Revenge As Athletic Halt Haws Run
Hill of Beath Hawthorn 0-2 Musselburgh Athletic
East of Scotland Conference A
Kiers Park, Hill Of Beath
Musselburgh got revenge for last week's cup defeat to bring Hill of Beath's nine match unbeaten run to an end at Kiers Park. Only seven days ago, Haws dumped Mussie out of the Challenge Cup with a convincing 3-1 win, but the Fifers couldn't repeat the feat when Athletic returned to the Kingdom on league business.
Both sides started with no changes to the lineup, Haws striker Lewis Elder still struggling with a knee injury, while Athletic welcomed back Michael Moffat, the midfielder starting on the bench just 11 weeks after breaking his leg. Haws got off to a perfect start last week, when Daniel Watt scored in the first minute, and the striker had another early chance this week but couldn't find the target with his 6th minute effort.
Athletic had started the game strongly though, pressing quickly all over the park. It paid off in the 14th minute when they won a free-kick wide on the left, which Connor Thomson fired into the top corner leaving Stuart Hall with no chance.
The goal really put the Haws on the back foot, and they struggled to get going for most of the opening 45. Adamson and Kirby usually carry a potent threat down the wings, but although they showed flashes here & there, neither could make anything happen for the home side. Athletic were controlling the midfield and cutting off the supply to Haws front men, restricting the hosts to long hopeful balls that Watt struggled to turn into a clear-cut chance.
Haws best chance of the half came when Adamson was chopped from behind 25 yards out, but Reid couldn't make the free-kick count.
Haws needed to change something, and gaffer Fotheringham introduced Conners and Grierson at the interval. But the first chance of the second half fell to the visitors, Hall having to make a stunning save from Whyte to keep his side in the game. Myles squandered another perfectly good chance a couple of minutes later, failing to work the keeper, as Athletic looked for a second that would put the game to bed.
Haws were at last starting to make an impact on the game though, full-backs Leishman and Kellichan beginning to push forward and getting the crosses into the box that they hadn't done in the first half. Callum Adamson still looked like Haws best chance of a goal, his pace beating the Athletic back line on a couple of occasions, but he couldn't quite find the finish.
The killer blow for Haws came ten minutes from time, substitute Evans robbing Conners on the edge of the box, and knocking it into the path of King. Hall came flying off his line and the two clattered into each other, but King managed to squeeze the ball into the net before celebrating with the small but noisy band of travelling fans.
Man of the Match: It couldn't have been an easy task picking a man of the match, there weren't too many stand out performances in red. But the nod went to youngster Jake Mitchell, who had a fine game in the center of defence.
The result really tightens things up at the top of Conference A: Penicuik are still top on 30 points, and Haws stay second on 24, with a game in hand. The win lifts Musselburgh up into third spot, level on points but with a vastly inferior goal difference, Nitten Star just a point behind in fourth and Dunbar & Leith 3 points further back in 5th & 6th respectively.
Haws now need to pick themselves up again for the trip down to Coldstream next Saturday, while Athletic are at home to Peebles.
Full match gallery HERE on Flickr