Bathgate Thistle 2 – 2 Forth Community Amateurs
Bathgate finally started their league season with a home game against Forth Community Amateurs. The later start to the season meant that Thistle were still in the grip of suspensions being served and 4 players having to sit out the match. With that and the new faces on board, it was a much-changed team from the previous season.
The match started in a cagey fashion with few clear cut chances for either side. The closest chance falling to Forth with a break forward which resulted in their striker knocking a shot onto the outside of the post and wide. Bathgate were to go a goal down soon after with a poor touch from David Bell allowing the Forth midfielder to steal the ball and drive forward before playing into one of their strikers to drive the pall past Gordon Clark. It was to get worse a short time later when a through ball from the Forth No.8 saw Scott Nisbet in a chase with the sttacker. Nisbet was able to get to the ball first but his attempted pass-back to Clark was too short and again allowed Forth to get in on goal and slot away to make it 2-0.
Chances were few and far between for Bathgate in the first half and the closest probably fell to Marc Williamson when the ball broke kindly to him but could only screw the shot wide under pressure from defenders.
The 2nd half got underway with the Thistle players ears ringing after a half-time dressing down. This appeared to have a good effect as Bathgate were able to use the ball much better than they had been in the first period. Chances were now starting to be carved out and Dougie Pettigrew was unlucky to not pull a goal back when a break from the left saw the ball driven towards goal and arrive at him at an awkward height where he could only chest it just wide. The first goal of Bathgate’s season came shortly after for Marc Williamson on his competitive debut. A corner cleared by Forth made its way back into their box and eventually fell nicely for Williamson to drive the ball high into the opposite corner of the net from about 8 yards out. The equaliser arrived when another drive into the Forth area by Pettigrew saw him use great strength to break about 3 tackles and stab the ball past defenders and keepers into the bottom corner.
No further goals arrived in the match but Bathgate had one good appeal for a penalty when the referee adjudged the Forth defender to use his hand to block a through ball. While the Bathgate players were adamant this took place inside the box, the referee was only willing to award a free-kick on the edge of the area. Despite pushing hard and looking the fitter of the two teams, Bathgate were unable to get their first three points of the season on the board.