Bathgate faced a replayed 3rd round Centenary Cup tie against fellow Premier 2 side Edinburgh University following their excellent win in the Miller Cup the week before. The match before Christmas had been abandoned due to extreme wind conditions a few minutes into the second half with the score 0-0, the wind so bad the game had to be stopped at one point to retrieve the goals and put them back in the proper position. Thankfully this match was in far calmer conditions on a pitch that was in excellent condition, Bathgate shuffled their pack with a couple of absentee’s from the week before and started the game in relatively low key fashion.
Edinburgh seemed to settle into a passing rhythm quicker and were on the front foot as a result but their passing was only getting them so far with the Thistle defence and midfield coping well with their attacks. It was in fact Bathgate who threatened first when a McMahon corner was met on the run by Pettigrew, his header looked net bound only to strike his marker on the back of the head and deflect out for another corner but this time Pettigrew only just failed to meet the ball in the 6 yard box. McMahon then slashed a shot wide from 20 yards with space and time before Clark looked lively twice cutting out crosses from Edinburgh’s left hand side.
With not a lot in the way of chances Bathgate’s goal seemed to come from nowhere Mahon winning a challenge in his own half and playing the ball to Welsh, Blair sent a ball forward to McCraw about 10 yards inside the Edinburgh half, Euan held off his marker before turning inside and playing a through ball for Lewis making a run from left to centre, the defender looked to be reaching the ball but missed it, allowing Lewis to take control, round the keeper and touch, touch, touch the ball into the net for his second goal in two games. This could have been two shortly after when McTaggart made a forceful run down the left, as he got to the bye-line his cross was blocked, still on the move Callum got to the ball first and from a tight angle forced the keeper to make a save at his near post at the expense of a corner.
Bathgate were still struggling to find any passing rhythm and this was allowing Edinburgh to get the ball back when they should have been chasing. On one occasion out on Bathgate’s left hand side a stray pass was pounced on by the Edinburgh midfield and two passes later their wide midfielder was in on Clark in the left channel of the box, Clark though was off his line sharp taking the wide man by surprise who tried to lift it over him only for Clark to block with his chest. Two minutes before half time Love was on the end of a bad challenge that left stud marks from thigh to knee, not even receiving a free kick added insult to injury as Love was replaced moments into the second half but not before he helped fashion Bathgate’s best move of the half when passing between Pettigrew, Love, McMahon and Smith found McCraw on the edge of the box, Euan slipped it into the box for the on running Lewis who took a good touch but then failed to shoot, turning back and lying it off to Pettigrew who blazed over the bar. Half Time 1-0.
The second half was a carbon copy of the first with Edinburgh having the better possession without causing many problems in or around the Bathgate box. Smith and Lewis were working hard to stop moves getting too far forward with Clark being protected well by those in front of him. In fact for the possession it was Bathgate who should have scored, the first chance was a free header glanced wide by Lewis from a McMahon free kick and then pressure on the Edinburgh defence saw McCraw win the ball on the edge of the box as he made his way into the box and looked to play in Smith who was free, Euan unfortunately slipped losing the opening and allowing the defender to get back at him.
In the final 10 minutes Edinburgh carved out a chance when a ball from their left was played low into the box, the advancing midfielder blazing over from 12 yards under pressure from Park and McKie. That was the last chance of the match as Bathgate progressed to the 4th round.