Blackburn Utd 2-4 Broxburn Athletic
Purdie Worldwide Stadium
EOSFL Premier Division
Broxburn Athletic took the bragging rights in the West Lothian Derby with a 4-2 win over Blackburn. First half goals from Ross Allum and David Greenhill and a second half double from Cameron Ross were enough for the points despite a Martin Lawrie penalty in each half. A late flurry of red cards saw the hosts finish with nine men, while the visitors were down to ten.
This was my first visit to the Purdie Worldwide Stadium and while it may not have the character of some of the more traditional grounds, there’s plenty to like about the place. It’s a modern facility with multiple pitches served by a community centre building. Access is easy, with plenty of parking space and inside the ground is compact and well kept. The playing surface is the latest generation synthetic which looks immaculate. Spectator accommodation consists of a modest stand on the touchline opposite the dug outs, providing shelter from the elements. Thankfully on this occasion, there was no need to take cover, the weather fair & sunny but with a stiff breeze that took the edge off the temperature wihout affecting the game too much. Both sides matched up like-for-like with 4-4-2 formations.
Blackburn started the day unbeaten, and the confidence was evident in the side right from kick-off, the hosts pushing forward with the front two of Campbell and McQuillan causing a few problems in the opening minutes. The breakthrough came on fifteen minutes when Richard Hutton was upended in the penalty box and Lawrie stepped up to take the spot-kick, firing into the top corner and sending Wallace the wrong way.
There wasn’t much between the sides in the first half hour, most of the game played in midfield as both teams looked to get the upper hand and gain some dominance. Broxburn got themselves level on the half hour, after a bit of a scramble in the goal mouth, Ross Allum getting the final touch, bundling the ball over the line to make it one each.
The two teams still looked pretty even at this point, Broxburn probably looked at their best when they got the ball wide and they were able to put crosses into the box whereas Blackburn were a wee bit more direct looking to exploit the strength and the power at their front two. Both sides were forced into first half changes due to injury, first Broxburn lost Townsley to be replaced by Harrison, before Campbell limped off for Blackburn Kieran Sweeney coming on in his place.
Broxburn took the lead on thirtyeight minutes, Greenhill firing into the bottom corner to finish off a fine team move and give his side the lead. The game was pretty open as we headed to half-time, Broxburn maybe just edging it although Blackburn did have two really good chances to level up before the break: first was a run from deep, Andy McQuillan finding himself one on one with the keeper and the second a free kick from distance played in with pace, but on both occasions, Wallace was equal to it and the hosts went in a goal down at the break.
Broxburn started the second half with their tails up and increased their lead almost immediately after the break with a speculative effort from wide from Cammy Ross. His cross-come-shot was probably helped a wee bit by the wind, as the ball looped over the keeper and found its way into the top corner. At this point Broxburn were good value for their lead and the longer the game went on, the more they looked in control. The game was starting to suffer a little thanks to some fussy refereeing. To his credit, he seemed to get most of the big decisions right, but he was blowing for the least wee thing, and it was disruption the rhythm of the match.
Blackburn gave themselves a lifeline on fiftysix minutes with another penalty, Devine bundled over in the box. It looked pretty clear cut, but the referee had to go and consult with his linesman before pointing at the spot and once again Martin Lawrie stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to make it 3-2. At this point the game looked like it was still in the balance although Broxburn always looked the more likely to add to their lead the longer the game went on. They finally put the game to bed on eighty five minutes, Ross finding himself one on one with the keeper, confidently slotting home to make the points safe.
With just a couple of minutes left on the watch, the game took a bizarre twist with a mass rammy on the far touchline. It started off with a bit of handbags between Lennon Smith and Gordon Donaldson. Smith reacted badly to a tackle and suddenly all hell broke loose, with everyone in the park getting involved, including both benches. The referee had a bit of sorting out to do and when the dust settled, he showed a red card to both players and at least one of the Broxburn bench. The game had no sooner re-started, when Martin Lawrie pulled down Ross on the edge of the box as he threatened to cut through the entire defence, and he too got his marching orders. It was a bit of a surprise ending as it really hadn’t been that kind of game. In the end, everybody just looked glad to get finished and get off the park, and Broxburn headed home with a well-earned win.
Man Of The Match: Cameron Ross was at the centre of everything good for Broxburn, full of energy & running. There was a touch of fortune about his first goal, but his second was the pick of the bunch and he was on for a hat-trick if he hadn’t been fouled in the last minute.
See the full match gallery HERE