Bathgate Thistle 6 v 5 Victoria

Saturday 25 April – League Cup Quarter Final – Bathgate Sports Centre

Starting Line Up; Jake, Leon, James, Ross, Sean, David, Sam, Scott, Aidan, Bally, Bailey. Subs; Harry, Elliot

It’s feeling rather fresh this morning in contrast to the warm weather earlier in the week. The good news is that some overnight rain has softened the dry and bumpy surface we saw in Wednesday’s game. Thistle are missing Lewis and Connor for today’s match but welcome back Scott

True to recent form, Bathgate open the scoring within the first minute, Leon makes space for himself out of the left wing and strikes a long range shot across the keeper and into the opposite corner of the net, it’s a beautiful finish and Bathgate are off to a flying start.

Victoria get back on even terms after 6 minutes, Jake can only parry a shot which unluckily falls straight to a Victoria player who scores. Bathgate Thistle 1 v 1 Victoria. Bathgate respond immediately from the kick off, a long ball is played out of defence and Bailey holds off a challenge and runs through to score. One of the Victoria coaches isn’t happy about an infringement, but the referee was close to the play and allows it to stand.

It’s a fast flowing game, both sides are trying to pass and although Bathgate are on top, we’re seeing play swinging from end to end. Victoria go close, their striker rounds Jake at the edge of the 6 yard box but can’t find a finish, Then Aidan goes close with a strike at the other end as do both Sam and Bailey.

Bailey gets his second goal of the game on 23 minutes with a stunning turn and strike at the edge of the box. The ball rockets into the top left hand corner to make it Bathgate Thistle 3 v 1 Victoria. Bathgate are now continually pressing Victoria high up the pitch and all the action is in the opponent’s half of the pitch.

Bathgate give away a free kick on the left edge of the box and it’s lofted into the goalmouth. There’s some head tennis until the ball falls at the feet of a Victoria player who strokes it home. Victoria are being resilient and proving difficult to finish off. The sides go in at half time with the score Bathgate Thistle 3 v 2 Victoria.

Thistle restore their 2 goal advantage when Bailey nets for his hat trick, a neat one-two at the edge of the box allows him an opportunity and he finishes expertly to make it 4-2. There’s been some outstanding finishing on display so far, but the next goal is probably the best so far, the Victoria left back pushes forward and makes space on the left wing, he takes his time to line up a high looping shot which hits the postage stamp between the bar and post on the opposite side. It’s a great finish and Victoria are back in it 4-3.

Bally’s been showing some great footwork in the centre of midfield in his playmaker role, but he goes off on a run down the right wing, beats a couple of players and fires in a low hard cross. The Victoria defender, under close pressure from Aidan deflects the ball into his own net to make it 5-3.

Just past the hour mark, the game then sees a frenzy of goals in a short 3 minute period. Victoria score twice in a minute to level the match at 5-5. As a result they’ve found new energy and are pushing for a victory. The match could go either way, but up steps Bailey to win the ball in the box after a good old scramble for the ball and he is able to smash it home to make it Bathgate Thistle 6 v 5 Victoria.

It’s been a great match with a nail biter of an ending.  Bathgate had their noses in front for most of the game but just weren’t able to close it out. Thistle march on to the semi final but Victoria put up a great fight and we need to recognise them for their resilience

It’s back to league duty on Monday 27th April with a game against Blackburn United.

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