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Lochee United 3 Broxburn Athletic 1

Lochee United deservedly took the points against a Broxburn team undefeated since October and on a 14-game unbeaten run.

Manager George Shields rang the changes, with Jamie Reid and Logan Davie returning, and it was good to see Bryan Deasley and Paddy Deane making the bench after long spells out through injury.

The visitors started strongly, with Keiran Anderson firing in a fierce 30-yard free kick which warmed keeper Mark Fotheringham’s hands. From the corner Fonzie had to look lively again to tip an Alex Murray effort over the bar.

Lochee surged up the other end and both Reid and Davie had efforts which came to nothing.

It was a bright opening by both sides with Broxburn just shading it but it was Lochee who took the lead on 15 minutes. Stephen Mcnally crossed into the box and Grant LAWSON headed into the net from close range.

Lawson and Reid both had shots blocked as the Bluebells sought to increase their advantage and, from a Dougie Cameron corner, Danny Millar set up Paul Lunan who shot wide.

Five minutes before half time Davie went down injured and had to be replaced by Deasley and, a minute before the break, Broxburn equalised. Miller got himself to the byline and his pass across the face of goal was tapped in by Scott RICHARDS.

Reid had a chance to put the home side ahead on the whistle but he was off target.

As in the first half the visitors began the second period well and a fierce shot from Anderson went narrowly over Fonzie’s crossbar.

Lawson was giving Broxburn full back Andy Gillen a tough time down the left flank and his cutback for Connor Birse posed problems for keeper Connor Wallace, who gathered at the second attempt.

And it was Lawson who created the goal that put Lochee ahead on the hour mark. His cross found Birse who guided the ball into the path of DEASLEY who found the far corner with his low drive.

The Thomson Park side were in control now, though the lead was a slender one, but you could feel the game slipping away from a team unbeaten since crashing out of the Junior Cup 5-2 to Lochee victims Irvine Meadow way back in October.

After some pinball in the Broxburn box Birse shot wide and a Lawson free kick was tipped round the post by Wallace.

In response the visitors replied with an Anderson effort that went wide.

Birse had a great chance to wrap things up when he was through but he failed to lift the ball over the advancing keeper.

However, he made amends in the dying minutes when his cross from the left was headed home by DEASLEY to give the hosts an impressive victory.

Lochee Utd: Fotheringham, Mcnally, Millar, Lunan, Webster, Cameron, Kirk, Lawson, Davie (Deasley 40), Birse, Reid. Subs not used: Stewart, McMahon, McComiskie, Deane.

Broxburn Ath: Wallace, Gillen, Donaldson, Gavin, Townsley, Linton, Murray, Richards, Miller, Scott, Anderson (Valentine 80).

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Scottish Junior Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg

Auchinleck Talbot 0 Lochee United 1

“I saw Lochee United at Irvine Meadow so Talbot will have no problem seeing this lot off.” That was the opinion of a certain gentleman sitting behind me in the impressive Beechwood Park stand.

Well, that’s not quite how it turned out as Lochee stunned the Ayrshire giants and Scottish Junior Cup favourites with a gutsy display that saw them return to Dundee with a valuable 1-0 lead.

No one from Auchinleck was giving the Bluebells much of a chance but the players to a man stood up to the challenge and came through with flying colours.

Having won twice in Ayrshire already it was foolish to write the visitors off and that may have had something to do with a lacklustre first half from the home team, though they did improve and put Lochee under pressure in the second period.

The game itself was quite a scrappy affair with little good passing football played. A strong wind and a whiff of nervousness about both sets of players probably contributed to the ball being punted up and down the field with regular monotony.

Craig Smith got in the first vital interception of the day to stop a Talbot attack in its tracks, but, just four minutes in, the home team’s Jamie Glasgow broke through and fired into the side netting.

Lochee carved out an opening of their own a minute later with Bryan Deasley finding Scott Webster on the edge of the box, but instead of shooting, Webby tried to pass the ball on to Reece Ritchie, who was dispossessed.

This was to prove a common occurrence during the game with Lochee players opting for an extra pass where a shot at goal might have proved more rewarding.

Webster and Ritchie combined once again but Ritchie slipped before he could bring the ball under control.

At the other end skipper Paul Lunan came to the rescue with the first of many headed clearances as Mark Shankland seemed set to head home from a corner on the right.

Lochee were giving as good as they were getting and taking the game to a nervous looking Talbot back line without really threatening home goalie Andy Leishman.

It was an end to end game, mainly because the ball was being punted up and down the park and Auchinleck’s Billy Lyle picked up a stray pass, sending in a cross that was headed narrowly wide by Graham Wilson.

Down at the pavilion end there was a slight scare for the homesters when a Grant Lawson cross was chested down by Neil McPherson and grabbed inches short of the goalline by Leishman.

Deasley then thought he might test Leishman with a shot but, unfortunately, the sting was taken out of it by a deflection.

Leishman illustrated the nervousness of the home defence when he completely misjudged a long ball and he was relieved to grab it from behind with Ritchie ready to pounce.

A minute before the break came the first real moment of quality in the match when Gordon Pope hit a thunderous 35-yard drive that was destined for the top corner until Mark Fotheringham threw himself to his right to brilliantly tip the ball over the bar.

The second half began in controversial fashion with Talbot being awarded a penalty. As the players jostled at a corner kick referee David Dickinson booked Stephen McNally and pointed to the spot.

Even ‘Bot fans didn’t seem to know why it was given, but they were happy to take it.

Stephen Wilson stepped up to the spot but his effort was brilliantly beaten away by Fonzie.

The big keeper was enjoying a purple patch and he brought off another terrific save just minutes later from Talbot danger man Jamie Glasgow.

The home team had come out fired up for the second half after a poor opening 45 and Lunan, Smith, McNally and Greg Kirk at the back had to be at their best to keep out a Talbot side sniffing a breakthrough.

However, it was Lochee who carved out the next chance through Lawson out wide. He played the ball to Deasley just a few yards out but the striker sclaffed his shot and the ball rolled harmlessly to Leishman.

The Bluebells were still having to absorb home pressure with Dougie Cameron, Ritchie and Webster working tirelessly to protect the back four. At this stage there were slim pickings for the front duo of Deasley and Scott McComiskie.

Talbot freshened things up on 71 minutes by bringing on Sean McIlroy for G Wilson and Lochee were forced to do the same on 77 as Deasley had taken some punishment. His replacement was Connor Birse who had notched a hat-trick in the quarter-final against Beith.

A throw-in found McComiskie’s head and almost landed at the feet of Lawson but the chance went abegging.

With six minutes left manager George Shields was forced to bring on Logan Davie for Ritchie, who was suffering from cramp.

Lunan was again the hero when he headed away a dangerous Talbot attack but it looked like Auchinleck had opened the scoring when Glasgow’s shot deflected off Lunan. However, Fonzie clutched the ball as it reached the line.

It was Lunan to the rescue again, heading a dangerous ball into the air with Fonzie finishing the job by tipping it over the bar.

In the final minute of the game Lochee won their first corner of the second half. It looked like their brave stand had earned them a fighting draw but then came the moment all of a Lochee United persuasion will remember.

Breaking upfield, Davie lobbed the ball over the heads of the Auchinleck back line. McComiskie wisely decided not to pursue the ball from an off side position, leaving BIRSE to race through and slot the ball under Leishman for the winner.

We had played a couple of minutes into added time and there was barely time for a response from Auchinleck, leaving Lochee United to celebrate a famous victory.

The home side may point to a string of great saves by Fonzie and the fact that Birse’s goal was the away team’s only shot on target, but they will surely admit that they weren’t at their best and that Lochee deserved their reward for a battling display.

 

Auchinleck Talbot: Leishman, Lyle, Pope, Harvey, McPherson, S Wilson, White, Hislop, G Wilson (McIlroy 71), Shankland, Glasgow. Subs not used: Hewitt, McCracken, Armstrong, Pooler.

Lochee United: Fotheringham, McNally, Smith, Lunan, Kirk, Webster, Ritchie (Davie 84), Cameron, Lawson, McComiskie, Deasley (Birse 77). Subs not used: Stewart, Millar, Reid.

 

 

 

 

 

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Lochee United 0 Jeanfield Swifts 1

 

Perhaps it was a case of ‘After the Lord Mayor’s Show’, but this was a crushing anti climax after the fervour of two Scottish Junior Cup semi-final ties against Ayrshire giants Auchinleck Talbot.

Lochee United never really got going against a determined Jeanfield outfit and lost to a goal midway through the second half. Playing with a strong wind at their backs, the Bluebells found it more of a hindrance than a help as too many long balls overhit their intended target and rolled harmlessly behind.

One early long ball did, however, find Bryan Deasley, who tried to chip Swifts keeper Mark Mitchell, but the effort was weak and the keeper saved easily.

The first real goal threat came from the visitors after 18 minutes when Keith Dewar headed a corner kick narrowly over the home bar.

Lochee replied with a Logan Davie effort that went past the post.

There was a let-off for Swifts on 27 minutes when, from a Scot McComskie free kick, defender Craig Smith headed against the post.

Down at the other end just a minute later, Jeanfield’s Jamie Reid saw his header from a corner go narrowly wide.

Scott Webster then came to Lochee’s rescue with a well timed tackle on Andrew MacKenzie, but Lochee almost surprised their visitors with a 40-yard free kick from Stephen McNally. The full back tried to catch out keeper Mitchell who had to dive to his right to push the shot away.

The half time whistle came with no breakthrough but the Perthshire outfit almost broke the deadlock six minutes into the second half. A good ball from Gary Fergus was latched on to by Tony Holt, but the Swifts man blazed his shot well over the bar.

Lochee were forced into a substitution on 59 minutes when Webster appeared to suffer a hamstring injury and was replaced by Reece Ritchie.

McNally switched full back positions with Greg Kirk moving back from midfield to left back.

The best chance of the game so far fell to Lochee on 65 minutes. Mitchell’s clearance cannoned off McComiskie and Connor Birse beat Mitchell to the loose ball. Birse flicked it past the keeper only to see player-boss Ross Gunnion get back to clear the ball off the line.

That was to prove decisive as, just three minutes later, Jeanfield grabbed the winner. A misplaced pass was picked up by HOLT who strode past a couple of defenders before beating Stewart with a low drive into the corner of the net.

The Bluebells tried hard to get back on level terms but it wasn’t their night. Too many passes were going astray and some dogged defending by Swifts kept them out.

Their best chance came from a Jamie Reid (Lochee version) corner kick which Danny Millar headed against the bar two minutes from time. From another Reid corner kick Kirk’s header looked goalbound until it skimmed off the head of a Swifts defender.

Overall, a disappointing performance from the Scottish Cup semi-finalists but credit to Jeanfield for a hard earned win.

FT: Lochee United 0 Jeanfield Swifts 1

Lochee United: Stewart, Webster (Ritchie 59), Millar, Smith, McNally, McComiskie, Kirk, Davie (Lawson 76), Reid, Birse, Deasley.

Jeanfield Swifts: Mitchell, Yates, Deans, Gunnion, Scott, Holt, Kelly (Mills 77), Dewar, Reid, Fergus, MacKenzie (Mackie 75).

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