Scottish Cup action away to Oxgangs, 28 Sep 2014.

Starting team: Ciaran, Graham, Luke, Callum S, Adam, Nathan, Aidan, Jack, Callum G, Owen T and Lewis.

After last weeks’ hard fought league game away to Whitburn, the boys were looking forward to another away game at Oxgangs, this time in the Scottish.

Some early Bathgate pressure by Nathan through the right midfield allowed Jack to release Callum G down the right wing. Callum G ran at the left defence and won an early corner.

In the fourth minute, Aidan kept the pressure on the Oxgangs defence by releasing Lewis down the left. Lewis, looking like he’s enjoying his football, took on the defender. Leaving the defender standing, Lewis neatly knocked the ball on for Nathan, who took it in his stride and passed to Owen T. The ever eager Owen T cut inside and thundered in a right foot shot just sliding past the keepers left post.

Another clever run from Owen T in the 10th minute won a corner on the right. Aidan, taking the corner, noticed Graham unmarked around 10 yds from the corner of the box. Aidan quickly took a short corner which Graham gathered then let fly from 20 yds. However,  a loud groan from Graham confirmed the ball had narrowly missed the goals and had flew inches over the bar.

Bathgate’s building from the back brought more pressure onto the Oxgangs defence in 12 minutes. Ciaran, looking assured in goal, slipped the ball to Callum S just on the 18 yd box. Callum S calmly crossed the ball over to Adam on the left touchline. Adam cut a cute ball inside to Luke in the centre of the park. Luke looked around and noticed Callum G running just  to his left. Callum G then ran at the defence. However his low and hard shot was saved well by the keeper.

The thirteenth minute brought the first fright to the Bathgate boys. A free kick from the right was quickly taken and the shot from 20 yds thumped off the bar and out to Graham who cleared.

The game had become another hard fought midfield battle, however, the break through came in 23 minutes.

Nathan neatly knocked the ball to Adam, who was onto the ball in an instant. Lewis picked up Adam’s inch perfect pass and shot at goal. The keeper parried out and Callum G collected the loose ball and thundered the ball into the net for 0 – 1.

The first goal gave the Bathgate boys the belief in themselves they needed. Constant pressure from all areas of the team was further rewarded in the 29th minute.

Jack, who had shown some strong challenges in midfield, struck a sublime pass to Lewis in the centre of the midfield. Lewis strode forward and flicked the ball to Aidan who was just to his right. The hard-working Aidan gathered the ball before releasing a shot which fell to Jamie, running in from the right. Jamie, just on seconds earlier, found the net with his first touch! 0 – 2

A minute later, from the left side, Adam crossed into the centre. Lewis, under strong pressure in the centre of the box, hit a neat head flick to the net which beats the keeper and it’s 0 – 3.

Two minutes later Jamie, on the right, found Owen T in midfield. Owen T released Shea, who spotted Callum G on the right wing. Callum G, never one to hold back, ran straight at the keeper and tucked away another for 0 – 4.

Luke, who was winning any loose balls at the back, took a run forward from the 18 yd box. He kept running towards the Oxgangs 18 yd box and let fly from 20 yds. Unfortunately, the ball sailed over the bar and the half time whistle blew seconds later.

HT 0 – 4

The last two games had produced early second half goals for the Bathgate boys. However, the tables were turned this time, as Oxgangs ran up the right wing from the kick off. The winger crossed the ball into the box and to his surprise, and everyone else too, the ball landed in the back of the net for 1 – 4.

This surprise spurred the Bathgate boys into top gear. A minute later, Callum G released Shea through the centre. Shea shot forward, taking on several defenders, then shot into the net for 1 – 5.

In the 5th minute, Owen S, who was running selflessly and tirelessly, released Jamie on his right. Jamie, who was taking the game to Oxgangs, ran into the penalty box and was upended by a desperate defender. Jamie, picked himself up and calmly knocked his spot kick to the right of the keeper for 1 – 6.

Aidan, who had ran tirelessly throughout the game, ran right through the defence and sent Shea free on the left. Shea, strong and sure, struck a fine shot to the keepers left for 1 – 7.

In the 12th minute, Daniel – just on for Ciaran – gathered the ball in the box. He released Jack in the centre of midfield. Jack, passed to Owen S who was just on the right side of the 18yd box. Owen S looked up, spotted the goalie at the near post, then struck the ball across the face of the goal. The ball unbelievably hit the inside of the keepers right post and landed in his arms.

The 13th minute was unlucky for Jamie. His hat trick was denied as his tap-in was ruled out for off side!

Nathan took on the defence in the 15th minute and ran straight towards goal. He was bundled over in the box and the second penalty of the match was awarded. Nathan, as Jamie had done earlier, picked himself up and took the spot kick himself. This time the ball was thundered through the centre of goal for 1 – 8.

Aidan and Jack had been combining well throughout the game. In the 17th minute they combined through the centre of midfield. Aidan slid a perfect ball through the centre of the Oxgangs defence. Jack turned, leaving two opponents floundering, and slid a fine ball into the net for 1 – 9.

It was one way traffic for most of the second half. However, the odd time the Oxgangs forwards did break through, Callum M and the other defenders were showing some strong challenges and stopping the few attacks coming their way.

In 29 minutes, Shea found space on the left and released Owen T through the centre. Owen T gratefully accepted the ball and ran through to score at the bottom left of the net for 1 – 10.

In the final minute Callum S, who had been given a forward role for the final ten minutes, ran through the left midfield and showed he’s not only an excellent defender. His fine forward run was completed by a goal any natural striker would have been proud of; 1 -11.

Another strong all round team performance which the boys, coaches and parents should enjoy, at least until the next game at Hutchie Vale next Sunday!

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