Watt’s East of Scotland challenge fades with defeat at Paties Road

Edinburgh United yesterday gained revenge for the Watt’s victory in the reverse fixture earlier in the season with a 3 – 0  win at its trim Paties Road Stadium.  The final score was very hard on the visitors, who were left to reflect on the old adage about taking your chances whilst you’re on top.

The Watt side was particularly dominant in the first half, but the score sheet was still blank at half-time and individual errors cost the side dearly in the second period.  The result leaves the Watt with only a theoretical chance of qualifying for the top division in next season’s East of Scotland League – a win by at least five clear goals in next Saturday’s final fixture against Camelon Juniors would be required in order to have any chance, and that seems about even money with the chances of the game being snowed off.

Failing to reach next season’s top division will be bad news for the treasurer, but if the truth be told, probably a relief for everyone else.  A season of consolidation to give the crop of good young players who came in with this season’s intake another year to mature and develop would do no harm at all.  In all honesty, at this stage the squad does not have the experience to go in amongst what is virtually a re-creation of the East Junior Superleague within the Senior ranks.  It is especially difficult for the Club to maintain high standards during the University holiday periods.

It’s still been a good season for the Club, which can be proud of its showing in the East of Scotland League, take great satisfaction from the improvement in the Reserves under Michal Suski and be quietly satisfied with the football played by the Under-20 side, which was virtually a completely new team and has shown great capability without always getting the results its play deserved.  Head Coach Banji Koya will be pleased with the outcomes from his prodigious workload and although the promotion to BUCS Scottish Conference 1A was perhaps a year too soon, the experience will have stood his very young side in good stead for next season.  He will also be delighted that his coaches Craig Walkingshaw and Craig Nisbet have also advanced their qualifications and are both now qualified to UEFA ‘B’ standard.

The mention of the Reserves in the last paragraph is a reminder to congratulate the side on its recent tremendous run of form.  Before Saturday’s game away to Edinburgh Star, the lads had achieved four wins in a row, including the scalps of Meadowbank FC and, last Monday, Edinburgh Harps.  The team currently sitting second in LEAFA Lothian West Division (and featuring former Watt favourite Adam Kerlin, who was outstanding for the visitors), lost out at Riccarton to Lewis Whitelaw‘s last-gasp volley.  No result for the game against Star is yet available.

As mentioned above, the First Team’s last fixture of the season comes at the John Brydson Arena next Saturday against Camelon Juniors (kick-off 3 o’clock).

The Reserves keep up a demanding schedule with another game tomorrow evening at Riccarton – and it’s another tough fixture, this time against third-placed Linlithgow Rose.  Rose is just two points behind Edinburgh Harps with three games in hand and has lost only three times in seventeen league games so far, so the Watt team will expect a testing assignment.

Next Saturday, the Watt Reserve side has its Logan Cup Semi-final tie against Premier Division leaders Tollcross Thistle.  The match will take place at the Spartans Community Club pitch, kicking off at 12.45.  There’s still no rest for the Reserves, though, as there’s another midweek fixture next week, at home against Carluke Hearts on Wednesday evening (24th April).


Posted on April 14, 2019 at 9:13 pm

Reserves going strongly but U20s lose in Challenge Cup Quarter-final

After a solid 3 – 0 win on Saturday, away to Corstorphine Dynamo, Heriot-Watt’s Reserve side takes on Edinburgh Harps this evening in an interesting match in LEAFA Lothian West Division.  Star is one place ahead of the Watt in the league table and a home win would reduce the gap between the sides to just two points.  Kick-off at the John Brydson Arena is at 6.30.

The Watt’s Under-20s exited the Challenge Cup on Friday evening, going down 2 – 1 to Edinburgh United at Ainslie Park in a Quarter-final tie.  Theo McGuire gave the Watt the lead early on, but United soon equalised.  The Watt had the lion’s share of possession in the second half, but the Edinburgh defence stood firm and for all the Watt’s good passing there was no way through.  A penalty of the dodgiest variety in the closing stages gave the win to United, but it was fair to say that there was little indication that the Watt was on the point of a breakthrough.  The Under-20s have a break from games for a few weeks now, with the next fixture being on the 3rd of May, when Cumbernauld Colts visit the John Brydson.

Ironically, this Saturday, the Watt’s First Team will make the short trip to Paties Road for a vital league match against Edinburgh United.  The Watt needs four points from its last two fixtures to secure fifth place in Conference ‘C’, and with it a place in the top division of the East of Scotland League next season.  Neil Laurenson is suspended after his sixth caution of the season (all coming since the turn of the year) in last Saturday’s match against Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts, but otherwise Head Coach Banji Koya should have close to a full selection, long-term absentees excepted.

The Reserves also have a short journey to make on Saturday – to Saughton 3G, where they take on the  Edinburgh Star.  Kick-off is at 1 o’clock.  There’s another game for the Reserves next Monday evening (15th), at home to third-place Linlithgow Rose (kick-off 6.30).

Posted on April 8, 2019 at 1:56 pm

Reserves reach Semi-final in a good weekend for the Watt

Heriot-Watt’s ‘A’ team shocked LEAFA Championship leaders Meadowbank FC on Saturday at Portobello High School in their Quarter-final tie in LEAFA’s Logan Cup, winning through to the Semis by the remarkable score of 4 – 1.  Considering the Watt side was below-strength due to the unavailability of some regular players, this was a momentous achievement.

All LEAFA clubs are eligible to play in this competition and fifty-four names entered the draw for the First Round.  Having disposed of Mill AFC, Waverley Athletic, Lauriston Thistle and now Meadowbank (Championship record – won 9, lost 2), the Watt side will now take on Premier Division leaders Tollcross Thistle (won 12, drawn 3, lost 2) in the Semi.  The other Semi-final will be between Lothian East Division side Pathhead and the winners of an all-Premier Quarter-final tie between second-placed Sandys and sixth-placed Danderhall Miners.

Also on Saturday afternoon, Heriot-Watt stayed in the race for fifth position in East of Scotland League Conference ‘C’, moving on to 29 points with a 4 – 2 win over Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts in a match played in front of a large crowd including a contingent from Groundhop UK.  It was a strange game, with the home side perhaps letting the occasion get to them.

Watt led 2 – 0 at half-time and added a third early in the second half, but Swifts, whose discipline deserted them, had a man sent off for a bad foul on Lumbert Kateleza followed by a squabble with Watt players.  Down to ten men, Swifts pulled two goals back in three minutes but then conceded a penalty which was converted to complete the scoring.  Inverkeithing had two more players sent off for dissent and finished with a crime count of three red and five yellow cards.

Another ‘Groundhopper’ game played on the day was between Blackburn United and Preston Athletic and a decisive win for the West Lothian side puts it right back in the race for next season’s top division.  Preston remains in fifth position, but has now completed its fixtures.  St Andrews United is sixth, but after a draw with Ormiston on Saturday is one of three clubs on 29 points, with its one remaining match being against Linlithgow Rose on the 13th of April.

Both Blackburn and the Watt still have to make visits to Paties Road to play Edinburgh United, with the Watt ending its programme at home to Camelon Juniors.  It may come down to goal difference in the end and should that be the case, the three goals pegged back by Blackburn from a 4 – 0 deficit in its home game against Heriot-Watt may be decisive.

Having looked almost out of contention at one stage, Blackburn may be the best-placed of the contenders if it can overcome Edinburgh United in its last game.  Currently, St Andrews is a goal better off than Blackburn, but a defeat by the Rose and a win for Blackburn in their respective final matches would reverse that position.  Preston is currently four goals worse off than Blackburn, so will fall behind on goal difference if Blackburn beats Edinburgh United to move on to 32 points.

The Watt is a goal behind Preston, so would probably need to take something from its last game against Camelon to finish fifth, even if it can beat Edinburgh United on the 13th.  There are, of course, many possible scenarios and each game that is played changes the picture, but if the Watt can succeed in its next match a week on Saturday, it has a chance to finish no worse than sixth – and a top half finish in a tough league is something of which it could be proud, even if, as expected, Conference ‘C’ has the lowest-placed of the three teams finishing sixth in their respective Conferences.

On Friday evening, the Watt Under-20s played Tynecastle at Riccarton.  There were misgivings about this game, with the Watt squad being as depleted as any during the season, but the side played some excellent football and held high-flying Tynie to a single goal in a 1 – 0 defeat.

Posted on April 1, 2019 at 12:12 pm

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