Hibs youngsters too strong for Shipyard.
Despite playing with ten men for 85 minutes the Hibernian youngsters had too much quality for the Shipyard on the day and ran out comfortable 4-0 winners. Surprisingly the home team did not seem too keen to play in the conditions but referee Maskell deemed the pitch perfectly playable, so it was game on. Although the underfoot conditions were perfect the howling gale and persistent heavy rain and sleet did make it difficult for the players. Mikey Couser having rejoined the club on loan from Alloa Athletic was in goal, however, trialist Mickey Cameron has moved on to become manager of Berwick Rangers.
The game got off to a sensational start as in the fifth minute Craig Lowe burst clear of the home defence only for centre back Robert Wilson to tug him back and the referee was left with no option but to dismiss the Hibs defender. Kevin Masson took the resultant free-kick but his shot was straight at Kleton Perntreou in the Hibs goal. In the 17th minute the home team changed their tactics and took off forward Jay Doyle and replaced him with Andrew Black. Come midway through the first half neither keeper had been called into action more than once as both teams struggled with the conditions. The Shipyard had a lucky escape in the 25th minute when Taylor Hendy engineered himself some space inside the box only to see the effort hit the inside of the post and roll along the line before the ball was cleared. Hibs were starting to dominate proceeding despite being a player short and in the 37th minute Craig McKay had to throw himself in front of a goal bound effort at the expense of a corner. It was Couser who came to the visitor’s rescue a minute later when he bravely dived at the feet of the Hibs forward and pushed the ball away for a corner though the homesters were somewhat hopeful that they should have been awarded a penalty. Couser was again in action just before half-time and he was well positioned to deal with Ryan Baptie’s free-kick from around 19 yards that he gathered easily.
The Shipyard had to make a change at the start of the second half as McKay injured himself when he made a bloke earlier. He was replaced by Alan Clark. Hibs took the lead in the 51st minute when a speculative shot from Jamie Beaton took a wicked deflection off a Shipyard player and left Couser helpless as the ball rolled into the net. By this stage Hibs were dealing far better than the Shipyard with the elements and it was no surprise when they increased their lead in the 58th minute. The Hibs player was given far too much time and space as he burst into the shipyard box from the left hand side and although Couser produced a fine save, the ball broke to Hendry who knocked the ball home from eight yards. You sensed that the home team were up for it now by their reaction to the goal as the Shipyard players seemed to want, what was a meaningless match in terms of qualification for them to end. Hibs scored a third goal in the 71st minute when a shot from the edge of the box took a deflection off a shipyard defender and landed at the feet of Scott Martin who was in splendid isolation in the middle of the area and he duly tucked the ball into the net. There was a question of him being in an offside position when the initial shot was made but the referee thought not so the goal stood. In the 75th minute Hibs were awarded a penalty when Andy MacDonald made a perfectly good tackle, won the ball and cleared it for a corner. Again the referee thought otherwise as he pointed to the spot. Although Couser dived the right way Baptie’s kick was to precise and powerful for him and the goal put the home side 4-0 ahead. Hibs dominated the latter stages of the match but they could not add to their tally as the visitors seemed glad to hear the final whistle.
Manager Myles Allan was none too impressed after the match when he said “In simple terms, we let ourselves down today. We had competed well against them in our previous two matches this season but today we sat off them and gave them far too much time and space to play. And when you let good footballers have time, they will cause you problems. The crazy thing is that the red card came as a direct result of us pressing them high and winning possession back in the attacking third. Then, as soon as they went down to 10 men, we went deeper and deeper and just let them come at us. He went on to add “If we put it in context, they are a very good side of full-time professionals and this was a meaningless match as far as we were concerned. However, I’d like to think that as a team, we’d have our pride to play for and that alone should be enough to drive you to perform. It’s unfortunate that we picked up three injuries and were forced into the changes we had to make as it limited what we could change in terms of players and formation. However, there are no excuses today as undoubtedly the better team won”.
Looking ahead Myles said “The guys have shown over the last couple of months though that they are more than capable of far better performances than they displayed today. I’m sure that they will be desperate to make amends next week against Ormiston”.
Teams: Hibernian: K. Perntreou; A. Dunsmore; R. Baptie; J. Beaton; R. Wilson; N. Martyniuk; E. Smith; S. Martin; J. Doyle (A. Black); T. Hendry; G. McCaffrey. Subs: D. Horne; L. Allan; D. Docherty; M. Todd.
Burntisland Shipyard: M. Couser; G. Bridges (A. Doig); P. Bell; B. Smart; C. McKay (A. Clark); K. Masson ( J. Crombie); J. Fyfe; C. Lowe; K. Buckley; A. MacDonald; D. Robertson. Subs: L. Henderson & J. Mushet.
Referee: K. Maskell.