Tough going in BUCS games, but Threes win through to Semi

Since BUCS matches got going again last week, there hasn’t been much joy for Watt sides.  Last week, the Men’s Seconds, who lead Division 3A, suffered a surprise 2 – 1 home defeat to University of Aberdeen Second, reducing the advantage held by the Watt side at the top of the Division.  The Men’s Sixths were also on the losing side, going down 4 – 1 at home to Edinburgh Napier University Second in Division 6B.  The Women’s Firsts put up a good fight away to Edinburgh Napier University First in Division 2A, but eventually went down 4 – 2.

The only positive result of the day was a 2 – 2 draw gained by the Men’s Thirds in a fascinating match at Peffermill against University of Edinburgh Fifth.  At this level, Edinburgh operates ‘Intramural’ teams from individual faculties.  Some of them include players who perform at a good level on Saturdays and these sides are often much better than you’d expect of teams with such high numbers after their names.  The Watt’s Thirds, in their turn, are well stocked with players from the promising Under-20 side: mainly from this year’s intake, so very young, but talented players.  The Watt side led twice in the match and was only undone by a penalty awarded improbably far beyond the regulation ninety minutes.

This week’s games didn’t fare much better, with defeats for the Men’s Firsts, 1 – 0 to University of Edinburgh First in a tough encounter on the Peffermill East 2 pitch in the last sixteen of the BUCS Trophy and the Women’s Firsts, who went down 4 – 0 in the Conference Cup on their return to the venue of the previous week’s game at Edinburgh Napier University.

Two Watt sides were playing in the Quarter-finals of the Scottish Conference Plate and once again it was the Men’s Thirds who provided the good-news story.  The Men’s Fourths were beaten 2 – 1 at home by University of Stirling Fifth, but the Thirds beat Edinburgh Napier University Second 4 – 2 to advance to the Semi-finals.  It was a fascinating match, with the young Watt side taking a 2 – 0 lead just after half-time through Niall McClelland and Ronan Dowds, before the visitors stormed back to square the scores.  Goals in the last quarter by Finn As-Chainey and Jack Phillip took the Watt side through.   The Watt team now has an away tie in its Semi-final, against the Third side from the same Edinburgh Napier University.  Should the Watt team win through in this match, the opposition in the Final will be provided by either University of Stirling Fifth, the conquerors of the Watt Fourths yesterday, or the winner of a match scheduled for next Wednesday between University of St Andrews Fifth and University of Edinburgh Fifth.

Last weekend’s programme was wiped out by the weather.  The Firsts had no game anyway, being the “spare team” in the thirteen of League Conference ‘C’, but the matches scheduled for the Under-20s (Kelty Hearts in the Knockout Cup) and the Reserves (Bank of Scotland Strollers in Lothian West Division).

This weekend, it is the Under-20 side which is “odd one out” and is without a fixture, but the First Team is due to travel to a new venue (although very close to an old one) by visiting Ormiston in the East of Scotland League (kick-off 2.30).  It will be the Watt’s first visit to the new Recreation Park, constructed just behind the previous pitch and brought into use this season.  A fortnight ago, the Watt gathered in another point in a 1 – 1 draw with Blackburn United, but will be hoping to go one better against the side currently at the foot of the Conference.  Reports suggest, however, that its league position does not tell the full story about this Ormiston side, which will be seeking to climb at least a couple of places in the table before the season is over.  The Watt has always found Ormiston teams hard to beat, especially on their own turf, and will have to treat the game with the utmost seriousness to avoid becoming the fourth victims of the East Lothian side, which counts St Andrews United and Edinburgh United amongst the teams it has beaten at its new ground.

In LEAFA Lothian West Division the Watt’s Reserves have a home match against near-neighbours Balerno Athletic.  This should be a close game, as only one point separates the teams in the League table.  The Watt side, still without top scorer Lewis Whitelaw after his skiing accident last month, will try to improve on the disappointing 2 – 1 defeat to Queensferry Athletic last time out.