Penicuik Athletic 1-1 Musselburgh Athletic
By Kenneth Scott
Burgh draw at Conference A champs
Final league match of the season for both teams. Win or draw for Penicuik and they would be Conference A winners. However, a win for Musselburgh, coupled by a win for Hill Of Beath, at Easthouses and the title would go to the Fife team - definitely all to play for.
On the hottest day of 2019, Musselburgh made one change from Wednesday’s match at Peebles, with Ally Adams back in the side instead of Jack Stewart.
First main chance of the match fell to Nathan Evans. On 4 minutes, he received the ball on the right hand side of the box, but his shot failed to hit the target. Match was played at a high tempo right from the start, with ball going end to end. In 10 minutes, Stevenson ran down the right wing. His cross came to the centre forward, McIntosh, but his shot went straight to Ally Adams.
In the next attack,the ball moved up towards the Penicuik goal area. A weak clearance saw Liam Gregory collect the ball. His cross found Mathu King, but his header was easily saved by watt.
On 12 minutes, Penicuik on the attack and a cross on the right wing by Caddow, found Ponton but Ally Adams saved the shot. Five minutes later, Michael Deland was fouled by Young. Conor Thomson’s free kick was deflected out for a corner. Ball was played short to Liam Gregory, who floated the ball to the far side. Michael Deland aimed for the net, but ball went sky high and out the ground.
With 27 minutes played, ball was deep in the Penicuik half. Nathan Evans dispossessed Stevenson of the ball and played it back to Liam Gregory. Mathu King was screaming for the ball, in the box, but Liam Gregory chose to pass to Jackie Myles, but another shot left the ground and score remained 0-0.
Good play by Penicuik on the half hour with Ponton, Jones and Baptie involved. The cross was met at the far post by Caddow but Ally Adams was first to the ball and the danger was cleared. A couple of minutes later, Stevenson punted the ball up the pitch for the home side. McIntosh past by Michael Deland and his shot came off Ally Adams and back into open play. As both teams contested the ball, it went out for a corner to Penicuik which came to nothing.
Another couple of chances came and went for both teams, but players went in at half time with score 0-0. Up at Easthouses, they were holding Hill of Beath to a 1-1 draw after 45 minutes.
Into the second half; on 53 minutes, a Penicuik shot was just cleared off the Burgh goal line. A number of home supporters in the main terracing shouted that the ball had gone over but play moved on.
First goal of match came in 56 minutes. A pass from Liam Reid was kicked up field by Michael Deland. Young was fooled by the bounce and the ball went over his head. Mathu King chased ball to the edge of the box and squared it to Nathan Evans, who laid ball back to Jackie Myles. His shot evaded Watt’s diving effort and Musselburgh were 1-0 up.
Penicuik made the first substitution at that point, with Caddow replaced by Simpson. On 59 minutes, as Penicuik looked for the equaliser, McCrory-Irving’s shot went over the bar.
Liam Gregory was substituted with Burgh’s Jack Gillan coming on. Five minutes later, Penicuik’s second substitute saw Somerville come on for Ponton in 66 minutes. Shortly after, Burgh were again on the attack, with Michel Deland’s shot kicked out for a corner. As it came over, Page rose to header ball out for another corner, but his heart must have missed a beat as it was close to being an own goal.
On 71 minutes, Liam Reid received a needless yellow card for kicking the ball away after the whistle blew for a free kick to Penicuik.
Even in the intense heat, the match was a great advert for the East of Scotland league, with ball going from end to end. On 72 minutes, Mathu King had the ball in the Penicuik area. What appeared to be a fair challenge on the keeper, Watt, was not what the linesman thought and from his signal, referee blew for a free kick for the home side. Penicuik went straight on the attack and Ally Adams made the save of the match, turning the ball round for a corner and keeping his team in the lead.
Liam Reid was awarded his second yellow of the match following an aerial challenge on McIntosh and for the remaining 17 minutes of the match, Musselburgh would play with 10 men. This saw Mathu King move to centre back. Scott McNaughton was next in the book for a foul on a Penicuik player.
With 12 minutes remaining, Penicuik had a throw in on the left wing. As it came into the box, McIntosh collected the ball and set up McCrory-Irving, who past Conor Thomson before stroking ball into the net for the equaliser.
From the kick off, Conor Thomson moved up field and was brought down by the Penicuik goalscorer. Conor’s free kick found Mathu King, who turned round towards the goals, but his shot went wide of the post.
Ten minutes remaining and Burgh’s second sub saw Ewan Ralton replace Scott McNaughton. With match in last five minutes Penicuik had a corner. Ball went over to the far side and Connolly had a great chance to win the match, but his shot (easier to score) went across the goal area and cleared from the Burgh box.
Into injury time and McIntosh played ball out wide to Somerville. He ran into the box and returned the ball to the centre forward, but McIntosh’s shot was saved by the legs of Ally Adams.
Full time whistle and with score 1-1, the conference winners were Penicuik. With Hill of Beath beating Easthouses away, the Fife side finished on 62 points. Penicuik’s draw, saw them finish with 63 points. With only losing one league match all season, Penicuik were entitled to celebrate as worthy Conference A winners.
Musselburgh’s performance with the 1-1 draw was outstanding, particularly following two earlier defeats in the season by Penicuik. Burgh lost 4-0 in the Qualifying Cup - round 2; and a 5-0 hammering in the first league match, in early October 18. For that, the supporter club’s man of match should be awarded to all the players and for the management team team who got the tactics spot on! As said by another Musselburgh supporter, when Penicuik drew level, even with 10 men, Burgh still went looking for the winner. Supporters will be rightfully proud of their team after that performance and for finishing in third place in Conference A.