Match report 21/8/14
Bathgate Thistle Sunday AFC 1 Armadale Rose FC 2
The local derby league match ended in a close victory for Armadale as Thistle’s quest for their first points of the season continued.
The game was in doubt prior to ko, due to a massive downpour which left both grass parks at Bathgate sports centre unplayable, however both teams were happy to move the game to our training ground at Boghall which was in great condition despite the weather and the match was able to kick off on time.
Our players were set up in a 3-5-2 formation with two wing-backs and the team found it difficult to adapt in the opening stages and could have been 2 or 3 down within 15mins as Armadale settled faster. The visitors were swarming around our back 3 and with runners from the middle not being tracked it was only down to poor finishing and 2 great saves from Broony that stopped us going behind. The 1st save from our keeper in the 1st couple of minutes was a real head turner, Armadale broke down the left and when the ball was fed into the middle into the run of their midfielder he took a touch before drilling a low effort towards the bottom corner but Broony somehow got his left foot to it and deflected it up onto the bar and away to safety.
Thistle were slowly getting into the game after the opening 15mins, our back three of Mark, Rab, and Callum were handling their opposing strikers well, with Rab sitting in to sweep behind the other two. As the half wore on it was apparent for both teams that the ref was making some very dubious decisions including awarding a goal for the visitors when their effort went high and wide of the goal, and this was only one of many strange decisions that were angering both sets of players.
Henney was doing his usual sterling job up front for Thistle and was winning every high ball despite the robust defending coming at him but we couldn’t get players around him to take advantage of this. Wardy had looked lively early on, as had Douglas who was making a trialist appearance in CM, and they both combined to set Oggi free down the left side, his deep cross was a great one for Henney to attack but his header went just wide and high of the goal. Sten had been throwing himself into countless challenges in the middle of the park through the 1st half and one foul too many saw him pick up a yellow for his troubles, but he continued to get in and about the action to his credit. One of the challenges that went unpunished saw Wardy having to be taken off with blood pouring from his nose, and despite the work being done on the sidelines he was unable to continue so John Scott took his place up front alongside Henney.
The game was scrappy at best as the half wore on, both sides were up for the fight and strong challenges were being smashed into all over the park as you would expect in a local derby match, but the ref didn’t take this into consideration and broke the flow up constantly by blowing for silly free kicks time and time again, the best chance of the half fell to Armadale when a quick break down the left ended with a great wee cross being floated towards the back post where their winger was waiting. Burny read the danger from his wing back role and bravely managed to get the last touch to put it out for a corner, their winger wasn’t so lucky though and had to be subbed off with a head knock.
H/T 0 – 0
With no changes being made at the break Thistle pushed forward in the opening exchanges in the 2nd period, we were getting some joy down the right side with John S doing well to hold the ball in for midfielders to come and take it short. The stalemate continued as both teams nullified each other out until around 10mins into the half when Armadale took the lead.
They did well to link up on the right hand side, they then fed it into the middle of the park around 25yds out, and with the space opening up their players hit a speculative effort high at goal which Broony could only palm into the top corner right next to the post for a vital lead for the visitors.
Despite only being one goal down it took Thistle a bit to try and make their bouts of possession count, and the line up was changed with Beano and Jonny coming on in midfield to try and push us forward. We were getting some joy with set piece efforts, both Rab and Henney were unlucky with headers, then Callum drove a low shot just wide of the far post from a free kick on the right side of the box. The half was wearing on now, and the visitors were being kept in it by their keeper who did well with a couple of long range efforts then made the save of the game from a header at goal via a corner kick that saw him get his hand to the ball high in the left of his goal to tip it over for another corner kick.
With Thistle throwing players forward we were caught on a break from one of our corners, Armadale broke quickly and with our regular RB up for the corner the covering Thistle player was caught out by a ball played down the channel behind him. The Rose striker sped in on goal and from around 15yds out to the left of goal he smashed a drilled left foot effort into the far bottom corner with Broony stranded on his line for 0-2 scoreline.
To our credit though we kept pushing forward, mostly down our right side and this won us several corners in a row which caused havoc in the Rose defence. Burny fired in a great cross from one of these on 88mins and Henney powered a header high into the top corner which, despite the efforts of their keeper, crossed the line before the keeper scooped it out with his left hand. The Rose players didn’t argue with the goal being awarded too much so it must have crossed the goal line and the goal was awarded to make it a nerve jangling 1-2 score with only minutes left. Another 3 or 4 corners were won as Thistle threw everything at Rose to get the equaliser, Rab got onto the end of a couple but his efforts were blocked and the other went over the bar, and with the time running out Rose managed to hang on for a 2-1 victory.
F/T 1 – 2
Subs – B. McDonald , J. Scott, J. Strange, J. Ward
MOTM – Callum McGregor