Saturday 11 March 2017, 14.30 Penicuik Park
East Superleague clash between Penicuik Athletic and Newtongrange Star.
It had only been three weeks since our last visit to Penicuik Park for the Junior Cup tie with Kirkintilloch Rob Roy and since then, Penicuik had won 3-2 at Musselburgh Athletic and drawn at home with Broughty Athletic. They sit in fourth place in the league and are closer to the teams above them than those below. It’s unlikely that they will catch Kelty Hearts or Bonnyrigg Rose, but have their sights on Bo’ness United for third.
Penicuik are without Lewis Barr and Keith Lough through injury, both big players for the home side.
A second viewing of Newtongrange Star this season, having seen them lose 3-0 at Bonnyrigg Rose in January. Since then, they’ve lost at Camelon in the East of Scotland Cup, lost at home to Kelty Hearts and Hill of Beath Hawthorn, and away to Broxburn Athletic in the league.
Things are starting to look bleak for Star in terms of keeping their Superleague status, sitting second bottom and having played more games than everyone else in the bottom half.
Newtongrange were out on the pitch first and Richardson was using particularly choice language to gee up his team mates before the start.
There was a minute’s silence before kick off to mark the passing of Hearts and Everton legend Alex Young, who began his career at Newtongrange and who lived much of his life in Penicuik. Both his sons also played for Penicuik.
A late tackle by Forbes on Cropley in the opening minute on the halfway line was a reminder that it was a Midlothian derby.
MacDonald burst into the Star box in the 3rd minute. His attempted pass to Montgomery came back to him, and he found the winger the second time, but his cross was blocked behind.
In 4 minutes, Janczyk’s cross was cleared to the edge of the box where Montgomery shot just wide with the outside of his foot.
With 8 minutes gone, Janczyk played the ball up for Somerville who crossed into the Star box from the left. McCallum went to challenge with his head along with Star defender Richardson and keeper Amos. All three missed the ball and it came to Gay at the back post who had a simple tap in to give the home side the lead.
Penicuik’s Hume picked up the first booking of the afternoon in 11 minutes when he brought down Lander about 23 yards from goal as Star broke forward. Currie took the free kick, but didn’t catch it well and his low shot went wide.
Swaney had an ambitious long range shot at the Penicuik goal in 15 minutes which was blocked by Janczyk. Gay picked up the loose ball and threaded it through the Star defence for Somerville, who had a clear run on goal, but the flag went up for offside. There were complaints, but he looked just off to me.
A fine run forward by MacDonald into the Star half in 16 minutes saw him pass to McCallum who played the ball left to Montgomery. His cross came to McCallum at the back post, but he shot over.
A Star free kick on the right in 18 minutes was played into the box by Currie and fell to the feet of Richardson. He looked certain to score from close range, but Easton stuck a foot out and somehow deflected the ball to safety.
In 19 minutes, Lander latched onto a through ball and was running in on the Penicuik goal. Easton came out and did enough to take the ball away from the striker and a defender cleared.
A ball up the right hand side in 21 minutes found Gay running towards the Star goal and he tried to lob the keeper first time, but Amos got back to catch.
Currie was teed up on the edge of the Penicuik box in 23 minutes, but he skied his shot high over the bar.
Cropley went down in the Penicuik box in 28 minutes. The ball broke to Currie whose shot was turned round the post well by Easton. There was some pushing and shoving in the aftermath.
Penicuik came forward in 30 minutes and Noble played the ball up the left to Montgomery. He swung a great ball into the box, but it was just too far in front of Somerville and McCallum.
Star broke quickly in 37 minutes and Currie passed through for Lander, but Easton was out to gather at the striker’s feet.
MacDonald cut the ball back to Montgomery inside the Star box in 39 minutes, but his shot was blocked.
Penicuik won a corner in 42 minutes and Gay’s cross was headed on by Somerville and came to Forbes at the back post, who quickly fired into the net to make it 2-0.
The second goal before half time must have been a big blow to Star, although the home side had been the better team. Star could easily have scored a couple themselves though and they would have still hoped to get something out of the game.
In the first minute of the second half, Martynuik crossed into the Penicuik box and Richardson got a toe to the ball in front of Young, but Easton was down to save.
A mistake by Noble in 49 minutes gave Lander a sight of the Penicuik goal, but his volley from the edge of the box flashed just wide.
Cropley got Star’s first booking in 51 minutes for a late tackle on Somerville.
Swaney’s cross in 53 minutes was headed towards the Penicuik goal by Lander, but Easton saved well.
Star had started the second half well and Lander had another chance in the Penicuik box in 55 minutes which Easton saved superbly with his foot.
Penicuik attacked in 57 minutes and Janczyk played a good ball up the left for Montgomery. He sprinted forward but Lander got back to make a fine tackle.
A couple of long range efforts by Newtongrange were comfortably saved by Easton in the next few minutes before Penicuik came forward again with 61 minutes on the clock. McCallum passed to Gay out wide and he played a fantastic ball to the back post to pick out McCallum who had continued his run to the back post, but he headed over.
Martynuik was yellow carded in 64 minutes for a shoulder charge on McCallum as the Penicuik player ran towards goal.
Janczyk found Hume in the Star box in 65 minutes and he turned and crossed well where Somerville managed to send the ball towards goal. There were claims that the ball had crossed the line, but the referee waved away the appeals as Star got the ball away.
A powerful effort at goal from outside the box by Lander in 67 minutes was well saved by Easton in the home goal, and he blocked again from Douglas’ follow up.
Richardson was next to receive a caution for Star for what seemed to be a complaint about a referee decision in 69 minutes.
In 72 minutes, Gay’s cross to the back post picked out Montgomery, but he saw his effort turned past the post by Amos, who did well to get a hand to it and keep Star in the game.
Penicuik’s Janczyk was booked in 74 minutes for pulling back Bracks as Star broke.
A great run by Lander in 74 minutes on the right saw him get all the way to Penicuik’s by-line, but his cut back was cleared.
McCallum cleverly headed the ball down to Somerville in Star’s box in 75 minutes, but the striker shot straight at Amos.
Penicuik attacked again in 76 minutes and Gay played the ball to MacDonald on the right of the box. His low cross into the middle was expertly flicked in by McCallum for Penicuik’s third.
Bracks was next to pick up a yellow for a foul on Penicuik’s MacDonald in 78 minutes.
With 80 minutes gone, Kyle Scott passed forward to Stephen Scott who took a touch before Somerville shot, but Amos was there to block.
A long ball forward by Star in 82 minutes saw Lander tee the ball up for a team mate, but he volleyed wide.
Another excellent ball by Gay picked out Montgomery on the left in 84 minutes and his cross found Jones in the middle, but Richardson was there to clear the ball off the line.
With two minutes left, Penicuik’s MacDonald passed to Kyle Scott inside the Star box and he tried to pick out his brother Stephen, but Martynuik managed to get the ball away.
A convincing win in the end for the home side, but keeper Easton prevented any difficult moments with some fine saves. Young also performed well in defence. Gay treated the home fans to an excellent range of passing and crosses while McCallum has become a very important player up front.
Another tough afternoon for Star who looked decent going forward with Lander looking very impressive, but he was too often isolated up front. Currie did his best to control the midfield. Defensive lapses cost them the game. They’re starting to look doomed.
Full Time: Penicuik Athletic 3 Newtongrange Star 0
Penicuik Athletic: 1 Connar Easton, 2 Andy Forbes, 3 Steven Noble, 4 Craig Hume (K Scott 79), 5 Darrell Young, 6 Neil Janczyk (Jones 79), 7 Ryan Gay, 8 John MacDonald, 9 Aaron Somerville, 10 Ryan McCallum (S Scott 77), 11 Ross Montgomery. Subs: 12 Kyle Scott, 14 Stephen Scott, 15 Sam Jones, 16 Callum Connolly.
Newtongrange Star: 1 Liam Amos, 2 Scott Swaney, 17 Dale Richardson, 20 Jack Cook, 4 Neil Martynuik, 6 Lee Currie, 7 David Morris (Douglas 62), 10 Jordan Cropley (Flynn 81), 11 Jack Wilson, 19 Kevin Bracks, 16 Kyle Lander. Subs: 3 Brian Murray, 9 Errol Douglas, 12 Sean Lally, 15 Kenny O’Brien, 18 James Flynn.
Referee: Peter Stuart