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Saturday 18 November

Whitburn Juniors 4-0(2-0) Kirriemuir Thistle

Whitburn: Allan, Wilson, Runciman, G Hamilton, Greig, Chisholm, Tomaszewski(J Hamilton 69), Russell, Brass(McQueenie 61), J Thomson(A Thomson 55)Taylor, Subs: Martin, Milton
Kirriemuir: Diamond, McKenna(Cruickshank 58), Drumm, Archibald, Lannen, Farquharson, Kerrigan(Duffy 81), Russell, Njie(Fleming 69), Fairweather, Millar, Subs: Brand

Whitburn with a win today knew they could potentially move themselves away from a relegation spot and also go above their opponents, if results elsewhere went their way (of course they didn't!). The pitch required an early morning inspection after the battering it took two weeks ago, which, it passed but it looked extremely heavy and looked as though it might be a leveller (which, in the end, it didn't). It was Kirriemuir who threatened first when, in the second half Abdourahman Njie forced a good block from Jordan Allan as he shot from the right and then made another save as Stewart Russell headed the corner at him. The game, which had been pretty tedious up till this point, burst into life for the hosts midway through the half when a nice piece of play eventually resulted in the ball coming to Jordan Thomson who shot wildly past from a good position. The opening goal would come just after when good work up the right ended in a Dewi Taylor cross looping up following a deflection and being judged well by Martin Russell who headed the ball into the top corner. A long ball was handled in the 34th minute better by Greg Fairweather and Njie than the home defence as the latter fed the former but his shot was easily saved by a well positioned Allan. 2 minutes from the half a Brass penalty doubled the lead in fine style after Taylor was brought down in the box after he chased an equally fine diagonal Russell through ball. Immediately after this and down the other end the ball fell to Njie whose shot was blocked for a corner. From this the Kirrie Russell got another header in which was cleared off the line by Callum Runciman.

The second half started well for Whitburn as by the 4th minute a raking shot from 12 yards by Gary Brass had found the net courtesy of good work down the right. This seemed to knock the stuffing out of Kirriemuir though on the hour Fairweather (who looked their best player) went on a great long run but his shot was blocked without troubling Allan. They were also abetted by the referee who seemed to see any contact whatsoever as a foul as they were given at least 5 free kicks in and around the box but could take no advantage. Perhaps the oddest decision came in the 73rd minute when a long ball was chased by Andy Thomson, on as a sub, and when he reached it he was one v one with the keeper, the referee blew the whistle. We all thought, offside, no way since he clearly wasn't - view the referee shared, but he had brought it back as a free kick against Jack Hamilton just inside the home half. Mind boggling as the referee had (to his credit, played advantage the whole game prior to and after that. No advantage here! Thomson would, however, only be delayed 10 minutes as he latched on to a Runciman ball and side footed past the advancing keeper, his pace obviously too much for the tiring Kirriemuir defenders. He almost did it again just before the end but this time the keeper got enough on it to deflect it to a defender and the ball was cleared, In the end a fine performance in very trying conditions.

Pictures below by Ann Haddow.

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