Lochee United 1 Penicuik Athletic 0

Match report by DeeMan

Lochee United finished off their season with a 1-0 home win over Penicuik Athletic, but what a fight they had to get the three points.

The Bluebells went down to 10 men with 25 minutes to play and had to battle all the way to hang on to their slender one-goal lead.

After two games without scoring, manager George Shields was able to recall Scott McComiskie and Bryan Deasley to add firepower, but his decimated squad included three trialists on the bench. Similarly, Penicuik also included two trialists.

And it was the visitors who started brightly, pinning Lochee back. On four minutes Kyle Sampson evaded Craig Smith and got himself into a shooting position, but Mark Fotheringham turned his shot round the post.

From the corner full back Darrell Young was given a free header but put his effort over the bar.

From another Penicuik corner Scott McCrory-Irving hammered in a low drive that was well saved by Fonzy.

It was 17 minutes before the home team were awarded their first corner, but the Midlothian side were soon at the other end and only two excellent blocks by Scott Webster prevented them from taking the lead. Fonzy then came to the rescue when he turned a searing drive from Callum Connolly round the post.

Lochee’s first goal attempt came on 24 minutes when Grant Lawson curled his shot narrowly past Kyle Allison’s left hand post.

Against the run of play the Bluebells took the lead on 27 minutes. The Penicuik defence failed to clear their lines and Stephen McNALLY drove the ball past the despairing Allison, who got a hand to it but couldn’t keep it out.

The goal seemed to energise the home team and they gradually fought their way into the game. Deasley had a shot across the face of goal and McComiskie sent in a cross that just evaded the inrushing Connor Birse.

The visitors were soon back on the attack, however, and when Webster was beaten out on the left it took a fine challenge by Danny Millar to clear the danger.

Sampson had the ball in the net for Penicuik four minutes from half time but the flag had gone up for offside.

Just on half time Deasley fired a McComiskie knockdown over the bar.

Penicuik started the second half determined to get back on level terms and Fonzy made a good save from McCrory-Irving, only to see the ball fall to Gary Hamilton, who somehow blazed his shot over the bar from point blank range.

Then it was Mcnally’s turn to save Lochee with a goal-line clearance.

The visiting side went even closer on 62 minutes when Connolly smashed a 20-yarder off the face of the Lochee bar.

Lawson relieved the pressure with a run that took him to the edge of the Penicuik box but his cut-back couldn’t find a teammate.

McComiskie then crossed for Birse but a defender got their first to knock the ball out for a corner. That was Birse’s last contribution as he was sent off minutes later, presumably for dissent.

So, Lochee had 25 minutes left to protect their lead and that is where the defence, and Millar in particular, came into their own. As Penicuik pressed for the equaliser, Millar made some outstanding interventions.

Up front, McComiskie was expertly holding the ball up and taking the pressure off and his pass to Lawson created a chance but Lawson’s shot was a weak one.

Fonzy then blocked a shot from the trialist substitute and Macca headed a dangerous ball clear. In the fourth minute of five added on by the referee, Smith put in a superb tackle on Sampson to prevent a very late equaliser.

There is no doubt Penicuik will feel aggrieved at coming away pointless from Thomson Park but great credit must go to Lochee for a spirited display and for playing for 25 minutes short-handed.

Man of the Match was the superb Danny Millar.

Lochee United: Fotheringham, Mcnally, Smith, Millar, Webster, McComiskie, Davie (Trialist 80), Lawson, Kirk, Birse, Deasley.

Penicuik Athletic: Allison, Young (Trialist 65), Williams, Hume, Hamilton, Connolly, McCrory-Irving, Jones, Sampson, Ponton, Baptie (Trialist 62).

Written on 26 May 2018