Late penalty denies ten man Shipyard.
A penalty eight minutes from time denied the Shipyard a shock win over high flying Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale in this last league fixture before the festive break, at a windy Recreation Park. The Shippy played the last 38 minutes with ten men after Conor Drury was shown an unbelievably harsh second yellow card for an alleged dive, however, the Shipyard still took the lead through Craig Lowe a few minutes later before being pegged back late on.
LTHV started with the blustery wind behind them and in the 4th minute Jordan Mushet blocked an effort from Scott Gormley and five minutes later the keeper was happy to parry a long range strike away for a corner. The Shippy had a great chance to take the lead soon after when a delightful Drury pass played Ewan Henderson through on goal but Big Hendo tried to steer the ball into the net with the outside of his right foot when power might have been the better option. Mushet had to push away a net bound effort from Kevin Brown as the visitors looked to make full use of the elements, though the keeper was relieved minutes later when Gormley couldn’t find the target with a close range header following a fine cross from Darren Smith. A free-kick played into the Shipyard box created a bit of a scramble before the loose ball was finally lashed over the bar from inside the area.
A minute into the second half saw the visitors appeal for a penalty claiming Graeme Haywood had handled the ball but on this occasion the referee waved away the claims. Mushet was in action again in the 51st minute when he held a free-kick from LTHV’s left back Scott Taylor Mackenzie. Next came the most controversial moment of the match when referee Chris McNab flashed a second yellow card at Drury for an alleged dive just inside the LTHV box with his decision baffling everyone inside the ground. What had went on before and after this incident made the decision all the more difficult to swallow for the Shipyard players. The visitors almost made their man advantage pay off moments later but were denied when the ball bounced off the top of the bar and went over. The Shipyard stunned their visitors when they took the lead in the 56th minute. Henderson got into the six yard box, saw his shot blocked and was then upended by keeper Kevin Swain, however, the loose ball broke to Lowe and he knocked the ball home. Had Lowe not scored there would have been a big call for the ref to make with a penalty and a red card for the keeper looking the only option. The hosts had a scare in the 59th minute when Mushet fumbled a long range shot but he immediately redeemed himself, brilliantly saving from Gormley as he latched on to the rebound. The Shippy goal was leading a charmed life as hero at the other end Lowe almost became the villain as his sliced clearance hit the post before being cleared to safety. Mushet then produced an outstanding save when a shot from outside the box took a wicked deflection but despite being wrong footed the keeper was able to get a glove on the ball and divert it round the post for a corner. The Shipyard were under intense pressure and Willis Hare dragged a shot wide after a defensive mistake before LTHV drew level with eight minutes remaining. Haywood was penalised for a foul in the box and Smith made no mistake from the spot. The Shipyard defence was magnificent in the final few minutes and LTHV only created one chance of note in that time when Smith curled a shot wide from the left-hand side of the area.
It was a case of mixed emotions for manager Raymond Drury after the match where he was naturally disappointed to lose a late equaliser, particularly with it being a penalty, but delighted with his team’s performance against a top side when he said “I thought all the guys from 1 to 11 plus the three subs done the job that was asked of them. We created a couple of good openings in the first but could not take our chances. In the second half we wanted to push further up the field with the wind behind us but unfortunately the ref in my mind, made a poor decision in sending Conor off. However the guys pushed on and got the goal to put us in front and from then on it was backs to the wall with some good defending and goalkeeping”. Looking ahead Raymond went on to add “We done well and only a penalty stopped us from getting the three points. Hopefully now we can push on after the New Year and get more points on the board and climb the table”.
Burntisland Shipyard: J. Mushet; G. McCann (B. Saunders); B. Couper; A. MacDonald; G. Haywood; P. Bell (S. Devaney); M. James; C. Drury; E. Henderson; C. Lowe; A. Doig (E. Anderson).
Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale: K. Swain; D. Moore; S. Mackenzie; R. Wilkes; P. Crawford; E. Mearns (J. Kerr); K. Brown (L. O’Donnell); D. Cummings; S. Gormley (A. McDonagh); W. Hare; D. Smith. Unused Sub: F. Ogilvie.
Referee: C. McNab.