Saturday 8 October 2016, 14.30, Newbattle Complex

The first round of the Fife and Lothians Cup and a game between Easthouses Lily Miners Welfare of the East Region South Division and Thornton Hibs of the East Region North Division.

The Fife & Lothians Cup dates back to regionalisation in 1968 and is a knockout tournament for former East (Lothians) and Fife Region clubs in the current East Region.  It is administered by a separate Fife & Lothians committee.  Last season’s trophy was won by Penicuik Athletic who beat Bonnyrigg Rose in the final.

It’s my second viewing of Lily this season after seeing them in a pre-season tournament at Preston Athletic.  They sit seventh in the league, with three wins and three defeats.

Thornton Hibs began as a juvenile side in 1913 and became a junior side in 1935.  They’ve had a fair bit of success in Fife over the years and have twice reached the Junior Cup semi-finals, most recently in 2008.  They’ve had one season in the East Superleague, in 2004-05.

The Junior Association restructured prior to the 2006-07 season and Hibs found themselves in the 12-team East Region, Central Division. They finished ninth in their first season in the division.  They won the Central Division in 2009-10.

Season 2014-15 saw them win the East Region North Division and gain promotion to the East Premier Division, but relegation came at the end of last season.

The Fife men have made a number of new signings for this season.  Goalkeepers Matthew Clark has come in from Greig Park Rangers, and Dean Gear from Leven United, defenders Matthew Robertson from Rosyth Juniors, Dean McMillan from Lochore Welfare, and Nicky McGowan, who returned to the club after a season at Oakley United.  Midfielders Max Coleman from Balgonie Scotia, Shaun Keatings from St Andrews United, Dale Robertson from Burntisland Shipyard, and forwards Ewan Henderson from Newburgh Juniors and Garry Thomson jnr from Kennoway Star Hearts.

Lily’s ground is quite high up and if you go up the bank at the side of the pitch, you can get fine views towards the Pentland Hills.

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The game was a minute late starting as it looked as though the referee was having difficulty counting to eleven.  All refs check each team have the requisite number of players on the pitch before a game starts, but it genuinely looked as though he had at least two shots at it, before realising he wasn’t counting the person taking kick-off.

A good run forward by Lily’s Shearer in 3 minutes saw him try to pick out Ferguson in the box, but Shanks was across quickly to clear.

In 5 minutes, Thomson picked up a loose ball in the middle of the park and struck a low shot at the Lily goal from around 23 yards, but it went just wide of the post.

Lily had a free kick on the edge of the box in 7 minutes, but Barrie’s effort went high over the bar.

Hibs played a ball up the right in 11 minutes looking for Keatings, but McManus got there first.  He looked to play it back to Taylor in goal, but the pass was short and the keeper slipped.  Keatings took possession and tried to score from a tight angle, but Taylor managed to block.

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A minute later, Barrie latched onto a Hibs clearance and dummied a defender before shooting at goal, but there wasn’t enough power to trouble Clark.

A great pass by Thomson in 18 minutes picked out the run of Robertson on the right hand side of the box and his cross come shot went right across the face of the goal and just wide of the far post.

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Hibs Henderson picked up the game’s first booking in 21 minutes after the age old situation where a defender goes to clear the ball (in this case Hamilton) and the forward tries to block the clearance, but ends up catching the defender with his studs, although the defender effectively is the one doing the kicking.  Undoubtedly a sore one for the victim, as it tends to be his ankle that catches the studs.

Henderson was living dangerously though when he caught McManus as he cleared just a minute later.

Lily’s Ferguson had a strike for goal in 23 minutes which Clark did well to push away.

Following a Lily corner in 27 minutes, McDermott played the ball into the box and found Ferguson at the back post, but the striker had to stretch for it and he could only head high and wide.

In 32 minutes, McDermott picked out Elliot, who ran into the Hibs’ box but under pressure, could only shoot straight at Clark.

Crichton played a one-two with Henderson on halfway in 35 minutes as Hibs came forward.  He ran towards the box and managed to get through the challenge of Glodek from behind but was brought down as he got to the box.  The Hibs players thought it was inside the box and he certainly landed well inside it, but the referee gave a free kick right on the edge and booked Glodek.  Thomson took the free kick and made any arguments null and void as he placed a low shot in off the post to give the away side the lead.

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Straight up the other end after the restart and McDermott tried a shot from the edge of the box which Clark gathered at the second attempt.

In 39 minutes, McDermott put a Lily free kick into the danger area and it was dropped by Clark, but hit Shanks and went wide of the goal.  The corner was cleared to the edge of the box where Glodek tried an acrobatic effort which went narrowly over.

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Some good play on the left by Lily’s Shearer in 43 minutes saw the ball fired across goal and Glodek couldn’t make contact at the front post, but the ball came to Ferguson, who made no mistake to tie the score.

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A decent first half with the game still in the balance.

Arthur picked up a booking in 49 minutes and Thomson took the free kick for Hibs 25 yards from goal, which was tipped over the bar by Taylor.  Thomson trotted across to take the corner and found the head of Ireland, whose header was cleared off the line by McManus.

In 54 minutes, Lily’s McDermott played a fine pass into the box to pick out Ferguson’s run and he dinked the ball past Clark and into the net for his second of the match to give his side the lead.

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Lily looked dangerous again in 55 minutes when Shearer sent Elliot clear on goal.  The referee decided he was offside and blew up as Elliot knocked the ball past the outrushing Clark, who got a free late challenge on the striker.

Hibs came forward in 57 minutes and Crichton fired a shot at goal that Taylor managed to get a hand to, but it dropped to two Hibs players, Thomson and Keatings, and the latter tapped the ball home to make it two all.  Lily’s Hamilton was booked in the aftermath for, I think, claiming it had been offside.

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The away side were back on the attack from kick off and McMillan got to the by-line and his cut back came all the way to Hepburn on the edge of the box, but his effort was high and wide.

Arthur was forced to limp off for Lily in 59 minutes with what looked like a groin strain.

Hibs’ McGowan was next to receive a yellow card in 62 minutes for shouting at the referee that an opponent had “elbowed me square in the fucking face.”

Great feet on the edge of the Lily box in 64 minutes by Keatings created a chance, but he dragged his shot wide.

In 70 minutes, Hibs won a free kick near the corner flag on the right.  Dale Robertson crossed into the box and found the head of Thomson, who powerfully headed into the far corner to put his side in front.

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Barrie picked up the ball in midfield for Lily in 71 minutes, but his shot from 23 yards was too high.  There followed a short delay as a dog ran on the pitch to prevent Clark from taking the goal kick.  An embarrassed owner soon headed away with their pet.

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Hibs’ Ireland headed on a ball forward to set Crichton through on goal in 72 minutes, but he shot wide of the Lily goal.

Taylor did well to tip a Thomson shot from the edge of the box over the Lily bar in 74 minutes.

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With 75 minutes gone, Hepburn tried to score from the half way line after a Taylor clearance had landed at his feet.  It was a well struck first time effort, but the Lily keeper was back in his goal to catch the ball.

Crichton went down the left for Hibs in 78 minutes and found Thomson on the edge of the box.  He brilliantly sidestepped a defender before curling a magnificent effort into the top corner for his hat-trick.

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In 80 minutes, Dale Robertson lifted the ball over the top of the Lily defence for Ireland to chase.  The Hibs striker ran onto the ball, but shot wide.

A good ball forward to Lily’s Elliot in the final minute saw him lay the ball off to Ferguson on the edge of the box, but his first time effort went wide.

In injury time, number 17 showed good strength on half way and found Ferguson, but his shot from a narrow angle was saved by the feet of Clark.

An entertaining game between two good sides that sees the Fifers through to the next round where they will face Linlithgow Rose of the East Superleague.

For Lily, Shearer looked a clever player while Glodek was composed in midfield and McDermott looked a fine passer of the ball.  McGowan impressed at the back for Hibs and Keatings was good in midfield.  Thomson though was by far the best player on the pitch and his passing and composure stood out even if he hadn’t scored three goals.  No disrespect to Thornton Hibs, but it certainly looked like he should be playing at a higher level judging by his performance.

Thanks to Easthouses Lily for providing names and numbers for their team.  Thornton Hibs didn’t reply, so hopefully I have their team correct.

Full Time: Easthouse Lily Miners Welfare 2 Thornton Hibs 4

Admission: £6

Easthouses Lily Miners Welfare: 1 Billy Taylor, 2 Shaun Moffat, 3 Ross McManus, 4 David Arthur (Hall 59), 5 Ross Hamilton, 6 James Glodek (Young 81), 7 Stephen Barrie (Russell 72), 8 Steven Ferguson, 9 Gary Shearer, 10 Paul Mcdermott, 11 Ali Elliott. Subs: 12 Liam Hall, 14 Danny Watson, 15 Lewis Russell, 16 Steven Campbell, 17 Graeme Young.

Thornton Hibs: 1 Matthew Clark, 2 Matthew Robertson, 3 Dean McMillan, 4 Nicky McGowan, 5 Ian Shanks, 6 Max Coleman, 7 Shaun Keatings (D Robertson 69), 8 Ian Hepburn (Strachan 87), 9 Ewan Henderson (Ireland 45), 10 Garry Thomson snr, 11 Raymond Crichton. Subs: 12 Dale Robertson, 14 Stuart Drummond, 15 Bryan Strachan, 16 Chris Ireland, Jimmy Shields.

Referee: Michael Addy

Programme: None.

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