Bathgate Thistle 3 v 2 Petersburn
Saturday 2 May – WLAYFA League Cup Semi Final – Bathgate Sports Centre
Starting Line Up; Jake, Leon, Ross, Sean, David, Scott, Sam, Bally, Connor, Aidan, Bailey. Subs; Harry, Elliot, Lewis
It’s a break from the league programme today and back to cup duty. Petersburn are tough opponents, the blues had a convincing win against them a few weeks back but that’s been the exception rather than the rule in recent encounters. James is missing from the Bathgate squad, but otherwise it is a full roster.
Petersburn go close within the first couple of minutes, breaking down the left the striker cuts inside and shoots across the goal, going very close. Already we can see that Peterburn are going to be tougher opponents today. On 9 minutes Bally flights in a beautifully weighted corner, it almost goes straight in but flashes across goal and is missed by everyone. It’s headed back in and Aidan is able to get a foot to it to stab the ball over the line. Bathgate Thistle 1 v 0 Petersburn.
Sean goes very close on 20 minutes. It’s another well executed Bally corner, Sean gets his head to it but the keeper pulls off a stunning close range save. The rebound is fired back into the goalmouth and it starts an almighty scramble, but the ball just won’t go in. Petersburn are being restricted to counter attacks which they are initiating down the left hand side but David, Leon, Sean and Ross are anticipating the game well and closing out the chances. Bathgate make a tactical change and swap out Scott with Lewis
There’s a bad injury in the 30th minute. The Petersburn defender slides in successfully on Connor who was surging into the box. He doesn’t get up, and first aid support from both teams go on to assist him. There’s a deep cut on his knee that’s going to require hospital treatment. Connor was a stand out in the last game and Petersburn are marking him very closely today, often doubling up to close him down
The sides go in at half time with Bathgate up by a single goal.
Similar to the last game Petersburn start the second half the stronger team, their pressure pays off and they pull level. The number 6 rounds Jake who has rushed off his line. He scores from a tight angle. There was a shout for offside, but the ref is clear that the scorer was on side when the pass was played. Bathgate Thistle 1 v 1 Petersburn. That goal has re invigorated Petersburn, they’ve got renewed energy both sides are challenging fiercely for every ball but the match is being played in great spirit. Thistle’s playmaker Bally is in great form and is showing some lovely footwork
Leon goes on a run and beats several players snaking his way toward goal, he unleashes a low hard shot, which beats the keeper, but it comes back off the post. Who else but Bailey is on hand to smash it home. Bathgate Thistle 2 v 1 Petersburn. There’s was huge cheer as that one went in, well done Leon.
Petersburn put the pressure on to get back into this and win a corner. Number 17 gets his head to the ball inside the six yard box, he directs it to the back post and number 7 prods it home. Petersburn are back in this. Bathgate Thistle 2 v 2 Petersburn. It’s all Petersburn now and they’re penning Bathgate in their own half. Frequent attacks down either side are being closed down by Lewis and Connor. A great pass and blind side run nearly results in a goal but Jake anticipates it and is quick off his line to clear.
Elliot and Harry come on as subs. Elliot is in action immediately and comes off worse after a heavy challenge. Petersburn then miss a great chance when a header by number 17 just goes by the post. Connor also goes close with a header which is cleared off the line
Bathgate leave the best till last though, Harry drops back to pick up a loose ball in midfield. He passes to Connor who strides off down the left wing, Baillie and Harry get into the box and Connor sends in a great cross, which Baillie gets on to the end of and finishes. Bathgate Thistle 3 v 2 Petersburn. There’s another massive cheer, but the final few minutes prove to be nail-biting as play is end to end. There’s a huge sense of relief as the final whistle sounds and Bathgate are through to their second cup final. Petersburn probably edged the second half but clinical finishing secured the result for Bathgate. What a great team performance