Shipyard disappointed with draw despite late comeback.
Coming away from Leith disappointed to only draw the match is a sign of how far the Shipyard have progressed under the leadership of Grant Brough and his staff. In previous season’s, going 3-1 behind would have resulted in a heavy defeat, however, this Shippy squad is made from sterner stuff and after drawing level with seven minutes remaining, they created chances to win the match despite the unjust red card shown to Dean Anderson.
Buoyed by the Fife Cup win the Shipyard arrived at Peffermill in confident mood as they looked to gather as many points as possible in the final three games. That confidence was not evident on the park in the early stages as Leith dominated with Kern Hutchison heading wide in the 3rd minute. A Callum McAulay free-kick was on target but it was easily held by keeper Campbell McLellan. Ryan Adamson saved low down from Daniel Harvey in the 9th minute but Harvey was not to be denied a minute later as he evaded a couple of half-hearted challenges before firing the ball into the corner of the net from a tight angle. Adamson was in action once more as he again saved low down to concede a corner. Fine build up between McAulay and Sean Johnstone set up a chance for Shipyard top scorer John Martin but the big striker could not find the target from a good position. The Shippy drew level in the 23rd minute when Martin collected a Johnny Galloway pass, rounded the keeper before producing a composed finish as the Leith defence tried to block the shot. Johnstone had a good chance on the half hour, however, McLellan was alive to the lobbed effort and clawed the ball out of the air. Leith hit back and Pete Bell had to be alert to clear a dangerous cross and he was in the right place again to clear the danger after Adamson fumbled the ball. Johnstone had an opportunity very similar to his previous one and again McLellan denied the striker although this time Johnstone got a foot to the loose ball but he could not keep the ball down. On the stroke of half-time trialist Andrew Dempster shot narrowly wide for the home team as it finished all square at the interval.
The Shipyard were caught cold at the start of the second half as they conceded within three minutes. The ball was only partially cleared to the edge of the box and Johnny Pennel smashed the ball into the net giving Adamson no chance. To say the Shippy were irate five minutes later would be an understatement. The referee chose to ignore what appeared to be two clear fouls on shipyard players as Leith built an attack and salt was rubbed into the wounds when the ball ended up in the Shipyard net. This setback galvanised the visitors and they kept pushing to get back into the game and only a last-ditch clearance from Neill Middleton denied Martin what would surely have been a tap in. The Shippy got a goal back in the 73rd minute when Galloway volleyed in from eight yards following a McAulay corner. Johnstone should have got his team level in the 78th minute but he dragged his shot into the side netting. At the other end Sonny Swanson shot wide but with seven minutes remaining the Shipyard deservedly drew level when Johnstone and Martin set up Sandy Strang who blasted the ball into the net sparking delight among the Shipyard contingent. Johnstone had a chance to win it for the Shipyard but he shot just wide. The Shipyard had to play the last few minutes with 10 men after Dean Anderson apparently said something to the referee. Whatever he said it could not have been any worse than what had gone before which made the decision very hard to comprehend. Despite being a man short the Shippy still tried to go forward and win the match, however, the match finished all square meaning the first draw for the Shipyard in the league this season.
Manager Brough was full of praise for his players after the game when he said “Today I felt the boys showed great character to come back from going 3-1 down and I have massive respect for them as we were concerned they would suffer a cup final hangover after Tuesday night’s win”. Looking ahead to the remaining fixtures he said “We have got two games left and our target now is a minimum of three points that will guarantee us eighth place and if we get the same application and commitment from the players that was on show today, then I’m confident that 8th place can be secured”.
The Shipyard are on the road again next week with Peebles the destination with kick-off at Whitestone Park 2.30pm.
Leith Athletic: C. McLellan, J. Pennel, C. Pont, L. Smith, N. Middleton, D. Garvey, A. Dempster, J. Redpath (L. Griffin), L. Ritchie (O. Anderson), K. Hutchison (S. Hay), S. Swanson. Unused Subs: B. Mackenzie, R. Surgeon.
Burntisland Shipyard: R. Adamson, R. O’Donnell, P. Bell, D. Anderson, R. Lennie, S. Strang, R. Brown (B. Breen), C. McAulay, J. Martin, Jon. Galloway, S. Johnstone. Unused Subs: R. Kinnaird, S. Powrie, Jor. Galloway, C. Anderson, R. Connor.
Referee: A. Hogg.