Hibs made to work hard for victory.
If ever a match vindicated the club’s decision to join the East of Scotland League then the game against Hibernian was it. A healthy crowd and a competitive match against a Premiership u/20 side that the Shipyard held their own against for most of the ninety minutes proved the point. Great credit must go to Myles, Jason and the players for the way they went about their task. Sure it was a defeat but nobody of a Shipyard persuasion could have any complaints about how their team performed. There were two changes to the team that lost narrowly to Craigroyston with Dale Robertson and Pete Bell returning at the expense of Michael Morrison and Ewan Fotheringham.
The young Hibs team looked sharp in the early stages as the home side settled but it was the Shipyard who created the first chance when an excellent through ball from Brendan Napier sent Craig Lowe clear, however, Hibs defender Andrew Dunsmore was quick to block Lowe’s shot from just inside the area. The home side took the lead in the 11th minute and again it was Napier that supplied the pass, this time sending Robertson clear and he coolly lobbed the advancing Kleton Perntreou to find the net. Gavin Bridges saw a header from a corner go off target as the Shipyard looked for another. Craig Lowe almost got it but could not find the half yard of space he needed in a crowded box to get his shot away. The visitors were always dangerous and on a couple of occasions the Shipyard defenders had to make vital blocks to deny the Hibs forwards as several corners were conceded. Hibs drew level after 36 minutes when the ball fell to Cody Mulhall and he passed his left foot shot from the edge of the box into the corner of the net. Jordan Mushet in the Shipyard goals then saved well from Gareth McCaffrey and Ryan Baptie blasted over from a good position as Hibs took control. It was the Shipyard who had the final chance of the first half but Lowe failed to capitalise on a Robertson cut back.
Hibs were more dominant at the start of the second half and an early strike from Jamie Beaton was not far away. Just after the hour mark Bell had to make a goal line clearance that he managed to clear the bar with. Mulhall, probably Hibs most dangerous player then shot just over and shortly after Mushet saved with his legs from McCaffrey. Hibs took the lead with sixteen minutes remaining with a simple goal. Tom Gardiner rose highest to power home a header from a corner and although Mushet got a hand to it he could not keep it out. The Shipyard were now under a bit of pressure as the pace and fitness of the full time players began to show but they were not out of it and only a dubious offside call denied Kevin Masson a clear run on goal. Hibs tied up the match in the 87th minute when Mulhall again produced a fine finish to sweep the ball beyond Mushet after good build up down the Hibs left. Masson found himself free in the inside left channel but chose to square the ball to Lowe when perhaps he should have taken the shot on himself and in added time Masson was again involved as Perntreou pulled off a fine save from his fierce drive.
Despite losing the match the manager took a lot of positives from the match and Myles said “I don’t have any complaints about our performance tonight. I thought that our guys put in a great shift and acquitted themselves well against a very good side. It was a tight match and their fitness probably told in the second half. We created a few chances and while Dale took his goal well, we should maybe have scored at least one more and that may have changed the way the game went. The match has probably reinforced my opinion that Hibs will be at the top end of the table come the end of the season and also that we are capable of challenging too if we can play at that level on a consistent basis. He went on to say, no doubt giving a message to his squad “It’s vital that the players now play at a similar standard in our upcoming matches. There’s no point in raising our game just because it’s Hibs and there’s a decent crowd in. Successful teams are full of players that are motivated to win every match, regardless of the opposition. That’s the mentality that we will need”.
Teams: Burntisland Shipyard: Mushet; Bridges; Bell (Morrison); Clark; McKay; Blake (Crombie); Robertson; Lowe; Masson; Napier; Henderson (Sartarello). Unused Subs: Fotheringham; Connor.
Hibernian: Perntreou; Dunsmore; Martyniuk; Sinclair; Wilson; Gardiner; Black (Todd); Beaton; McCaffrey (Doyle); Mulhall; Baptie (Smith). Unused Subs: Horne; Paul.
Referee: J. Stokoe.