Leith too good for rusty Shipyard
This match was like a rusty old coaster against a slick well oiled cruise liner as the Shipyard had no answer the quality on show from Leith Athletic as the home side ran out easy 7-1 winners. Although manager Whitehead had nineteen players to choose from it was evident from the start that the fact the team had not played since 17th November was going to show, particularly as Leith had played three friendlies over the festive period. Lee Small, Gordon Grieve and Craig Hatton all returned to the starting eleven with Liall Robertson and Steven McAndrew taking a place on the bench.
Leith went close in the third minute when a header from a corner flashed just wide of the far post. The first goal did not take long to come when in the 6th minute the Shipyard defence was posted missing a cross from the right hand side was tapped in at the back post by Kyle Boggie. As Leith dominated the early stages Martyn Melia pulled off a good save from Boggie before he was beaten again in the 13th minute. He was left totally exposed as Stuart Gray missed a cross into the box and Craig Hume had the easy task of placing the ball in the net. The Shipyard tried to fight back and a Paul Ferrier cross was deflected away from Craig Hatton. Then when Hatton crossed to Lee Small, his shot was saved by Leith keeper Iain Gordon. Athletic went three up in the 25th minute when again a cross from the right hand side was not dealt with and Christopher Beaten finished easily. Ferrier miscued a volleyed effort in the 32nd minute and the Shipyard were punished as Leith went up the park and scored their fourth goal. This time Hume showed good close control in the box and scored with a fine finish. Melia did superbly so save from Boggie as he bore down on goal, then the Shipyard got a foot hold in the game as Ferrier burst clear of the Leith defence and coolly slotted the ball beyond Gordon. The Shipyard won a free-kick in a decent position but Gray could not get his effort on target.
Boggie again went close for Leith at the start of the second half as he lobbed Melia but also cleared the bar as well. The Shipyard then had their best spell of the match as twice Gray tested Gordon from long range. Melia was then test twice in quick succession and both times was up to the task as he produced fine stops. Gordon Grieve then shot straight at Gordon and then substitute Liall Robertson turned well but saw his shot drift wide of the post. The Shipyard were now starting to tire and Leith took full advantage and scored two goals in as many minutes as firstly, Hume was on hand to knock the ball into the net after his initial shot hit the post and rolled back across the face of goal. Some intricate passing inside the Shipyard box ended with Stephen Barrie scoring from twelve yards out. Gordon then pulled off a fantastic save when he blocked gray’s close range shot after good build up between Robertson and Ferrier. Leith continued to dominate and threatened every time they went forward with Melia outstanding as he thwarted them time and time again. He was beaten only once more with four minutes left when substitute Jack Combe turned the ball in from close range to make the final score 7-1. Manager Billy Whitehead was naturally very disappointed after the game and was correct when he said “Leith is the best team by a mile in this division, their passing movement and general football was first class.” He went on to say “We were very rusty today and in hindsight we should tried to get at least one game under our belts before resuming our league campaign today. However, we will not thankfully face a side of that quality every week”.
Leith Athletic: Gordon; C. Barrie; Hall; Lowson; Tainsh; Lynch; S. Barrie; Cairns; Boggie; Hume; Beaton. Subs: Combe; Cornago; Thom; Stevens; Tulloch.
Burntisland Shipyard: Melia; Brown (McAndrew); Brough; Gray; Whyte; Small;
Hamilton (L. Robertson); Napier; Ferrier (McCue); Hatton; Grieve. Unused Subs: Lamont; S. Robertson.
Referee: G. Kennedy.