Thrilling comeback secures first win.
Could this have been the turning point of the Shippy season? You wouldn’t have thought so as the game entered the final 15 minutes. Sure the students were down to 10 men after Ryan Higgins had needlessly picked up second yellow card when he blocked a quickly taken free-kick. But when Anton Dowds missed the target with a header to complete his hat-trick it must have flicked a switch with the Shipyard players as they laid siege to the Heriot Watt goals and scored three times in a ten minute spell to stun the visitors and take their first three points of the season. The Shipyard hadn’t played that badly in the first 75 minutes having created some decent chances, however, the goals conceded were disappointing. A free header from a corner and a free-kick from distance gave Dowds his brace but both goals could have been defended better.
Marcus Taylor’s return from injury could not have been better timed as he replaced the suspended Cammy Lambie between the sticks and Marc Black also made a welcome return from injury as he slotted in at the centre of defence. With no fewer than five players missing through injury three trialists were given their chance to shine.
The game was fairly even in the opening exchanges with both teams only creating half chances and it was not until the 33rd minute that a clear cut opportunity arose when Sean Cusick just failed to connect with a Ryan Calder cross. At the other end Black diverted a Dowds shot onto the post and out for a fruitless corner.
Heriot Watt broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute with Dowds first goal and the Shippy responded well to this setback, having a shout for handball in the area before keeper Craig Saunders produced a great fingertip save to deny Calder. The Shipyard’s task then got doubly difficult when Dowds struck his second after the students were awarded a free-kick some 25 yards from goal. The big strikers shot was well placed as it found the corner of the net but the Shippy wall might have done better. The Shipyard were handed a lifeline when Higgins saw red but it was the visitors who went close through Dowds again.
The home team were back in it when recent signing Scott Powrie lashed the ball home at the back post after Black’s cross fell to him. With 13 minutes remaining it was game on. It was all square in the 83rd minute when Lee Halpin caused problems in the Heriot Watt box and Sean Cusick was on hand to hit the ball home. Three minutes later the Shipyard were awarded a penalty when Ben Jenkins was brought down just inside the box. Once the dust had settled after Heriot Watt complained vociferously about the award, Cusick kept his composure to send Saunders the wrong way from the spot to give his team the lead with three minutes remaining. The students responded as you would expect and it took a fabulous save from Taylor to keep his team ahead. The delight as the final whistle was blown was there for all to see as the Shipyard players celebrated not just their first league win of the season but a fantastic comeback in this match.
The Shipyard are on their travels on Saturday 28th January as we make the long journey to face Coldstream.
Burntisland Shipyard: M. Taylor, S. Powrie, G. McNab, S. Wilson, M. Black, B. Jenkins, R. Calder (K. Ford), C. Drury, L. Halpin, S. Cusick, E. Fotheringham.
Heriot Watt University: C. Saunders, S. Dargo, T. Maher, A. Woolven, A. Quinn, C. Lane, H. Warner, R. Higgins, A. Dowds, J. Barker, C. Smith. Subs: A. Breen, A. Imray, L. Walker.
Referee: J. Bell.