Penalty save earns Shipyard draw.
The Shipyard and Hawick fought out a 1-1 draw in what was a poor match played in blustery conditions at Albert Park. The Shipyard were ahead before Hawick drew level shortly before half-time and late in the match the visitors had Mikey Couser to thank for their point when he brilliantly saved a penalty. Stevie Connor and Stuart Innes were unavailable, their places were taken by Martin Nedialkov and Alex Peoples. Lee Henderson dropped to the bench and the returning Pete Bell took his place in the midfield.
Hawick had the strong wind behind them in the first half but it was the visitors who had the first opportunity when keeper Steven West picked up a pass back around ten yards out. As is not uncommon the Shipyard’s effort was charged down by the defensive wall. Hawick had a chance in the 11th minute when Nedialkov failed to control the ball but Innes Zenati shot over from a good position. An Alex Peoples pass found Kevin Masson in space but he drifted wide and had to shoot from a tight angle and was well off target. Masson then headed wide from a Dale Robertson cross as the Shipyard took a grip of the game. The deadlock was broken in the 18th minute when a Brendan Napier pass split the home defence and Gavin Bridges showed great composure in gathering the ball, rounding the keeper and rolling the ball into the net. Zenati had a chance for the hosts but his header from a corner was wide of the mark. Masson had another chance for the Shipyard after being set up by Peoples but West was off his line smartly to block the danger. David Heaver shot just over with a wind assisted long range effort and in the 37th minute Couser held a Declan Hogg free-kick in what was Hawick’s first shot on target. The home team did muster an equaliser in what was a poor goal for the Shipyard to lose. A corner from the right was allowed to drop inside the six yard box and Peter Keenan was able to control the ball, turn and shoot into the roof of the net. Couser held a Heaver shot just before half-time as Hawick looked to take in a lead, having had the wind advantage at their backs.
Masson and Napier combined well and forced a corner for the Shipyard and from the set piece Nedialkov was unlucky to see his header drift over. Masson volleyed over from eight yards out after another Shipyard corner fell to him. Play was now very scrappy with neither team troubling the respective keepers as shown when Masson shot high over from the edge of the area. Hawick appealed for a penalty when the ball hit Bell but the referee was not interested and when a cross was delivered Keenan’s header ended up by the corner flag. Shipyard substitute Henderson tried his luck from distance but was too high with his well hit shot and then Napier did well to find space in the box but could not deliver a telling cross. Hawick were then presented with a wonderful chance to win the match when Hogg was allowed to drive into the box and was tripped by Craig McKay, however, Couser pulled off an excellent save to deny Keenan. As the match moved into added time Shipyard subs Anesu Tabengwa and Henderson combined well but West saved well with his legs to stop Henderson netting a late winner like he had done in the match at Burntisland. A mention must also be given to referee Gavin Thomson who, certainly in the Shipyard camp, everyone though he had an excellent match.
When asked about his team’s performance after the game Myles reflected “Today was a strange game as I thought we played well until a few minutes before the Hawick goal and on the balance of play we could have been two or three up before they equalised. However, after that we didn’t really have any cohesion though we still created some good chances in the second half that should have been taken. Then at the death we let their midfielder run twenty yards without a challenge and commit a silly foul in the box”. Myles was naturally very pleased with the outcome of the penalty and said “ Mikey’s save was outstanding and on the balance of play and chances it would have been criminal for us to lose. There is a disappointment that we didn’t capitalise more in the first half but it’s an improvement on Wednesday’s performance at least”.
Teams: Hawick Royal Albert: West; Fettes; Russell (King); Loughlin; Johnston (Burrell); Fleming (Strathdee); Zenati; Heaver; Keenan; Hogg; Swailes. Unused Sub: Cooper
Burntisland Shipyard: Couser; Grubb (Henderson); Nedialkov; Bridges; McKay; Bell; Robertson; Crombie; Masson (Cunningham); Napier; Peoples (Tabengwa). Unused Sub: McCrindle.
Referee: G. Thomson.