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Burntisland Shipyard 1 Preston Athletic 2

Own goal hits the Shipyard hard.

The Shipyard narrowly lost out to their Lowland League opponents in the 2nd round of the Image Printers East of Scotland Cup. Bad luck again hurt the Shipyard, as what turned out to be the winning goal was a clearance that hit a defender’s face and spun into the net. Both teams played some decent football in the difficult conditions in what was an entertaining match. Manager Myles Allan had an almost full squad to choose from and made changes from last week with Kevin Masson returning from suspension and new signing JP McPhail was given his first start.

The Shipyard had the strong wind behind them in the first half and McPhail had a chance in the 10th minute at the edge of the box but the ball would not sit up for him and his eventual shot was wide of the target. The Shipyard had a let off in the 15th minute when the Preston players thought the ball had crossed the line for a goal, however, the referee blew for offside and the Shipyard players closest to the incident were adamant that the ball had not crossed the line in any case. McPhail had another good chance shortly after as he moved into the box and with the keeper coming out to meet him he chose to hit his shot along the ground when a lobbed effort might have paid dividends. As play swung to the other end Jordan Mushet held a shot from Ryan Moore and a couple of minutes later Sean Martin headed wide from a Steven Philp cross. In the 22nd minute Gavin Bridges made good ground down the Shipyard right and his cross was met by Masson but keeper John Gilbertson read his flick and saved easily. The Shipyard continued to match the opponents from what is effectively two divisions above them and Brendan Napier was next to try his luck when he showed good feet at the edge of the box but his shot lacked the power and direction to trouble Gilbertson. Alan Clark showed great bravery as he threw his body in front of a goal bound Preston effort but the Shipyard defence was breached the following minute. A cross from the Preston right beat Mushet and took a deflection of a Shipyard leg, the ball may have been going in but James Reilly was on hand at the back post to make sure.

Preston started strongly in the second half as Mushet had to look sharp to hold a long range strike and Sean Martin fired wide from a good position. Napier replied for the Shipyard in the 56th minute as he drove into the Preston box but his shot could not find the target. Napier again troubled the visitors defence as he broke forward but half hearted appeals for handball were quickly waved away by the referee. The Shipyard appealed again for handball in the 73rd minute when substitute Dale Robertson’s cross appeared to strike a hand but the referee deemed it was unintentional. From the resultant corner Blair Smart just failed to make good contact with his head from inside the six yard box. Disaster struck the Shipyard three minutes later when Preston doubled their lead. With the goal mouth packed following a corner, Clark’s clearance from the goal line hit Smart in the face and rebounded into the net. Smart needed treatment afterwards such was the force of the ball hitting him. Sean Martin shot just over from 18yards with ten minutes remaining and had that gone in it would have been game over. However, a few minutes later it was game on again as Masson scored with a free-kick from the edge of the box, with his shot going in off Gilbertson’s left hand post. The Shipyard pushed forward and forced a couple of corners but Preston held on and advance to the next round where they will be at home to Whitehill Welfare.

Myles was upbeat after the match when he said “I’m maybe guilty of seeing the game through biased eyes but I don’t think that there was anything between the sides today. I thought that we competed well all over the pitch and played some decent football in conditions that weren’t ideal”. He added “To have a dressing room full of guys who are disappointed not to take anything from a game against a good Lowland League side shows the progress that we’re making on the park. We’ll still have our inconsistencies due to the young age of the squad but if we can put in performances like that more often then we’ll have more good days than bad”.

Teams: Burntisland Shipyard: J. Mushet; G. Bridges; L. Henderson; B. Smart; A. Clark; A. MacDonald; A. Doig (D. Robertson); C. Lowe; K. Masson; B. Napier; JP. McPhail (R. Sartarello). Unused Subs: C. McKay; P. Bell; S. Blake.

Preston Athletic: J. Gilbertson; M. Stewart (M. Osbourne); D. O’Hara (M. Cherrie); K. Dodd; B. Foster; K. Morrison; R. Moore (D. Thomson); S. Philp; S. Martin; P. Devlin; J. Reilly.

Referee: B. Reid.