Season Finale at Olivebank
By Kenneth Scott
Musselburgh Athletic 3-7 Linlithgow Rose
Musselburgh lost last week’s League cup final 1-0 to Bo’ness. If Burgh had won, there would be few complaints, given the closeness of the tie.
There was little time to dwell on that match, as another tough encounter was anticipated on Saturday. Linlithgow were the visitors to Olivebank in a quarter final of the King Cup. The away side finished runners-up in conference C, behind Broxburn.
Musselburgh’s line up for their 40th match of the season saw one change from last week. Gary Cherrie came in for Jack Gillan. Bradley Whyte moved to left back and Conor Thomson returned to hiscustomary midfield position.
First goal came in two minutes. With Linlithgow pressing, Ally Adams and John McManus passed the ball between each other. Strickland intercepted the ball as it was coming towards Ally Adams. He squared the ball to Ruari MacLennan and a tap in, in front of the goals Put Linlithgow 1-0 up.
Musselburgh pressed for the equaliser in a move, which saw Ally Adams, find Liam Gregory on the left wing. Nathan Evans met the cross into the box, but his effort went wide of the post. Michael Moffat was the first player to receive a yellow card in 11 minutes.
Another defensive blunder in 15 minutes and it was 2-0 to Linlithgow. From a Burgh throw in, Gary Cherrie passed the ball to John McManus. Instead of clearing the ball up the park, John McManus tried to beat MacLennan, but was dispossessed of the ball. MacLennan took the ball round Ally Adams and slotted the ball in the net.
Musselburgh got a goal back five minutes later. Long ball out by Ally Adams found Conor Thomson at the edge of the Linlithgow box. Ball was passed to Mathu King, whose shot was saved by the keeper, McKinven. As it rebounded Conor Thomson was there to blast ball into the net. Score now Musselburgh 1 - 2 Linlithgow.
Four bookings in Quick succession, saw Nathan Evans booked for speaking back to the referee. Jackie Myles was booked for diving in the Rose box. Tommy Coyne received a yellow, again for speaking back to the ref and Gary Cherrie for a foul.
On the half hour, another chance for Linlithgow, but Ally Adams dived at Ronald’s feet to grab the ball. A defensive error nearly put Musselburgh further behind. With lots of players in and around the penalty box, Ally Adams passed to Liam Reid, who was standing facing the goals. Straight away, Liam Reid was dispossessed and Ally Adams had to parry the ball away for a corner. The ball should have been belted away by the keeper at the first opportunity.
Musselburgh had two chances in the remaining minutes of the half. From a shot from Conor Thomson, the centre half McKinlay headed the ball over the bar, for a corner. Next up was a screamer from Jackie Myles, but his shot was cleared off the line. On 43 minutes, Linlithgow had a goal chalked off, for offside.
Half time Musselburgh 1 – 2 Linlithgow.
Five minutes into the second half and Musselburgh were next to have goal disallowed for another offside decision. The home fans did not have too long to wait for the equaliser. In 56 minutes, Nathan Evans passed ball to Conor Thomson, down the right wing. His cross was met by Mathu King and his header went past a diving McKinven.
In a two-minute spell, Linlithgow re-established their two-goal advantage. First was a cracking drive at the edge of the box for MacLennan for his hat trick. From the kick off, Burgh went up the park, and Conor Thomson was unlucky not to score as the ball came off the bar. On Linlithgow’s next attack, the ball was put out for a throw in. In the box, ball was played to Smith who, in turn, looked to pass the ball to Coyne. However, as Jonno McManus attempted to intercept, the ball came off him and in the net. Linlithgow were now 4-2 up.
Jack Gillan replaced Liam Gregory on 65 minutes. A few minutes later, Nathan Evans had the ball on the right wing. His cross to Bradley Whyte was squared in the box to Mathu King. His shot was blocked. Linlithgow counter attacked and Smith combined with Coyle who slide the ball passed Ally Adams and after 72 minutes, Linlithgow had increased the lead to 5 – 2.
On 75 minutes, Scott McNaughton came on for Gary Cherrie. Just after, McKinlay received a yellow card for holding onto the ball when a corner had been awarded to Musselburgh. Jackie Myles pressed for a 3rd Musselburgh goal, but his shot was again blocked, this time by Smith. When the ball came out Jack Gillan also had his shot blocked by a resolute Smith.
Final sub for Musselburgh, around 80 minutes saw Daniel McBay replace Jackie Myles. In last five minutes, Shields and Sloan replaced Smith and Ronald. In between these two substitutions, Linlithgow increased their lead to 6-2. Following a move up the left wing, as the ball came into the box, Batchelor dummied the ball and Strickland ran into the box and his shot hit the net. Two minutes later, Michael Moffat played forward to Conor Thomson. The cross came into Mathu King, who again headed the ball past McKinven and the score now stood at 6-3 to Linlithgow.
Scoring had not finished! In injury time, man of the match MacLennan, scored his fourth goal of match with a simple tap in.
Final score was Musselburgh 3 – 7 Linlithgow. The cup-tie seemed a much closer affair than the score would suggest. However, Linlithgow were clinical with their finishing and deserved the victory. Linlithgow now meet Bonnyrigg in the semi-final of the King Cup a week on Wednesday.
The loss ended Musselburgh’s 2018-19 campaign. Overall, the positives far out-weighed the negatives. Players and management now go on a well-earned rest. Before we know it, pre-season training will commence, with the first friendly of 2019-20 in the middle of July.
The last official event comes this Saturday with the Musselburgh Athletic end of year player awards. Good luck to all the guys!