Anderson settles the nerves while Napier seals the points.
The Shipyard travelled down the A1 hoping to put their recent run of defeats behind them. With Jordon Mushet still recovering from his injury and Quinn Franklin unavailable, Barry Thomson was called up to take over in the Shipyard goal. Although Thomson’s exposure to match competition has been limited in recent times he was not to let the Shipyard down. Blair Smart returned to the side after a six week absence relegating Ethan Anderson to the bench along with John Paul McPhail.
It was the Eyemouth side that started brightest, with some early pressure on the Shipyard goal forcing Thomson into action. It was the Shipyard, however, that had the best opportunity when Craig Lowe picked out Dale Robertson in the 6 yard box. His shot was diverted for a corner and from the set piece Brendan Napier fired in a shot that grazed the top of the bar. In the 14th minute Peter Bell was upended and from the resulting free kick, Eyemouth’s Gordon McInnes almost gave Shipyard the lead with a wayward defensive header. In 17 minutes Robertson gave Shaun Keatings a one on one opportunity but keeper Adam Mutch spread himself well to save the shot. Lowe was swift to follow up on the rebound and a desperate defensive tackle dropped him in the box leaving the referee with a simple penalty decision. Keatings stepped up to take the kick and calmly slotted home to give the Shipyard a 1- 0 lead. The Shipyard were having more attacking opportunities at this point although their level of possession was limited. Kevin Masson dispatched a fierce free kick on goal in the 24th minute and, as the ball reverberated around the outside of the Eyemouth woodwork the Shipyard bench celebrations were premature in thinking it was a goal. On 39 minutes an Eyemouth corner that was met with a great header on goal and only an amazing diving stop by Thomson kept his goal intact. With only two minutes remaining to the half-time whistle, Robertson made his way into the Eyemouth box and as he was halted, it was once again Lowe whose pace took the ball beyond the Eyemouth defence, only to find Keatings on hand to tap the ball home, as he set himself up for the finish. In the last minute of the half, Shipyard conceded a free kick and Sean Ford headed home. His celebratory actions resulted in a yellow card but gave the Eyemouth squad the lift they needed going in at the interval.
Eyemouth started the 2nd half in a confident manner and had all of the early possession and pressure. A ball floated in from the right found Alan Jess clear but his headed effort drifted over. The visitors were finding it impossible to settle and gain any sort of sustained possession. Eyemouth’s pressure was rewarded with several corners that caused defensive concerns for the Shipyard. On the 57th minute mark, Thomson did well to scramble the ball clear when it was floated into a ruck of players although he was awarded a free-kick for the challenges. Three minutes later Lowe was substituted and Ethan Anderson took his place on the right of mid-field. The Shipyard’s attacks were limited to the odd breakaways but each of these caused the Eyemouth side, committed to attack, problems. Robertson put Masson clear on the right but, unable to find his favoured left foot, his shot drifted wide of Mutch and the Eyemouth goal. Sean Campbell had a great chance to level the score but his shot went wide. Thomson’s blushes were spared in the 67th minute when he called for a ball inside the 6 yard box but allowed it to roll through his legs tantalisingly close to the goal line before being cleared by some desperate defending.
The next spell saw sustained Eyemouth pressure and they were rewarded in the 74th minute when, from the inevitable corner the ball was headed back across goal for Ford to tap in his second goal of the game and give Eyemouth a further boost. Eyemouth’s Alan Jess and Scott Adamson made way for substitutes Patrick Tillbrook and Mike Milligan as Eyemouth looked to build further pressure. The Shipyard regained the lead through good work by the diminutive Robertson in the 76th minute. Battling through three strong challenges resulted in him finding Anderson in space on the right, Anderson controlled well, got himself into a one-on–one position and stroked the ball coolly beyond Mutch to give the Shipyard some much required breathing space. In the 82nd minute, as a frustrated Eyemouth continued to attack, Napier picked up the ball deep in his own half and made a 50 yard run past a number of challenges only to be finally upended illegally by Tillbrook, who was cautioned for his actions, some 20 yards from goal. Napier settled himself on the free-kick, took his time and placed his shot around the defensive wall into Mutch’s bottom left corner to restore Shipyard’s earlier two goal lead. Napier’s understandable but rather exuberant celebrations with his relieved team-mates earned the wrath of the referee which resulted in a caution. The Shipyard were happy to see out the remaining minutes. John Paul McPhail replaced an injured McDonald as the game entered four minutes of added time and the last chance fell to Sean Campbell of Eyemouth who shot over from 30yds.
Manager Alex Lowe seemed relieved to get the victory when he said “I am very pleased with the win against Eyemouth considering this was probably our worst display since I have taken over as manager. Positives from the game were that we scored four decent goals, two of which came from good runs from Craig Lowe ending in two goals for Sean Keatings, one good passing move resulting in a good finish from Ethan Anderson and a superb solo run from Brendan Napier leading to an equally superb free kick finish. Negatives from the game were that generally our passing was very poor, our energy levels seemed very low (with 2 or 3 exceptions) and the two goals we lost again came from our inability to correctly defend set pieces”. Alex had some sympathy for his opponents and words of caution for his players when he added “Eyemouth can be very disappointed they never took anything from the game as they were in control of the majority of the game, passed the ball better and missed a number of chances. We will need to play much better next week against Leith Athletic, the top team in the EOS league, in a cup tie at Recreation Park or it could end up being a severe beating”.
Burntisland Shipyard: B. Thomson; T. Arthur; A. MacDonald (JP McPhail); B. Smart; P. Bell; C. Lowe (E. Anderson); B. Napier; E. Henderson; S. Keatings; D. Robertson; K. Masson.
Referee: K. Lindsay.