Sunday 26 March 2017, 12.15, Recreation Park

Action from the East of Scotland League between Ormiston and Leith Athletic.

This was the final game of Groundhop UK’s 2017 Scottish hop.  After joining them at Preston Athletic for the Friday game, they were at games at Eyemouth United, Coldstream and Hawick Royal Albert on the Saturday.  The Sunday lunchtime game seemed like a good idea, although the clocks going forward the night before made it a bit more of a struggle to get to East Lothian in time for the early kick off.

It must be the most men ever to have been wandering around Ormiston at midday on a Sunday.

A first East of Scotland League game of the season for us, although we have seen Leith Athletic and also Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale in other competitions.  We were at 5 league games in the previous season.

The two-tier format of the league was abolished for the 2015-16 season, replaced with a single fifteen-team division.  Originally formed in 1923, the league sits at level 6 on the pyramid system, on a par with the South of Scotland Football League and is intended to act as a feeder to the Lowland Football League.

This season sees 11 teams in the league.  From 2014-15, the winner of the East of Scotland Football League faces the winner of the South of Scotland Football League for a place in the Lowland Football League. This will be subject to the club meeting the sufficient licensing criteria to satisfy the terms of promotion.  It hasn’t happened yet.

Ormiston FC is an amalgamation of Pencaitland  and Ormiston Primrose Juniors. 

Pencaitland Amateur Football Club were Scottish Amateur Cup winners in their centenary year of 1984. They won several local trophies before joining the East of Scotland Football League in 1986.  They spent much of their time swapping between  the then two divisions of the league.

Ormiston Primrose were formed in the 1890s and were founder members of the original East of Scotland League.  They folded in the 1960s and returned in 1980 before going on to feature in the Junior Cup Final in 1989. 

The two clubs joined forces in 1999, playing in Pencaitland’s league, but at Ormiston’s ground.  The ‘Pencaitland’ part of the name was later dropped.

An eighth placed finish last season when the league consisted of 15 teams was considered to be a decent result, but they have found things a lot harder this season and sit third from bottom, two points from bottom and having played more games than the other two.

A second look at Leith Athletic this season after taking in their Scottish Cup tie against Cumbernauld Colts in September.

Champions Leith are doing their upmost to retain the title again this year, with Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale once again their main rivals.  They began this game two points ahead of Vale and they are still to play each other, so it looks like another tight finish.

Leith and Ormiston played each other the week before, at Leith’s ground, in the King Cup where the home side won 8-0.

The game was the last to be played at Recreation Park.  It was Ormiston’s last home game of the season before they begin on a new adjacent pitch the following season.

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A comprehensive food tent was at the game and a programme was produced to reflect the bigger crowd than usual due to the Groundhoppers.  There were 259 in attendance and they seemed to have brought unseasonal weather with them.

There was a late change for Leith before kick off, with John Ferguson starting up front instead of James Hainey.  Ferguson facing his brother Ross.

With two minutes gone, Leith’s Wilson got to the by-line and cut the ball back to the edge of the box.  Allan struck for goal and Johnston managed to stop the shot, with what looked like his bum, before Purves cleared behind.

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A long ball forward by Allan in 6 minutes saw Wilson racing in on the Ormiston goal, but Millard showed good strength to let the ball run through to Johnston.

A Leith free kick in 9 minutes was curled towards goal by Wilson.  There wasn’t much power in it and Johnston flung his arms wide to signal it was going wide.  He was nearly embarrassed as it hit the post before going wide.

In 11 minutes, a good ball into the Ormiston box by Craigie came to the back post where Wilson volleyed back into the middle, but Fairnie was there to clear.

A minute later, and Ormiston had a great chance to take the lead against the run of play when Gordon robbed Burns and broke through the defence and was one on one with keeper Gordon.  The keeper got down to get a hand to his shot and turned it round the post.  A dangerous low corner came in, but was booted clear by Fee.

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Allan’s corner into the Ormiston box in 14 minutes was headed up in the air by Wilkie and Johnston punched away.  The ball came to Burns who turned and volleyed, but it went wide.

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Leith’s Wilkie chipped the ball forward for Wilson in 17 minutes and as he ran through on goal Johnston came out.  The two collided in their attempts to get there first and the ball broke to Ferguson who fired into the empty net to give the away side the lead.

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Just three minutes later and Law lost the ball on the edge of his own box and Wilkie exchanged passes with Allan before seeing his shot take a wicked deflection off the back of Fairnie and flying into the corner to double Leith’s lead.

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Leith continued to press and the ball was played wide to Lewis in 22 minutes and his cross was glanced just wide of the far post by Ferguson.

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Allan received the first yellow card of the afternoon for Leith in 23 minutes for a late tackle on Gordon.

It was interesting to hear that Ormiston’s keeper Johnston shouted “fuck off” every time he kicked the ball out.  I’m guessing he wasn’t very happy with his distribution.

Lewis played the ball across the edge of the Ormiston box in 28 minutes and Craigie dummied the ball, setting up Fee for a strike, but he fired off target.

With 30 minutes gone, Ormiston’s McMillan cut inside and was caught by Allan.  The referee showed him a second yellow card and Leith were down to ten men.  It seemed a little harsh.

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Craigie played a clever ball in behind Millard in 33 minutes and his ball across goal was just out of the reach of Ferguson in the middle.

A minute later and Ormiston had another great chance and again it was Gordon through on the keeper after a ball over the top by Purves.  This time, his namesake in goal managed to get a foot to his shot before smothering the ball.

Craigie was brought down in 37 minutes by Millard, who was the first Ormiston player booked.  Fee’s free kick was headed back across goal for Ferguson who brought a good save out of Johnston, but the flag was up.

Just before half time, Wilson’s free kick from out on the left curled just wide of the Ormiston goal.

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A commanding first half by Leith, who were looking like emulating the result of the week before, but the sending off had given the home side some optimism and they would have been hopeful going into the second half.

In 48 minutes, Ferguson had a shot at the Ormiston goal which Johnston managed to smother at the second attempt.

An Ormiston free kick was floated into the Leith box by Law in 50 minutes, but was just too far in front of Nash.

Leith’s Fee went into the book in 53 minutes for dissent.

In 55 minutes, Fee found Wilkie on the edge of the Ormiston box, but his first time effort was straight at Johnston.

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An Ormiston corner in 58 minutes was taken by Law and headed away at the front post.  The ball came to Nash on the edge of the box, but he hammered over the bar.

Wilkie brought the ball forward for Leith in 62 minutes and clipped the ball through looking for Ferguson.  Millard got there first, but somehow managed to knock the ball past his own keeper and into the net to make it 3-0 to the visitors.

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Nash played the ball into the Leith box in 63 minutes and Gordon chested the ball down before half volleying goalwards, but it was held by Gordon in the Leith goal.

Leith put together a good move in 66 minutes with Ferguson playing a pass to Craigie, who fed the overlapping Lewis.  His ball across goal from the by-line had no takers in the middle.

With 72 minutes gone, Craigie burst down the right as Leith attacked and his ball inside to Martin saw the substitute take a touch before dispatching the ball into the net to make it four.

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There was confusion in 73 minutes as Tracey was about to replace Wilkie for Leith.  The sub didn’t appear to be on the list of players that had been given to the officials.  We were treated to the sight of the ref running back to the dressing rooms to get his list.  Eventually, Combe came on instead.

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In 79 minutes, Martin took possession on the edge of the Ormiston box, but could only drag his shot wide.

More action on the sideline in 81 minutes when Law was replaced for Ormiston.  In frustration he battered a ball off the back of the dugout wall and was told by one of the coaching staff that “You dinnae come over here and have tantrums.”

Lewis played the ball inside to Martin in 82 minutes, but his shot was held by Johnston.

O’Neill struck a free kick at the Leith goal in 85 minutes which he got over the wall, but it was held by Gordon.

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With two minutes left Little passed forward to Gordon.  Around 22 yards from goal, the striker turned and hammered the ball into the top corner of the Leith goal.  A cracking strike to give Ormiston a consolation.

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In 92 minutes, Simpson curled a shot just wide of the Leith goal from around 20 yards out.

The game became more competitive after the sending off, but Leith still looked in control.  Ormiston fought hard but the visitors were comfortable.

Burns and Melvin were solid at the back for Leith with Wilson and Wilkie the creators in midfield.  Law worked hard for the home side and Gordon scored a wonderful goal.

Full Time: Ormiston 1 Leith Athletic 4

Admission: £5

Ormiston: 1 Daryl Johnston, 2 Graeme Purves, 3 Gary Millard, 4 Richard Fairnie, 5 Ross Ferguson, 6 Ally Simpson, 7 David Nash (Millar 83), 8 Mark Law (Hadden 81), 9 Kevin Gordon, 10 Ian Little, 11 Aidan McMillan (O’Neill 68). Subs: 12 Blair Millar, 14 Sean Kraske, 15 Craig O’Neill, 16 Nicky Cairns, 17 Gary Hadden.

Leith Athletic: 1 Iain Gordon, 2 Aaron Lewis, 3 Kyle Fee (Black 60), 4 Grant Burns, 5 Sean Melvin, 6 Chris Beaton, 7 Scott Wilson, 8 Kerr Allan, 15 John Ferguson (Martin 67), 10 Mark Wilkie, 11 Rhys Craigie.  Subs: 12 Taylor Black, 14 Jack Combe, 9 James Hainey, 16 Lewis Martin, 17 Robbie Mason, 18 Daniel McKinlay, 19 Lewis Tracey.

Referee: Greig Haynes

Programme: £1.

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