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East of Scotland Cup

Saturday 17 February

Harthill Royal 2-6(1-2) Whitburn Juniors

Harthill: Grier, Mcintosh(Minnock 55), Mcallister, Baillie, Suchinskyj(Craig 45), Taylor, Kinchant, Mackie(Brown 78), Richford, Johnston, Bonnes
Whitburn: Penman, Hamilton, McQueenie, Forrest, Greig, Milton(Runciman 65), Tomaszewski, Russell(Graham 87), Brass, J Thomson, A Thomson(Taylor 62), Subs: Chisholm, Allan

Today’s pitch was passed playable even though at the start the surface looked pitted in large areas and was very soft. As it would get progressively work, it looked as though it could be a leveller as Premier League Whitburn were visiting South Division’s Harthill. Jordan Thomson, however, was the first player to have a chance when put in on the 9th minute but he attempted a shot from outside the box which lacked power and was easily saved. Straight up the other end it was the underdogs that took the lead when Craig Johnston got into the box and fired the ball into the net – could an upset be on the cards? This question was partially answered in the negative a minute later when Martin Russell played in Gary Brass also on the right and he likewise found the net. This settled Whitburn and they started to play some nice passing football despite the underfoot conditions. Harthill showed little in attack but forced a corner in the 27th minute which was taken short by Levi Kinchant but blocked back to him whereupon he hit a better ball in which James Penman knocked over the bar. On the half hour Whitburn were ahead when Russell scored at the second attempt when he got on the end of a Jack Hamilton free kick. The final action of the half happened with 3 minutes to go when, following a corner, John Paul Greig hit a shot from the edge of the box which keeper Jonathan Grier seemed to tip over but the referee gave a bye kick.

Whitburn’s nerves were settled the first minute into the second haf when Lewis Milton picked up the ball in midfield and took the ball for a walk before unleashing a great shot from 35 yards that found the top corner. 5 minutes later the victory looked even more certain when Brass was brought down by Grier (who otherwise went unpunished) and scored from the spot kick. Harthill being unable to cope with the pace of the visiting forwards and allowed another through ball, this time to Jordan Thomson whose shot was saved by Grier  but the ball rebounded to Andy Thomson and he found the empty net. Whitburn continued to knock the ball about well with their 4 goal cushion and looked the more likely to add to their tally which they did with 15 minutes to go when Russell tried a speculative shot from the edge of the box which passed through a mass of players and went in at the post with Grieg unsighted. As the ball went in quite slowly it seemed it may have hit a player and the referee actually awarded the goal to Greig so maybe if did also get slightly deflected that could explain how the keeper couldn’t quite reach it. On the final whistle Harthill notched a surprise second when Penman could only knock a wide free kick onto the bar and a combination of Johnston and Kyle Richford knocked the ball into the net.

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