Broxburn Athletic 3-2 Jeanfield Swifts
Albyn Park, Broxburn
East of Scotland League, Conference C
Broxburn seized the advantage at the top of Conference C thanks to an 87th minute Cammy Ross winner at Albyn Park.
The hosts had lead twice through Miller and Ross, but Davies levelled both times, before Ross' late strike inflicted Swifts first league defeat of the season.
As the season moves into its decisive phase, it couldn't be closer at the top of the table, and with both of these sides very much in the running to win the conference and claim the play-off spot, the three points could prove vital for Athletic.
It was a hectic start to the game, both sides creating early openings. Burn were quickest off their mark, Zander Miller's strike putting the hosts ahead in the 9th minute after some quick build-up play. Swifts reply was, well, swift - Rhys Davies nodding home the equaliser from Connor McLaren's cross just 5 minutes later.
The first half was a bit of a frantic affair, both sides scrapping for dominance in the middle of the park. There's next to nothing between these two in the league table, and it showed on the field. The sides were cancelling each other out to a certain extent: Athletic edging it in terms of possession, but Swifts looking the more dangerous on the break. With so much at stake, the midfield battle was the key to the game and the sides picked up a booking apiece - Harrison for the hosts and Simpson for the visitors - as they tried to get the upper hand.
As half-time approached, 'Burn were starting to enjoy a sustained period of pressure, the visitors unable to get out of their own half. The signs were there when Donaldson's header hit the bar and the finally pressure paid off in the 39th minute, Ross claiming his first of the match, curling it into the net directly from a corner kick. Nimmo got a final touch to make sure, but it looked like the ball had already crossed the line and Ross was awarded the goal to give his side a narrow lead at the break.
What ever Ross Gunnion said to the Swifts at half-time, it did the trick because the visitors came out flying right from the whistle. Within 60 seconds of the re-start, Swifts were level, Fergus' low cross beating keeper Wallace and there was Davies sliding in at the back post to bundle it over the line for his second of the game.
The second half was a mirror image of the first, Jeanfield bossing possession but Broxburn carrying the greater threat on the counter attack. Nimmo went close from the tightest of angles at one end, and only a last ditch tackle stopped Holden from pinching it at the other. Connor McLaren was coming more into the game, driving forward on the Swifts left side and carving out a string of chances. They couldn't make the pressure pay off though and Athletic began to look stronger as the clock ticked down.
The home side thought they had won it five minutes from time, when Ross fired into the net from the left hand edge of the box, but the linesman's flag was already up. With Broxburn still pleading their case, Swift broke quickly but the shot from substitute Holden went just past the post with Mitchell beaten. If the off-side flag was a warning to Swifts, they didn't heed it and just moments later they were caught out with a carbon copy move, but this time the flag stayed down for Ross to slide home the winner with just three minutes left on the watch.
The win extends Broxburn's lead at the top of Conference C, although they have payed more games than most of the sides below them. It's the first time this season that Swifts have lost in the league and the result leaves the Perth side third in the table albeit with three games in hand over the leaders and two over second placed Linlithgow, who could only draw at home to Ormiston. Conference C is the tightest of the three in the East of Scotland League, and there are sure to be more twists & turns during the run-in. 'Burn have another home game next week when St Andrews are the visitors, while Swifts will be on their travels once more with a trip to Preston.
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