Dazza dazzles in dominant display.
The Shippy gathered another three points on Saturday as visitors Preston Athletic were beaten 4-1 at Recreation Park, in what was the last game of 2020. The win pushed the Shipyard up to fifth place in the league and things are getting tight at the top as the pack chase down leaders Heriot Watt University. The Uni do have a healthy lead, however, they have played three or four games more than most. All the damage was done in the first half as the Anthony brothers grabbed all the goals with Darrell notching a hat-trick and Ben netting the other, while Marc Malloy scored for the visitors. Preston imposed themselves more after the interval but never really threatened to reduce the deficit, indeed it was the Shipyard who created and missed the best chances in the second half. Nathan Laird and Shaun Keatings replaced Dean Hunter and Tyler McKenzie from the starting eleven last time out at Eyemouth with Iain Millar and Dale Allan returning from injury to take a place on the bench.
The first chance fell to the Shipyard in the 3rd minute when Ben Anthony ran on to a through ball only to see his effort blocked at the edge of the box. The deadlock was broken in the 8th minute when Ben set up Darrell and despite his initial shot being saved by keeper David Livie the rebound fell kindly for him and he smashed the ball home. Preston forced Michael Gibb into a good save in the 23rd minute before the young keeper was in the spotlight again a minute later. Keatings was adjudged to have committed a foul in the box with the referee pointing to the spot. Gibb pulled off a great save to deny Joe Murray, however, he was beaten by Molloy who was quick to react to the loose ball. Preston weren’t level for long as the Shippy regained the lead in the 28th minute. Reece Brown did well down the righthand side and when he crossed into the box D. Anthony blasted the ball beyond Livie. Darrell completed his hat-trick a few minutes later when his shot from the edge of the box took a deflection leaving the keeper helpless. Brown shot into the side netting a minute later as the Shippy threatened to run riot. The visitors had a chance in the 42nd minute when the forward beat Gibb to a ball in the air and as the headed effort drifted wide appeals for another penalty as the players collided were dismissed. As the game moved into added time the Shipyard scored a fourth as B. Anthony drove forward and fired the ball into the corner of the net from around twenty yards.
A half time talking to from the manager seemed to invigorate Preston and they played with a lot more determination and got on the front foot more often, though Gibb was never tested as the back four in front of him was dealing with everything that came their way. Jay Bridgeford headed over a Raymond Crichton cross in the 55th minute and the youngster was off target again after B. Anthony set him up with a shooting opportunity. Keatings looked set to score before some brave defending blocked his effort after B. Anthony squared the ball to him and although it appeared Ben was impeded as he worked his way into the area the referee was not interested in the half-hearted penalty appeals. Just before the end some heroic defending denied the Shipyard a fifth as B. Anthony saw his shot following a corner cleared off the line, and when the ball looped up substitute Iain Millar saw his header blocked and then the big left back was foiled again as his shot was blocked.
The action takes a break next week but we will return in the new year as Glenrothes first foot us on Saturday 2nd January 2021 with the match kicking off at 2pm. Unfortunately, this match will also be played behind closed doors.
Burntisland Shipyard: M. Gibb; M. Miller (R. O’Donnell); R. Crichton (I. Millar); N. Laird; G. Ross; S. Strang; S. Keatings; D. Anthony (T. McKenzie); B. Anthony; R. Brown (J. Mackenzie); J. Bridgeford. Unused Subs: S. Costello; D. Allan; J. Galloway.
Preston Athletic: D. Livie; K. Austin; C. Innes; M. O’Connor; R. Young; D. Pennycuick; K. Jack; B. Bathgate; J. Edmond; J. Murray; M. Molloy. Subs: J. Jardine; E. Williams; M. Hamilton; J. Chapman; M. Forsyth; N. Stokes; B. Bain.
Referee: C. Newman.