Jeanfield Swifts 2-1 Tranent
Jeanfield emerged victorious over 10-men Tranent in a nail-biter at the Riverside. Chris Mcleish’s penalty on the stroke of half-time gave the hosts the lead at the interval. Stephen MacDonald scored early in the second half to bring the visitors level, but Fraser Smith struck back immediately to give Swifts all three points.
Swifts gaffer Ross Gunion was without a couple of first team regulars, Simpson and Connor McLaren missing through suspension and went with a diamond in midfield.
In the away dugout, Calvin Shand started with Bradley Barrett and Ian Black on the bench and Tranent lined up with a traditional 4-4-2.
Tranent were quickest to settle into their stride and were pushing forward in search of an early goal. It took Swifts a bit of time feel their way into the game, but they gradually started to get the ball to their front men, Reg McLaren in particular starting to work the away defence. Things were still pretty tight in midfield though, and both sides were struggling to find the space to get ball down and knock it around.
Tranent looked at their best when they got the ball wide and their most likely route to goal was coming through Jones down the left. As the half wore on, the visitors started to concede a few free-kicks around the edge of the box, but Swifts couldn’t find the delivery to capitalise and Tranent held firm.
Despite some good attacking play and decent chances at both ends, it was the two defences that were on top. Both back fours keeping things tight and it was always a defender that won the second balls. Just as it looked like we were in for a goalless first half, Swifts won a penalty after Miller barged Smith over in the box. Tranent felt it was a bit soft and weren’t shy to let ref Stephen Gill know it. When the dust had settled, Mcleish stepped up and sent Ali Adams the wrong way to give the home side a narrow lead at the break.
Big T were clearly fired up by the penalty decision and came flying out of the traps in search of the equaliser. It came fifteen minutes into the half, McDonald getting on the end of the ball floated into a crowded area and flicking his header over Mitchell into the net. Swifts response was immediate though, Smith putting the home side back in front within a minute of the restart.
Gaffer Shand didn’t hang about, making a double substitution straight away, Black and Barrett coming on to try and change the game for Tranent. For a moment, it certainly looked like it was going to make the difference, Barrett going on a bit of a mazey within seconds of coming on.
The second half was much like the first: tight in midfield, plenty of good attacking play and chances at both ends. But just as they had been in the first half, the defences had the upper hand and neither keeper had an awful lot to do.
Tranent’s task became even harder on 75 minutes when sub Ian Black was shown a second yellow, leaving the visitors to play the last quarter of an hour with 10 men. It wasn’t the worst tackle, but it left the visitors with a mountain to climb. The last few minutes were a bit fragmented as the ref became more and more fussy, interrupting play for virtually every tackle. Tranent gave it a good go to be fair, but Whitehead and Dolzanski were solid in the heart of the Swifts defence and the hosts never looked like letting their lead slip.
The three points proved valuable to Swifts, leapfrogging Penicuik into 6th spot in the table, while Tranent slipped to 3rd behind Hill of Beath. Next up for Swifts is a short journey down the M90 to Crossgates while Tranent look to get back on track with a home fixture against Sauchie.
Man of the Match:
In a game as close as this, any one of the central defenders could have got the shout. There wasn’t much between Jake Dolzanski and Aaron Whitehead, but in the end skipper Whitehead just edged it.
See all the match photos HERE.