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.