Shippy beaten despite late comeback.
Despite a storming comeback that included a debut brace from Ben Anthony the Shipyard ultimately came up short against Oakley United at Blairwood Park on Saturday. It was a welcome return to action for the Shippy having not played a competitive match since November 23rd due to adverse weather conditions, and it showed as it took the Shipyard around seventy minutes to get going. The pitch was in poor condition at the outset and as the match wore on it deteriorated significantly as some areas turned into a quagmire with the players doing well to produce a decent game for the spectators. As mentioned previously Ben Anthony made his long-awaited debut following his signing from Thornton Hibs some weeks ago, however, the squad was stretched due to illness, injury and suspension with only three substitutes listed.
The Shippy fell behind as early as the eighth minute as Oakley moved the ball down the left-hand side and when the ball fell to Mark Allan, he lashed an angled drive into the roof of the net. The Shipyard had a let off with fourteen minutes on the clock after Jordan Galloway was dispossessed and they were relieved to see the Oakley player somewhat fluff his lines. A couple of Ian Millar long throw ins and a corner saw the visitors exert some pressure on the Oakley defence, however, play returned to the other end and Craig Martin saw his strike deflected for a corner and from the resultant set piece Allan shot off target. A Sam Glancy free-kick fell to Ross Lennie in the centre of the home box but unfortunately for the Shippy, the midfielder’s shot drifted just wide of the goal. Oakley doubled their lead on 32 minutes and from the Shipyard’s point of view it was poor as Martin was afforded a free header at the back post. Far to easy! Glancy lashed a loose ball over the bar on the stroke of half-time.
The Shipyard made a change at the break with Benn Hutchison replacing Galloway with the sub slotting into the middle of the park with Lennie moving to right back. Anthony saw his shot deflected as the Shipyard started the second period brighter before Oakley regained the ascendancy when John Harrison almost capitalised on a Millar error. The striker didn’t have to wait too long for his goal as the Shippy defence got themselves into a total fankle at an Oakley free-kick and Harrison had an easy finish at the back post. Michael Gibb saved well from Stuart Love just before Pete Bell replaced Andy Watt as the Shippy made another alteration to their formation. There was a slight delay as Oakley looked to make a substitution though apparently the player hoping to come on was not on the teamsheet, therefore he could not take any part in the game. The Shipyard started to dominate the game now and were pushing Oakley back with Lennie, Bell and Hutchison driving the Shipyard forward. The Shipyard pulled a goal back with ten minutes remaining as a flowing move up the right-hand side found Anthony and he drilled the ball across the keeper and into the far corner to notch his first Shipyard goal. Four minutes later the Shipyard were awarded a penalty when Reece Brown was scythed down as he burst into the box and Anthony made no mistake from the spot sending the keeper the wrong way. Oakley were on the ropes now and hanging on for dear life and they had their substitute keeper Aaron Jones to thank as he pulled off a sensational save to push away a thunderous Brown strike as the game moved into added time.
At the end of the day it was too little too late for the Shippy and very much a case of what might have been had the played with the same intensity for a bit more than fifteen minutes or so. They now move on to another Fife derby as we make the short journey to first foot Glenrothes on Saturday (04/01/2020). Kick-off at the Warout Stadium is 2.00pm.
Oakley United: S. Robertson (A. Jones), C. Runciman, R. Gruar, D. Kelly, G. Ironside, R. McGill, C. Martin, R. Gunn, S. Love, J. Harrison, M. Allan. Subs: J. Moon, D. House, C. Bennett, D. Patterson, B. McEwan.
Burntisland Shipyard: M. Gibb, J. Galloway (B. Hutchison), J. Finlay, S. Strang, I. Millar, S. Glancy, D. Allan, R. Lennie, B. Anthony, A. Watt (P. Bell), R. Brown. Unused Sub: R. Connor.
Referee: A. Gamble.