Bathgate Thistle made it four games unbeaten with a comprehensive win over Dundee Violet in the McBookie.com East Premier League. The visitors sat bottom of the league before kick off.
This match kicked off with beautiful blue skies overhead at Creamery Park. Jags manager Andrew Colley made one change to the side that gained a draw away to Tayport in his sides previous match with Sid Easton coming in to replace David Taylor who was unavailable.
Both sides were evenly matched in the very early stages of the game but it wasn’t long before the home side began to take a grip of the match with most of the possession and territory. Bathgate were passing the ball quickly with intent and Violet were struggling to get into the game.
An early chance came when Stuart McLeod and George Bonnar played a neat give and go on the right side of midfield and when Bonnar sent the ball in low from the right touchline Feeney wasn’t far away from prodding the ball into the net.
Darren Dalrymple was a constant threat on the left side of midfield. Iain Griffin, excelling again at right back, was finding him regularly with crossfield balls and his close control and strong running was causing all sorts of problems for the visiting full back.
Bathgate should have taken the lead when Reece Boyle delivered an excellent ball into the box but McLeod tried a glancing header when a stronger contact was required and the ball went wide of the post. By now Bathgate were well on top and the blue skies had given way to fog which was getting thicker all the time.
A free kick, given for a bad challenge on Jamie Clark, was delivered into the box by McLeod. The visiting defence could only clear it to the edge of the area where Dalrymple was waiting but he pulled his shot wide of the left hand post.
Home keeper Michael Watson had to be alert when a speculative cross from the right of midfield dropped onto the top of his net and shortly afterwards a long range shot dipped dangerously over the bar but the Violet chances were few and far between.
As half time was approaching the home fans were beginning to question if their sides domination would be rewarded with an interval lead. They were answered when McLeod picked up the ball after a strong Bonnar tackle just inside the halfway line and played a first time ball to Dalrymple on the left wing. He carried the ball to the edge of the box, cut inside on his right foot and drove the ball into the Violet net at the near post. 1-0
It could have been two moments later when McLeod and Feeney played a delightful one two that cut the defence open but Feeney couldnt provide the finish that the move deserved. Easton then came close with a powerfully hit strike from well outside the box. HT 1-0
Bathgate started the second half in dominant fashion and didn’t take long to threaten. A corner was swung in from the right that Hassan Nyang rose powerfully to meet at the back post but his effort went wide. Shortly after though the ball was in the net. Boyle chested the ball down in midfield and played an excellent ball up the channel which Feeney chased and when he found himself one on one with a defender on the edge of the box he impudently touched the ball past him to leave him in a dangerous position on the touchline. He produced an exquisite finish to lift the ball over the keeper from a tight angle and into the goal via the underside of the bar. 2-0
Easton played a defence splitting pass for Reece Boyle who made a great run into the box but the midfielder couldn’t make it three. Dundee Violet then had their best spell of the match as they managed to apply some pressure in an effort to get back into the game. A long free kick to the back post was partially cleared by Nyang. The ball was picked up by a Violet midfielder who put a dangerous cross into the box that Watson punched. The ball went straight to an attacking player and his shot was screwed across the face of goal only to be prodded into the net by an outstretched Violet foot. It was a poor goal to lose from the home side and Andrew Colley was furious at the loss of the clean sheet. 2-1
To the home sides credit they did not allow this setback to knock them off their stride. Bonnar, who was having a great game in the right of midfield, linked well with McLeod to get a dangerous cross in but Feeney missed by inches. Seconds later, a dangerous corner was met by the in-form striker but his hooked volley missed by the smallest of margins.
The two goal lead was restored when Dalrymple won the ball off a Violet defender and charged towards the box. He let fly from 20 yards and although the keeper managed to get a hand to it he was unable to stop the momentum of the ball and it nestled in the net to give the gifted midfielder his fourth goal in three games. 3-1
Dundee Violet were struggling to stay in the match but did come close with a header from an excellent delivery. It came as no surprise though when Bathgate scored a third. What did come as surprise was the scorer. George Bonnar, who has performed brilliantly in defence this season, made the most of his midfield berth and when a fine move saw Feeney receive the ball on the penalty spot with his back to goal Bonnar arrived into the box to receive the lay off; passing the ball into the far corner of the net with his left foot. 4-1
The fifth goal arrived when Feeney picked up the ball on the edge of the area and managed to get past three defenders before calmly stroking the ball past the keeper for his 17th goal of a very fruitful season so far. 5-1
Feeney almost made it a hat trick when he forced a fine save from a free kick in the dying moments of the match but by then the game was already well won. It was a thoroughly dominant display in all areas of the park and one that lifted The Jags into fifth position in the league. 5-1 FT
Highlights from the match are available in the ThistleTV section of the website