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Saturday 26 March

Whitburn Juniors 1-1 (HT: 0-0) Blackburn

Whitburn: Horne, Hamilton, Hogarth, Skinner, Porteous, M Russell(Adams 75), Taylor, Martin, K Russell(Walton 75), Brass, Bain(Wilson 75), Subs: Moyes, Chambers
Blackburn: Mitchell, Greig, Meekison, Mildrew, Lawrie, Williamson, Miller(Dugan 67), Spence, Nicholson(Hamilton 82), Campbell(Trialist 77), McDowall, Subs: Smith, McLaren

Another must win game for Whitburn and this one was against near neighbours who had beaten them in the first game of the season with a last minute goal. With much rain overnight and continuing during the day there must have been a little doubt about the game going ahead but it did (and the pitch looked a mess after it!). Whitburn started off very brightly and looked to dominate, which they did successfully for most of the first half as they penned Blackburn in their own half for much of it. The first chance came from a Kris Russell cross whcih keeper Darren Mitchell handled well under pressure from James Martin. K Russell had the next chance 3 minutes later when he received a cut back from Dewi Taylor after a good run down the right but he blasted over. On the quarter hour from a deep free kick Gary Brass headed the ball to Taylor who fed K Russell but a defender reacted to boot the ball out. There followed a succession of corners all of which were dangerous but none of which could find the net. A moment of controversy arrived in the 27th minute when Danny Campbell just beat Adam Porteous to a long ball and went down in the box but the referee decided against the penalty. On the half hour the siege of the away goal continued, K Russell again shooting but this time his on target shot deflected over for another corner which ended with a Brass header straight athe keeper. Great interplay just after between Brass and Taylor allowed K Russell in again wide on the left but he rather sclaffed his effort and it flew quite wide - a back post cross might have brought better reward. With a minute to go Jack Hamilton tried a speculative shot from wide on the right 40 yards out but Mitchell back tracked to grab it and held on under pressure to deny what would have been a freak goal. Then just on the half ex Whitburn man Fraser Spence hit a great shot which went just over though Dougie Horne had it covered.

6 minutes into the second half a fine Russell Hogarth free kick was just missed at the back post and thankfully for Blackburn it also went just wide. Almost immediately Campbell forced a save from Horne. Around the hour Blackburn had two decent chances when Barry Nicholson shot wide and Greig Skinner headed clear a Spence shot. In the 63rd minute K Russell was unlucky not to score when he chased a good wide ball and made space for a shot which agonisingly hit the post and was cleared. As so often happens Blackburn replied minutes later when the ball fell to Ross Williamson (who was sent of minutes later) on the edge of the box after a failed clearance and his shot found the back of the net. From the restart a great Martin pass found Brass out wide and he drove to the bye line and cut back to Taylor but his shot was blocked by the keeper. Porteous was sent off to even things up in the 27th minute when a clumsy challenged up ended a rushing Campbell who was moving into a goal scoring position. The free kick tamely hit the wall. Sub Sean Duggan could have won the game for his side a minute later but Horne saved his shot at his post. Jason Walton, Michael Adams and Dean Wilson then came on to replace Martin Russell, Jordan Bain and Kris Russell and normal service was resumed. Still the visitors defended resolutely and it looked as though Whitburn would lose their 4th game but Wilson slammed the ball into the net with 5 minutes to go when he latched on to a Brass knock down to level the scores. Try as they might Whitburn couldn't get another and both teams had to settle for the point - probably the fairest result in the end.

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