After our pre season ended we kicked off our campaign with a tricky home tie v Alnwickhill FC at a very windy Bathgate Sports Centre.
The match kicked off with the wind swirling down the park and we were it didn’t help us get the right balance on our passing, with several good chances being lost due to the ball carrying through to their keeper due to the blowy conditions. It was the visitors who had the best clear cut efforts in the opening 15mins but they failed to make them count with Jonny doing well to dive on a scramble in the 6yd area with their striker ready to pounce.
Alnwick were showing a steely determination to win the ball and this spilled over a few times with meaty challenges leaving our players protesting to the ref and it was from one of these challenges that saw us take the lead on 20min. Burny tried to spin his marker and was ploughed through the back around 25yards out in line with the edge of the 18yd box, Oggi stepped up and drove a low effort into the area which was cut out by their CB and into the bottom corner for the opening goal of the game.
The equaliser was on the cards for the next 10mins as they missed several chances before a quick cut back after Jonny saved the initial shot left their striker with a tap in from 4yds to make it 1-1. Thistle were looking shaky at the back but we were cutting into them up top and both Wardy and Burny were finding space and time to collect the ball and drive at their opponents, and with barely 10mins left in the half Wardy scored a fine individual goal from 18yrds to put us back in the lead which stayed intact until the half time whistle. H/T 2-1 The 2nd half was barely 10mins old when prolonged pressure from Thistle should have seen us go 3-1 up, Joe played a lovely cross into the box but Rab saw his header fly just past the post, then 2mins later a sliding challenge from him gave them a free kick around 20yds out.
Mac bravely stood his ground but took the effort from the dead ball straight to his face and despite going down dazed the ref played on and with our players stopping they smashed a screamer into the top bag from 18yrds to get it back all square at 2-2 and shortly after this Mac was replaced due to the head knock. It was then a bad 20mins from the Thistle defence after a change saw young Jordan go into the RB slot to allow Beano to come on and in he was lost in the unfamiliar position for 15mins with 3 goals being created down that side in quick succession and the scoreline soon became 2-5. Skin replaced Jordan at RB but the damage was done by then, we continued to create chances though, Oggi had an effort saved, Wardy had a couple of chances, Beano had a shot blocked on route to goal, and Burny could have snatched a couple with two chances when he was racing in on goal.
The action ended with Burny getting his goal finally after good work from Wardy saw the cut back reach Burny on the edge of the 6yd box for a low finish to make the final score a disappointing 3-5 to Alnwickhill. We now move onto the next game on Thursday, a massive home derby v Armadale which is now a must win match.
J. Ward Stevie Rab Callum McT Craig O’C Jordan Joe Mac Kle Grant Craig B M. Ward
M.O.T.M – M. Ward