Masson leads Shipyard to victory.
The Shipyard turned in another fine performance as they beat premier league side Craigroyston 2-1 at St Marks Park. In horrendous weather conditions, but with captain for the day Kevin Masson pulling the strings in midfield as he produced a virtuoso performance, a goal in each half cancelled out a deflected effort from the home side and although Craigroyston had a lot of the ball, the Shipyard defence stood firm and indeed Keith Buckley passed up a great chance to score a third late on. Stuart Blake and JP McPhail returned from injury to replace Craig Lowe who was injured himself, with Adam Doig dropping to the bench. Andy MacDonald missed out again with a groin strain.
With their confidence boosted by last week’s draw against Hibs the Shipyard took only six minutes to open their account today and what a fine goal it was. Masson whipped in a great free-kick from the right hand side and Stuart Blake volleyed in at the back post from around six yards. However, the lead was short lived as Craigroyston drew level in the 10th minute when the Shipyard defence could not clear their lines and Paul Lynch’s shot took a wicked deflection off Craig McKay and beat Jordan Mushet in the Shipyard goals. It was always going to be a struggle playing into the wind in the first half but good work from JP McPhail set up Dale Robertson whose shot from the edge of the box drifted narrowly wide. As Craigy tried to make the most of the elements McKay blocked an attempt from the edge of the box and then a cross from the right was scrambled away. The hosts went close in the 32nd minute when David Jeffrey hit the top of the bar when he met a free-kick played into the box with his head. McPhail and Grant Blyth combined well with the latter being closed down at the expense of a corner. From the resultant corner the Shipyard came very close to taking the lead again. Blyth’s corner was flicked on by the head of McKay and Keith Buckley just failed to make contact at the back post with the goal gaping. The final action of the first half saw Mushet save with his leg after the ball fell kindly for Craig Dickson inside the visitor’s box.
The Shipyard struck early in the second half just as they did in the first and it was Robertson who gave his side the lead when his shot from all of 35 yards deceived Stuart Burnside in the Craigy goals and found the corner of the net. On the hour mark Masson was cynically brought down at the edge of the area and he got up to take the free-kick himself but his strike, along with Blyth’s follow up were blocked. Scott Ritchie blasted over for the homesters and Mushet held a close range header as Craigroyston pushed for an equaliser. Dickson also passed up a chance though Mushet was off his line quickly to put pressure on the striker. Craigy continued to press and Mushet saved well as they tried to capitalise on a Blake mistake. Nevertheless, the Shipyard got back on the front foot and Blyth’s header back across the face of goal was begging for someone to get on the end of but Craigroyston were able to clear. Twice in a few minutes Robertson got shots away but neither was accurate or powerful enough to trouble Burnside. Mushet produced a good save in the 86th minute and at the other end Gavin Bridges strode forward and unleashed a powerful left foot drive that Burnside gathered. However, the Shipyard should have tied it up two minutes later when Buckley burst clear of the home defence and as he bore down on goal he tried to dink the ball over the Burnside but the keeper was able to get a hand to it and the danger was cleared. There was one last scare for the Shipyard when deep into added time they had to defend bravely and block a couple of efforts before the ball was scrambled clear. The last action of the match saw Lynch of Craigroyston shown a second yellow card after a challenge on Mushet was deemed a foul.
The manager was naturally delighted and after the match Myles said “I thought our guys adapted brilliantly to the conditions. As I expected, in the first half Craigroyston pushed right up on our back four each time Jordan had the ball so it was very difficult to play out from the back and his kicks weren’t getting far so we spent a lot of time in our own half. However, the lads kept their shape brilliantly and closed down the space in the final third so we didn’t really give them many chances to shoot from distance. To get an early goal against the wind was great and I think we really should have had a second as we had one or two good opportunities”.
Asked about the second half performance he replied “I said at half time that I wanted to use the wind to our advantage in the second half and take a gamble with strikes on goal and Dale did that perfectly with his effort. Craigroyston did have a bit more possession than us from then on but I don’t think they created too many clear cut chances. We used our possession really well though and I thought we could have gone on to get one or two more”.
Finally he enthused “It’s great to see the team build on last week’s performance with another great effort today. If I’m not wrong, we had seven players under the age of 21 today and they are starting to get to grips on what is required at this level. As long as we keep progressing, that’s all I can ask for”.
Teams: Craigroyston: S. Burnside; D. Jeffrey; R. Hogarth; L. Barbirou; L. Jack; S. Ritchie; N. Rendall; M. Hendrie (p. Greenhill); P. Lynch; C. Dickson; E. MacIntosh (J. Dunn). Unused Sub: G. Sutherland.
Burntisland Shipyard: J. Mushet; G. Bridges; P. Bell; B. Smart; C. McKay; K. Masson; K. Buckley; S. Blake (J. Crombie); JP. McPhail (J. Fyfe); D. Robertson; G. Blyth. Unused Subs: A. Clark; A. Doig; R. Sartarello.
Referee: D. Williams.