Shippy keep their unbeaten run going.
The Shipyard extended their unbeaten run to seven matches after a two nil victory over Hawick Royal Albert but it was no stroll in the Easthouses sunshine last night as they had to work hard to come out on top in this bruising encounter. This was the match that was rearranged after last month’s postponement and switched to Easthouses by the East of Scotland League Board. The Shippy were dealt a blow prior to the match as Kevin Masson was ruled out for the final two matches of the season with an ankle injury.
The Shipyard could not match their feat of scoring in the first minute like the previous two matches though Hawick keeper Bruce Callan had to be alert to punch away a Shaun Keatings cross as Ewan Henderson looked to pounce. Shippy keeper Jordan Mushet saved a low drive from Ross Clarke as both teams struggled to deal with the fiery pitch. Callan pulled off a great save in the 23rd minute when a Brendan Napier free-kick was deflected towards Dale Robertson and his headed effort looked to be heading for the net until the keeper tipped the ball over the bar. Keatings delivered another fine cross and this time Henderson got on the end of it but could not keep his header down. Henderson and Robertson then combined deep inside the Hawick box and the latter was unlucky to see his strike come back off the upright. The Shippy took the lead in the 41st minute when Napier collected a loose ball at the edge of the area and rifled the ball home from 20yards. Napier almost scored again two minutes later when he collected a Ryan Kelly pass but his left foot strike lacked the pace to overly trouble Callan. Hawick almost drew level just before the break when a free-kick into the Shipyard box found Gordon Ramsay unmarked but he could not direct his downward header on target.
Napier went down with what looked a serious injury in the 52nd minute and had to be replaced by Ethan Anderson, however, after the match it appeared that the injury was not as bad as first feared. The Shipyard were playing better in the second half and in the early stages an opportunist strike from Henderson had to be cleared for a corner before Keatings drove wide from 18yards. Hawick were reduced to ten men when Nicky Cairns received a second yellow card after a poor challenge and in fairness it was coming as the referee struggled to keep a lid on things. In the 72nd minute Adam Doig played in sub Jamie Bouhaddou and the youngster saw his powerful shot parried away by Callan. Big Hendo was looking for a goal to draw level with Masson at the top of the Shipyard scoring charts and it almost came when he drove forward, cut in from the left, only to see his shot come back off the far post with the keeper beaten. Blair Smart drove wide as the Shipyard looked for a second goal that would kill the match, however, they had to be thankful to Mushet who saved well from a Greg Summers free-kick. The second goal came with six minutes remaining and it was Henderson who got his goal after being set up by Craig Lowe. The big striker looked suspiciously offside but carried on, rounded the keeper and rolled the ball into the empty net.
With manager Alex Lowe on holiday Neil McLeod spoke to the website after the match and said “The most pleasing aspect of the game was the clean sheet and the victory that continues the good run the lads have been on, now being undefeated in the last seven games. However, decision making at times was far from the standard the boys have set themselves in recent months. Holding on to the ball too long, trying to take that extra player on leads ultimately to giving possession away cheaply”. Neil had a warning for the players as he added “It was a difficult night, especially the way the opposition set themselves up to play and we were guilty of falling into that trap, by getting involved in needless matters and upsetting our own rhythm. I said to the boys afterwards that we control whether or not we win and everybody has to take responsibility, be brave, do the basics properly and make the right decisions on the park”.
Hawick Royal Albert: B. Callan; L. Shanley; R. Clarke; S. Fallan; S. McKenzie; G. Summers; R. Fleming; N. Cairns; G. Ramsay; N. Ramsay; K. Strathdee. Subs: L. Henderson; S. Spence; J. Amos; M. King; S. Kelleher.
Burntisland Shipyard: J. Mushet; T. Arthur; C. Lowe; G. Haywood; R. Kelly (A. MacDonald); B. Smart; S. Keatings (J. Bouhaddou); B. Napier (E. Anderson); E. Henderson; A. Doig; D. Robertson. Unused Sub: P. Bell
Referee: I. Snedden.