Honours even at University.
The Shipyard were involved in a six goal thriller as they came from behind to earn a share of the spoils at Riccarton Campus. The match had swung back and forth all night and even at 3-3 both teams had chances to win it in the dying minutes. Manager Myles Allan decided to shuffle his pack as strikers Adam Doig dropped to the bench and Daniel Watt missed out altogether. Pete Bell missed out after picking up an injury on Saturday. Jordan Mushet, Alan Clark, JP McPhail and Ewan Henderson returned to the starting eleven with the latter lining up against his former club. There was a healthy crowd at Riccarton but unfortunately they were all watching a Hearts and Hibs kids seven a side derby on the adjacent pitch.
McPhail had an early attempt for the visitors that was off target but it was the hosts who were the more threatening in the early stages, with Cameron Stevenson in particular giving the Shippy defence plenty of problems. Stevenson had set up a couple of chances for his team mates before he went close himself in the eight minute. The Shipyard then enjoyed a spell of pressure with Kevin Masson shooting wide and Henderson heading a Brendan Napier free-kick off target. Masson then pulled out a tremendous save from home keeper Craig Saunders who was at full stretch to push away his powerfully struck free-kick. The Uni’s Neil Laurenson shot over from the edge of the box in the 23rd minute but three minutes later it was the visitors who took the lead when Masson found space at the edge of the Uni area and fired a shot low into the bottom corner. Sadly for the Shipyard the lead did not last too long, however, it took a great goal to peg them back. Stevenson showed fantastic skill at the edge of his own box before driving forward and feeding Calum Milne, he in turn played the ball inside to Michael Heraghty who shot home from 18yards. With Ethan Anderson off the field receiving treatment for a head cut Heriot Watt took the lead. Milne shrugged off the Shipyard defence, rounded Mushet and rolled the ball into the empty net. Anderson could not continue and he was replaced by Joe Samson.
Mushet had to be on his toes at the start of the second half when he came to the edge of his box to save with his legs from Milne. He was then back on his line to hold a drive from 20yards. The Shippy were level in the 63rd minute when Craig Lowe’s cushioned side footed volley from around 16yards found the corner of the net. The ball had fallen kindly for him after Napier’s shot was blocked. Heriot Watt almost regained the lead immediately when Mushet could only push a well struck free-kick onto his crossbar before the ball was cleared. The Shipyard had a lot more control of the game in the final quarter and when McPhail turned and shot from the edge of the box, the hosts were happy to see his shot deflected for a corner. A Samson cross was met by the head of Todd Arthur and the Shipyard full back was unlucky to see the ball go narrowly wide. The Visitors were stunned and somewhat upset when Heriot Watt took the lead again in the 73rd minute. Heraghty looking to be in an offside position was able to lob the ball over Mushet and into the unguarded net and although the Shipyard players protested long and hard it was to no avail as the goal was given. However, the home teams lead was short lived as the Shippy were awarded a penalty three minutes later. There was no doubt about the award as Chris Smith blatantly impeded Shaun Keatings as he burst into the box, though somewhat surprisingly Smith was only cautioned for the offence. Once the dust had settled a composed Napier made no mistake from the spot. Stevenson who had been much quieter in the second half shot wide from a decent position and as the match moved into added time both teams almost won it. Firstly Shipyard sub Keith Buckley went agonisingly close when he headed a Masson corner just wide and with the last touch of the match there was a similar scenario at the other end with Uni sub Liam Walker doing likewise.
Myles was reasonably happy after the match as he reflected “I think the players showed tremendous character in the second half. We weren’t at our best in the first half and Heriot Watt deserved the lead at half time. We came out in the second half and looked a lot better. We were more solid defensively and that gave us a better foundation to attack. We went forward with a bit more purpose in the second half and put them under a lot more pressure. Overall I think that a draw was a fair result although both sides had chances in injury time to score a winner”.
Heriot Watt University: C. Saunders; M. Lynch; C. Smith; D. Kerr; A. Woolven; B. Hay; C. Stevenson; N. Laurenson; C. Milne (L. Walker); C. Donnelly; M. Heraghty. Unused Subs: C. Bell; D. Cairns; C. Sellars.
Burntisland Shipyard: J. Mushet; T. Arthur; E. Anderson ( C. Samson); A. Clark; A. MacDonald; B. Napier (D. Robertson); S. Keatings; C. Lowe; E. Henderson ( K. Buckley); K. Masson; JP McPhail. Unused Subs: B. Springhall & A. Doig.
Referee: C. Mack