Burgh into the Final
By Kenneth Scott
Musselburgh Athletic 1-0 Jeanfield Swifts
Third League cup tie in eight days! Following wins at Olivebank over Hill of Beath; then Camelon; Jeanfield were the next visitors to Olivebank. The quirks of this was; not only was this a third round but also a semi-final!
Burgh last met Jeanfield two seasons ago. A loss up at Jeanfield, saw Musselburgh relegated, from the Junior Super League. A 9-1 victory, in a cup tie at Olivebank soon after, for Musselburgh against the same team was no consolation to the East Lothian side.
This season, Musselburgh finished 3rd in Conference A. If Jeanfield win next week in their final league match against Ormiston, they will finish 3rd in Conference C. As such another close match was anticipated.
For the first time since 2 March, Musselburgh fielded the same starting line up for the second game in a row. Kick off at 14:34.
As with the tie with Camelon on Tuesday night, although both teams were out of the blocks quickly, no shots were on target in the first 10 minutes of match. Then, Jeanfield had a chance.
Fergus played ball towards the by-line and the no. 2, Reid, attempted to cross the ball over to Davis. However, the ball went over his head and Liam Gregory got the ball and passed it upfield where Nathan Evans was waiting. With Whitehead approaching, Nathan Evans’ quick movement found himself in the open and ball was floated towards the Jeanfield goal area. Up stepped Mathu King and one touch later, the ball was lobbed over the keeper Mitchell. Even before the ball crossed the goal line, the home support was already clapping and cheering. Mathu King, turned and ran towards the supporters, happy as Larry, and Musselburgh were one nil up.
A couple of minutes later Conor Thomson was heading towards the Jeanfield goals, when he fell to the ground. The referee’s whistle blew. Although Conor Thomson appeared to have been fouled, the referee produced a yellow card for the Musselburgh no.9 for diving!
From the free kick the ball moved towards Musselburgh goal area. From a cross / shot, there was a debate as to whether or not Davis connected with the ball. However, Musselburgh had a narrow escape as the ball hit the inside of post and bounced back into play, where ball was cleared.
On the half hour, Nathan Evans passed ball to the far side of the goal posts. Mathu King was there, but had to stretch for the ball. As his momentum took him towards the ground, Mathu King got another touch on the ball and it was put out for a corner. Conor Thomson’s kick was met by Jonno McManus. Mitchell saved at post, then had to dive to keep ball away from an incoming Michael Deland.
Musselburgh were on the attack again on 35 minutes. Mitchell again covered himself well by saving a header from Michael Deland. The ball moved into the Musselburgh half. Simpson swung ball over to no.15 Smith. From left hand side, Smith hit a cross into the six yard box, but Ally Adams managed to get hold of ball.
In last five minutes of half, the same two Jeanfield players combined; this time Smith passed to Simpson. He ran past Michael Deland then squared ball to Davis who was standing a few feet from the goals. Somehow, as Davis connected with the ball, it spun away from the goals and out for a goal kick. How the ball did not hit the net was anyone’s wonder!
Still more time for Jeanfield to get an equaliser before half time. The number 3, Kennedy had a thunder shot which came off the body of Jonno McManus. Dear knows how he stayed upright, but Jonno McManus shrugged it off like a true centre half with ball out for a corner.
Ally punched the ball away from the goal area with Burgh moving ball up to the other end of the pitch. Mitchell got ball in Jeanfield box and the away side were once again on the attack and another corner came. Ally Adams made another save. When the ball came back over, Musselburgh were awarded a foul. The referee then blew for half time.
Musselburgh returned to the changing rooms 1-0 up, with a number of Burgh supporters wondering how this could be!
The second half was delayed for a couple of minutes as a two year old ran onto the pitch wanting a game! Within two minutes, Simpson crossed ball into the Burgh penalty area. Michael Moffat cleared the shot from the goal line. Another opportunity going astray from the away side.
On 50 minutes Jeanfield were again on the attack. Another cross into the box from Simpson was headed out by Michael Moffat. Ball went out to no. 15 Smith (another Smith was no.8!) but his shot went over the bar. Two minutes later; Jeanfield had a corner. No. 8 Smith played ball to the edge of the box with Simpson waiting to shoot. Ally Adams, who had a fine match saved the shot and Burgh were still 1-0.
Ally Adams kicked ball up to Nathan Evans whose header found Mathu King. His shot from 30 yards just went wide of post. On 55 minutes, substitute Deans, brought down Jackie Myles just outside the Jeanfield box. Conor Thomson’s free kick was saved by Mitchell. Five minute later and Smith (15) passed ball to Simpson but his shot went just wide of post.
63 minutes and another Burgh attack. From a corner, Michael Deland hit a bullet shot which Scott managed to get a block on. Couple of minutes later and probably to shore the midfield up, Jack Gillan replaced Liam Gregory.
Musselburgh were again under pressure with 20 minutes remaining. With ball running out of play, Jonno McManus tried to shield the ball, but was dispossessed. Luckily for him, no.15 Smith made a hash of his shot.
With Jeanfield on another attack up their left wing, the referee blew for a foul against Michael Moffat, who was none to happy with that. The referee called Michael back to have a word with him re his petulance! From the free kick by Smith ( 8 ), both Michael Deland and Mathu King worked together to clear ball.
Into last fifteen minutes Michael Deland made another of his standard runs down the left wing and crossed ball towards Mathu King. Luckily for the away team, a defender slipped in to get ball out of goal area. Couple of minutes later Nathan Evans had shot blocked and out for a corner. From the corner, Nathan Evans got another shot, again blocked. Ball came to Jackie Myles, hoping for third time lucky, but the Jeanfield defence was resolute once more. It appeared that the defenders of both sides were more than matching the efforts of their attacking opponents.
On 80 minutes, Conor Thomson was replaced by Scott McNaughton. Just after, Deans was booked for bull-dozing into Jackie Myles; then Nathan Evans received a yellow for a challenge on Kennedy. With five minutes left, Daniel McBay was last sub on, for Nathan Evans. Jeanfield were awarded two late corners and the keeper Mitchell came up for both. However, to no avail and when the final whistle went, Musselburgh had held on for a 1-0 win.
A very spirited performance from Musselburgh with Jonno McManus winning the supporters club player of the match award. Match was played at high tempo throughout, with ball going from one end of the park to the other. Burgh had a few chances to increase their lead, but in the end were thankful to be in the final.
Opinion from a few Burgh supporters were that this was the toughest opposition that Musselburgh had played this season. Jeanfield will have gone away thinking that had they taken some of their chances, a different result may have occurred! Best player for Jeanfield was Simpson.