and Luke Currie. Striker Kyle Richford has left the club since the season began.
We arrive early at the ground and with no visible turnstiles open, we asked a young lad how to get in. We’d been before, but weren’t sure how to get in from the car park side. The lad said he would show us and took us through the pavilion and past the dressing rooms and out through the players’ tunnel and into the ground. It seemed that we had entered the ground without paying. When the turnstiles did open, we went from inside the ground and explained what happened and paid our admission. I’m very aware how tough it is to run a Junior side and every penny is important.
The turnstiles didn’t seem to open until less than half an hour before kick off.
There were around 160 in the ground.
The home side were the first to show with Dawson having a shot blocked. The rebound came to Fiddler, but he didn’t catch the ball well and Hutchinson saved.
Jack Currie made a good run into the left side of the Tranent box in 4 minutes, but his ball across goal couldn’t pick out anyone in the middle.
A good cross into the Fauldhouse box by Hawkins from the right in 7 minutes found the head of Dawson, but he headed over.
In 10 minutes, Fisher played a dangerous ball across the face of the Fauldhouse box from the bye-line, but the defence cleared.
Jack Currie went down in the Tranent box in 12 minutes, but the referee ignored his claims.
A great strike at the Tranent goal in 13 minutes by O’Donnell came back off the post to prevent Fauldhouse going in front.
Fauldhouse’s Ward was given a lengthy talking to in 15 minutes after a foul on Miller.
With 16 minutes gone, Ward picked out McLeod on the edge of the Tranent box, but he dragged his shot wide.
A great passing move by Tranent in 19 minutes ended with Fisher sliding the ball through for Paterson whose shot seemed to almost go through Hutchinson and into the net to give the hosts the lead.
Fauldhouse quickly won a corner after the opening goal, but Tranent broke quickly and only a great tackle by Brown stopped Paterson being clean through.
Tranent’s Todd looked to go in with two feet in 22 minutes on McLeod and left the striker in a heap. The referee showed the big defender a straight red card and the home side were down to ten men. McLeod was able to continue after treatment.
Hawkins moved back from his midfield berth into defence.
Brown played the ball to O’Donnell in 23 minutes and his cross was only just too far in front of Jack Currie.
Fauldhouse’s left back seemed to be in almost constant dialogue with the locals, who were giving him pelters, but Brown appeared to be smiling back mostly.
Bennett was shown a yellow card for dissent in 26 minutes for disputing the award of a Tranent free kick for hand ball.
McLeod passed forward to Jack Currie in 27 minutes and his shot looked to be covered by Horne, but his low shot went through the keeper’s hands and into the net for the equaliser.
Tranent certainly weren’t for giving up and Fisher’s curling shot from 20 yards was inches wide, with Hutchinson diving full length to try and save it.
Wojtowycz was the next Tranent player to earn the wrath of the referee for a challenge on O’Donnell. He claimed not to have touched him, but was booked. Dunn took the free kick into the box but Dean Currie’s header was too high.
Fauldhouse played a ball to the back post from the right in 37 minutes and Bennett brought the ball down superbly before firing across the face of goal. McLeod ran in at the other post and shot high into the net to put the visitors in front.
Just before the interval, Dawson received the ball for Tranent 20 yards out and moved away from a defender before seeing his shot come back off the upright. Soon after there was claim for handball in the Fauldhouse box, but the referee waved away appeals.
Fauldhouse led at the break and Tranent must have been rueing the sending off. They started well and took the lead and looked to be in the ascendancy in the opening 20 minutes, but Fauldhouse always looked dangerous and had the better of the second part of the half.
McLeod made some space for himself in the Tranent box in 47 minutes, but could only shoot into the side netting.
Some good play by Dawson for Tranent in 52 minutes saw him take the ball in before hitting a shot at goal from the edge of the box, but it was wide of target.
A clever chip forward by Fisher into the Fauldhouse box in 56 minutes looked for Paterson, but Hutchinson was out quickly to claim.
Up the other end a minute later McLeod laid the ball off to Ward, but his shot from 20 yards was off target.
Miller burst down the right for Tranent in 60 minutes and exchanged passes with Dawson. He cut the ball back to Dawson again on the edge of the box and he touched it to Paterson whose shot was deflected behind.
Fauldhouse came forward in 64 minutes with O’Donnell passing to Jack Currie who played it through to McLeod. His shot was saved by the feet of Horne and O’Donnell put the rebound over the bar.
Fauldhouse won a free kick on the edge of the box in 67 minutes which led to several scuffles involving multiple players from both sides. It took a full five minutes to sort it all out with the referee sending off Fauldhouse’s Dunn and booking Jack Currie from the same side and Tranent’s Fairnie. He also had a word with the Fauldhouse bench before restarting the game.
The resultant free kick saw Horne make a fine save, pushing O’Donnell’s shot round the post.
Tranent broke quickly in 72 minutes and Paterson was running in on goal before cutting inside a defender, but his shot was straight into the arms of Hutchinson.
Gay was next into the book for Tranent in 75 minutes for a foul on Ward.
An attempted through ball by Fauldhouse in 79 minutes deflected into the path of Bennett, but Horne saved well with his feet.
A magnificent cross from Gay in 80 minutes was right on the head of Dawson, but he somehow nodded wide of the Fauldhouse goal.
Fauldhouse put a fine ball into the box from the left in 81 minutes for Jack Currie, but the striker was off balance and ended up lying down trying to get a foot to the ball, but Horne was there first to claim it.
Wojtowycz had a well struck shot at the Fauldhouse goal in 83 minutes which produced an unconventional save from Hutchinson, but he got the ball away.
In 87 minutes, Fisher chipped the ball into the Fauldhouse box and Gay saw his header come back off the post. The ball was played back to Fisher who blasted narrowly wide, but the ball took a nick on the way past. The corner came to nothing.
A ricochet in the Tranent box in 91 minutes took the ball into the path of Jack Currie. Wojtowycz threw himself towards him, but the striker blasted over the bar.
With Tranent pressing for an equaliser, Fauldhouse broke in 93 minutes and O’Donnell saw his strike saved by Horne’s foot. The rebound came to Coulter but Horne was up quickly and turned the ball away.
With 95 minutes on the clock a long ball forward caught out the Tranent defence and O’Donnell ran onto the ball and sent a perfect lob over the outrushing Horne and into the net to put Fauldhouse two in front.
Dean Currie was shown a yellow card in 96 minutes for bringing down Murray on the edge of the Fauldhouse box. Gay stepped up to take the free kick and Hutchinson looked to get fingertips to it, but couldn’t stop the ball going in off the post to give Tranent their second of the afternoon.
The final whistle went shortly afterwards to end what had been a great watch.
Tranent could certainly claim they deserved to take something from the game and looked to be on top when both teams had the same number of players. They came on strong when Fauldhouse were also reduced to ten men before being caught with a sucker punch.
Fauldhouse would have been delighted to get back on track and could easily say that they sat back when they went down to ten men to protect their lead. That’s not to say they didn’t look a good side. It’s easy to see why they have been successful and manager Jon Connolly must take great credit for getting what is almost an entirely new team playing as a unit.
Best for Tranent were Fisher, who looked a constant menace in an attacking midfield role and Dawson who held the ball up very well up front. For Fauldhouse, Dunn and Ward looked like real quality in the middle of the park, although I’m not sure what the former did to get sent off, it certainly detracted from the team’s midfield.
Neither team’s Twitter account responded to my request for team names and numbers, but Tranent had posted theirs in the pie hut while the Fauldhouse manager provided theirs via the Pie & Bovril website. Thanks to both.
Finally, it’s good to see that the stand-in linesmen were well looked after.
Full Time: Tranent Juniors 2 Fauldhouse United 3.
Admission: £6 (eventually)
Tranent Juniors: 1 Peter Horne, 2 Neil Smeaton (Murray 77), 8 Michael Fairnie, 5 Jamie Todd, 3 Craig Wojtowycz, 7 Ben Miller, 6 Lewis Hawkins, 9 Kenny Fisher, 14 Lloyd Fiddler (Gay 51), 11 Cameron Dawson (Ferguson 90),10 Kayne Paterson. Subs: 4 Guy Kerr, 12 Darren Smith, 15 Ryan Gay, 16 Joe Murray, 17 John Ferguson.
Fauldhouse United: 1 JC Hutchinson, 2 Sammy Watson, 5 Dean Currie, 4 Kyle Stewart, 3 James Brown, 7 David O’Donnell, 6 David Dunn, 8 Aiden Ward (Arrol 84), 11 Mathew Bennett (Magee 88), 9 Jack Currie, 10 Jamie McLeod (Coulter 84). Subs: 12 Dean Arrol, 14 Declan Brady, 15 Ben Magee, 16 Jake Coulter, 21 Matty Craig.
Referee: Mark Rennie
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