Shippy beaten by late goals.
The final scoreline certainly didn’t reflect the even contest that this match was, nonetheless, it was a third successive defeat for the Shipyard and this 4-1 reversal has severely damaged the Shipyard’s hope of getting into the promotion scrap. Despite falling behind after a mere twenty seconds the Shippy went on to control the game for long periods and it was surprising that it took them an hour to draw level. The concession of a penalty with twelve minutes remaining gave Preston the opportunity to regain the lead and after the spot kick was converted expertly by substitute Jack Jardine, the visitors went on to add another two goals as the previously solid Shipyard defence crumbled. Despite the miserable weather the teams served up an entertaining contest for the hardy souls that braved the conditions. The Shipyard starting eleven showed two changes from last week with Dale Allan and Connor McQuade replacing Sam Glancy and Johnny Galloway, who left the Club in midweek to join his local team Crossgates Primrose. It would have been three changes but for Benn Hutchison picking up an injury in the warm up meaning Jason Finlay retained his place.
The Shippy found themselves a goal down after twenty seconds when defensive hesitancy allowed Preston to cut the ball back from the by-line and Johnathan Edmond knocked the ball home at the front post. Allan and Reece Brown were causing the visitors defence problems, however, at this stage they were resolute and giving nothing away. The aforementioned pair combined in the 16th minute and Allan was denied at close range by a fine save from Jack Findlay. Four minutes later a Grant Skinner ball into the six-yard box was begging to be knocked home but the Shipyard failed to capitalise. Preston’s threat was rare but six minutes prior to the break the Shipyard had keeper Michael Gibb to thank as he pulled off a great save at close range and moments later, he was on hand again as he made a brave double save to deny the visitors.
The Shipyard were back on the front foot as the second half got underway and Brown was thwarted by Findlay who pushed his free-kick away. An Allan attempt was deflected wide for a corner and the resultant set piece was scrambled away after an unconvincing punch from Findlay. There was a huge appeal from Preston for a penalty moments later following a Gavin Ross challenge inside the box, however, referee Kyle Hall thought the big defender got enough of the ball to wave play on. To rub salt into the visitors wounds the Shipyard went up the park and equalised. Findlay failed to hold Allan’s strike and young Finlay was on hand at the back post to knock the ball into the net. It was the Shippy’s turn to appeal for a penalty as Brown went down in the box following a challenge but again the referee wasn’t interested. A looping cross into the Preston box was tipped away and Ross Lennie’s follow up was blocked at the expense of a corner. The Shippy continued to dominate proceedings as Brown saw his shot saved and then the Shippy’s trialist substitute hit the bar with a header. Lennie was involved again as he headed over following a corner moments before the game swung in Preston’s favour. Ross committed a foul just inside his own area and after the dust had settled Jardine made no mistake from the spot. The Shipyard had another penalty claim denied as Lennie went down in the area and the referee’s decision to caution him for simulation was harsh in many observers’ eyes. Preston scored a third in the 82nd minute as the unchallenged Jardine headed home from a corner and a fourth arrived three minutes later with the Shipyard defence all at sea Mark Smith drilled a loose ball home from the edge of the area.
Manager Stuart Innes was naturally disappointed with the outcome but felt his players could not be faulted for commitment and endeavour and they could be proud of their efforts as they were the better team for most of the match with a couple of lapses in concentration cost them dear.
The Shipyard are on the road for the next couple of weeks with two trips to the borders with Coldstream and Hawick Royal Albert United providing the opposition.
Burntisland Shipyard: M. Gibb, R. O’Donnell, G. Skinner, I. Millar, G. Ross. S. Strang (A. Trialist), J. Finlay, R. Lennie, R. Brown, C. McQuade, D. Allan. Unused Subs: A. Watt, J. Galloway, D. Hunter, A. Cooper, K. Kwapinski.
Preston Athletic: J. Findlay, K. Austin, C. Innes, M. O’Connor, M. Smith, E. Williams, J. Grotlin, L. Turkington, J. Edmond, B. Bathgate, D. Ndiweni (J. Jardine). Unused Subs: C. Pennycuick, B. Archibald, S. Walker, D. Weldon.
Referee: K. Hall.