WEST LOTHIAN YOUTH LEAGUE: Sunday 11 September, 2016, Bathgate Sports Centre
Bailey surpassed the 100-goal mark for Bathgate Thistle with a hat-trick in a stirring victory over Gairdoch United. The striker was at his predatory best in a game which saw the home side create a flurry of chances and convert them with aplomb.
Leading 5-1 midway through the second half, Thistle relaxed a little too much and conceded two late goals. However, there was no denying that the quality of their performance more than merited the win.
Bailey kicked things off by breaking the deadlock on 22 minutes. A through ball from David found the forward galloping through between two centre-backs for a composed finish beyond the emerging Gairdoch goalkeeper.
United responded quickly, and equalised with a shot from distance which nestled in the corner of the net. Bathgate looked a little stunned but fashioned a beautiful second goal minutes from half-time.
Leon linked up with Billy and Bailey and sprinted into the opposition penalty area before calmly converting a cross from around eight yards. That gave Thistle the advantage at the interval.
They increased their lead within minutes of the restart with a driven shot from Billy which left the Gairdoch keeper helpless. Bailey claimed the fourth and then profited from a goalkeeping error to put Bathgate 5-1 up – his 100th and 101st goals for the club.
Defensively, Kieran, Darren, Matty, Leon, James and David had all been excellent, assisted by Barry in goal. Craig, Sam, Dylan, Ross and Keeto worked tirelessly in midfield, as did Elliott down the right.
No-one could prevent Gairdoch reducing the deficit to 5-3 before full-time, though. One of the visitors’ goals was a brilliantly-executed overhead kick, but it was too little too late in the end.