WEST LOTHIAN YOUTH LEAGUE: Sunday 28 February, 2016, Fauldhouse Community Complex
Bailey’s performance shone as bright as the winter sunshine as Bathgate Thistle started 2016 with an impressive 5-3 win over Broxburn Athletic United. The striker was in rampant form with four superbly executed goals in a performance which showcased much of Bathgate’s slick passing football.
Indeed, had it not been for the Broxburn goalkeeper Calum, this victory would have been much more convincing for the hosts. They dominated possession on the new 3G surface in Fauldhouse and were repeatedly denied in the first half by Calum’s excellent goalkeeping.
Midfielder Darren opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark with a looping effort from the edge of the penalty area. Broxburn recovered quickly to equalise before the interval, thus ensuring a tense second half.
Bathgate continued to fashion chances but Calum again denied Bailey, Jay and Billy in quick succession. The visitors had been under pressure and tried to attack on the break, although Sean, James, Leon and Ross were well organised in the home defence. United managed a successful counter-attack to go 2-1 ahead with a low finish into the corner of the net.
At that point, Bathgate looked a little stunned but they weren’t to be deterred. Bailey equalised with a precise low finish into the corner. Minutes later, he struck again to put his team 3-2 ahead. To complete his hat-trick, the forward showed impressive footwork to dance past three opponents and slot the ball into the Broxburn net from 12 yards.
Broxburn reduced the deficit to 4-3 with ten minutes remaining – a high effort from outside the penalty box beating John in the Bathgate goal. To eliminate doubt, Bailey struck again with Bathgate’s fifth goal of an enjoyable afternoon.
The three points propelled Bathgate above Broxburn into fourth place in the league and, after a winter full of postponements, those in blue were happy to start building momentum for the second half of the campaign.