Cupar edge Shipyard in thriller.
The Shipyard lost for the first time in eight league games as Cupar Hearts recorded a narrow 2-1 win at Recreation Park. The game finished in almost total darkness with the Shipyard pressing hard for an equaliser, however, Cupar held on to take the three points. The Shipyard were unchanged from Saturday with the returning Leishman and Russell taking their places on the bench.
The match kicked off with the team’s level on points in the league table, though Cupar have played two games less. Cupar started the better and Chalmers in the Shipyard goal had to be alert to gather a couple of balls played into the box. Then in the 7th minute McAndrew had to clear an effort from M. Reilly off the line. Three minutes later Cupar took the lead when slack play in the Shipyard defence allowed Watson the opportunity to stab the ball home from the corner of the 6 yard box. The Shipyard responded with a McCue free-kick that was over the bar and a M. Hamilton shot that was held by McEwan in the Cupar goal. In the 24th minute the Shipyard should have been level when good work from McCue set up Johnston but his shot was blocked, Hamilton followed up but saw his shot saved by McEwan. The Shipyard were enjoying a good spell now, however, it was Cupar who were next to have an attempt when Pryde broke down the right and crossed for M. Reilly, but his control let him down and Chalmers gathered. On the stroke of half-time Cupar went 2 – 0 ahead with a wonderful finish from M. Reilly, hooking the ball high into the net after the ball had been headed down to him.
Two minutes into the second half Cupar had an appeal for handball in the box, though it looked like the ball played the man. The Shipyard pulled a goal back in comical circumstances after 55 minutes when McEwan blasted a pass back straight at Neil Johnston and he could only look on in agony as the ball rolled into the empty net. Two minutes later Cupar almost restored their 2 goal lead but G. Reilly hit the ball over from in front of goal. On the hour mark after a strong run and cross from Johnston, McCue saw his shot blocked by the defender. As the darkness was closing in it was the Shipyard who were pressing hard and Johnston saw a header from a McCue corner held by the keeper. A minute later in the 76th minute T. Williams had a free header but his effort was well wide of the goal. Cupar created a chance when a huge clearance from McEwan forced Chalmers to punch from the edge of his box and the ball went straight to a Cupar player who hit his shot over the bar. In the 80th minute T. Williams burst clear of the Cupar defence, only for an excellent tackle to deny him a shot at goal. From the resultant corner the same player headed wide. The Shipyard were camped in the Cupar half as the clock ran down and McCue saw his strong shot from the edge of the box go straight to the keeper. That was to be the end of the chances for the Shipyard as time ran out on what was a very entertaining game. After the match a disappointed Billy Whitehead said “ It was a great second half performance and I thought we deserved a draw. We have to play like that for the whole game and not half of it. We had them under pressure at the end and I was disappointed that there was no time added at the end of the second half”.
Teams: Burntisland Shipyard: Chalmers; McAndrew; Whyte; Cook; Grieve (Leishman); Small (Russell); M. Hamilton; T. Williams; McCue; Johnston; J. Williams. Unused Subs: Hutt; Dow; S. Hamilton.
Cupar Hearts: McEwan; Makein; Gilfillan; Nicoll; Sharp; Macinroy; G. Reilly; Smith; M. Reilly; Watson; Pryde. Subs: Boylan; Campbell; Fraser; Sibanda.
Referee: R. Meikle.