Oakley United 1 - 1 Leith Athletic
East of Scotland Conference A
Blairwood Park, Oakley
Referee: Terry Ormiston
Oakley and Leith battled it out for a point each in an entertaining match at a soggy Blairwood Park. But Athletic needed an error from the United keeper to help snatch a draw, having twice been denied by the linesmans flag in the first half.
There were a few unfamiliar faces on show for the Fifers, as new gaffer Kenny Stewart starts to put his own stamp on the team in his first home match in charge. Having gotten off to a flyer, with two wins in Stewart's first two games, United were looking to get back on track after defeat away to Dunbar last time out.
The early few minutes of the game were pretty open with both sides having a go at each other, but it was Leith who looked the more dangerous and created the best of the early chances. The visitors really should have grabbed the lead in the 25th minute, but couldn't make the most of the opportunity, Brisbane shooting wide with the keeper beaten.
United gradually began to claw their way into the game though, and started to put some decent moves together. Despite the heavy pitch they were trying to keep the ball on the deck and get a passing game going. They looked most dangerous when they got into wide areas and the wingers had a chance to run at the full-backs.
Leith, by contrast were a little more direct, stretching the game and getting the ball into the front men quickly. It almost payed off for them in the 35th minute, when Garvey got in behind the back line and knocked the ball into the net but linesman already had his flag up so the goal didn't stand.
United finished the half strongly; Cowan and McAteer created two chances in quick succession with good moves down the right. Then their best chance of the half came from a free-kick on the edge of the box, but the shot was weak and McLellan gathered easily. At the other end, Garvey had the ball in the net again on the stroke of half-time, his flicked header beating Robertson but once again it was ruled off-side, and it stayed 0-0 at the break.
Stewart's half-time team talk must have done the trick, as Oakley came out flying right from the off. McAteer had a great chance in the opening minutes, his shot just wide with McLellan beat, but United were starting to turn the screw. With 55 minutes on the watch Cowan finally broke the deadlock, collecting a cross from the left and holding off the challenge before turning and slamming home from 20 yards.
Oakley were flying now and Peddie almost released Cowan again, but Morrice pulled him down from behind and got a yellow card for his trouble. But just as it looked like they were going to kill the game off, a goalkeeping blunder let the visitors back into it.
Robertson collected the ball on the edge of the box and seemed to have everything under control, but instead of knocking it long he tried to dribble out with it. Garvey charged him down, pinched the ball and rolled the equaliser into the empty net to finally get his name on the scoresheet.
Oakley picked themselves up again though, and made a couple of quick changes as they went in search of all three points: Peddie & Murray making way for Harrison & McGovern. The fresh legs gave the hosts some extra pace down the right, but although there a few more decent chances at both ends, neither side could find a winner and it finished one-a-piece.
Man of the Match: In an entertaining game, there were plenty of strong performances on both sides: Lantoine was a rock at left-back for Athletic, and Garvey will feel unlucky he didn't end up with a hat-trick. For the home side, Jack Cowan never stopped running, was always willing to take his man on and stuck his goal away well and he is the KayemPhoto man of the match.
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