Bathgate returned to league action after a 3 month absence and hosted Penicuik in the Premier 2 match. With both teams sitting on the same number of points a tight match was anticipated and that is exactly the way it turned out. Bathgate making one change to the team who won at Crammond started the game slowly with Penicuik making most of the early play. Penicuik were creating openings but Bathgate were repelling shots from in and around the box before Penicuik made two very good chances to open the scoring. The first was created when a raking pass from midfield sent the right wing back scampering in behind the Bathgate defence, he took a touch and crossed to the centre forward who was beyond the Bathgate defence, Clark in the Bathgate goal managed a block on the ball and as it spun towards goal McMahon was on hand to clear.
The second chance came from a free kick on the Penicuik left, which was played to the back post and contested well, so much so that the ball simply dropped into the six yard box, Pettigrew blocking an attempted shot before Nisbet cleared. The second chance seemed to waken Bathgate up and they began to use the space available down both right and left wings which allowed Neil and McCraw to get involved in the match. On the half hour mark Neil Davey made a surging run into the Penicuik box only to see his shot blocked from 8 yards, then Pettigrew could only scoop a ball straight at the keeper from a Nisbet corner from inside the 6 yard box, Coulter then missed the ball when free in the box from a Mahon free kick when any headed contact would have seen an opening goal.
With the tide turning towards the end of the first half towards Bathgate they took the lead on 40 minutes, a pass from Neil found McCraw who forced his way into the box before his shot was blocked, the ball went out for a throw near the corner flag, Coulter took the throw to Welsh who laid it back and Coulter’s cross was met on the volley by Neil who steered his shot low into the corner away from the Penicuik keeper.
Bathgate failed to make the most of a final opening at the end of the half and went in 1-0 up at half time.
The second half started even with neither side carving anything clear cut before Penicuik equalised 8 minutes into the second half. A ball played into the air across the edge of the Bathgate box was flicked on by one striker to the other, who on finding space made no mistake slotting into the corner past Clark from 12 yards. Coulter who was marking the goal scorer had come in for the high ball and left his man free to take advantage of the space when the ball arrived via the flick on.
Penicuik were keeping the ball better than Bathgate for longer spells after the equaliser but failing to create any openings, in fact Clark coming out of his box and clearing with his feet were the only real things he had to do until Penicuik struck on the break. A loose pass inside, on the edge of the Penicuik box by Bathgate, saw a break and overload on their right, as Penicuik reached the edge of the Bathgate box a one-two was played releasing the forward who on the right hand side finished low past the advancing Clark.
This was a body blow to Bathgate who had created two clear cut chances prior to the goal, the first when the keeper was beaten to the ball in the box, the ball was cut back to McTaggart who took a touch when a first time shot was needed, his shot was blocked before the loose ball was worked to Pettigrew who again had his shot blocked with McTaggart getting onto the loose ball in the 6 yard box only for the keeper to smother before he got to finish. The second chance was created when McTaggart was played in on the right hand side by Love, his first time cross across the edge of the box was met on the run by Neil, Mark’s touch taking him past the advancing keeper and the ball, unfortunately for Bathgate, past the post.
The final 15 minutes were frantic as Bathgate looked for an equaliser that did not come in the end as Penicuik ran out 2-1 winners.
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