East of Scotland League: Match Reports

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SEASON 2014 – 2015         Match 17:  Saturday 29th November 2014

Image Printers’ East of Scotland Qualifying Cup:  Second Round 

Civil Service Strollers  0   Heriot-Watt University  1   (after extra time)

On a calm but dull afternoon at Muirhouse, the Watt faced Premier Division high-flyers Civil Service Strollers without the cup-tied Sean Muhsin, while Rob Service’s tendinitis continued to keep him out of contention for a midfield berth.  For the latter part of the match at Hawick the previous week, Scott Dargo had been pushed forward into midfield with Jamie Hume replacing him at right-back and this arrangement was maintained, with Dargo slotting in alongside Ryan Higgins and Stevie Wright, Scott Davies and Elliot Sutherland in wide positions and Chris Donnelly up front.

After his sound performance at Hawick the previous week, Finn Watt retained his place alongside Andy Forbes in the centre of the Watt defence and Neil Laurenson was in his usual place at left-back.  Goalkeeper Craig Saunders, who is having a fine season, captained the side on this, the occasion of his hundredth appearance for the Watt in East of Scotland football.

Donnelly showed typical endeavour early on, doing well to hang on to a ball played at him from a distance, twisting and turning and picking out a ball to Sutherland, who was moving down the left, but the low cross was intercepted and played behind for a corner.

Strollers were putting a lot of energy into the game and in the tenth minute James Guy cut in along the by-line on the left and fired in a shot which Saunders did well to save with his feet.  The big ‘keeper did well again a minute later do deal with an awkward chip aimed towards Guy by Craig Newalls and yet again a couple of minutes after that, when he dived to his left to secure a deflected shot from the edge of the box.

The pace and imagination of Donnelly were posing problems for the Civil Service defence and when he was put away on the right by a pass from Davies, his cross almost tempted Stuart Burnside from his goal, but the ’keeper retreated as the ball curled away from him and Ross McWilliams managed to head it out of play.  Donnelly’s next foray was down the other wing, spinning to sprint forward after a deft lay-off to Ryan Higgins, who played an excellent return ball, but again the Strollers defence was vigilant and blocked the cutback behind for a corner.

Gradually, the home side, with its much more experienced midfielders, began to exert a stranglehold on the game and Watt’s attacks became sporadic.  Strollers won a series of corners, but the concentration and determination of the Watt back line was formidable.  Forbes, as always, was leading by example and his tackling and heading were inspirational.  He was well supported by his defensive colleagues and on the few occasions when the Strollers got through, they found that Saunders was equally resolute, making two saves in a matter of seconds when a ball in from a corner fell amongst the feet in front of goal.

Watt made it through to half-time without mishap, but the second half merely brought a continuation of the grim struggle.  Cammy Stevenson was introduced just after the hour, replacing Hume, with Dargo dropping back into defence.  The Watt defenders continued to cover as if their lives depended on it and it still seemed possible that the visitors might snatch a goal in one of their rapid dashes up the park when the ball was secured.  Davies benefited from a kindly bounce to pick up the ball in the centre of the pitch and as Donnelly moved away to his left, had the confidence to try a shot from 35 metres.  It cleared the bar by a yard or so, but was well worth a try.

More home corners followed and were met by more determined clearances.  Calum Milne replaced Davies, shortly after which Donnelly led another charge up the centre of the pitch.  He may have felt he was running out of steam when he chose to try to play in Milne to his left, but the pass was a poor one and perhaps he might have tried knocking the ball past the last man and racing him for it.

An injury to Dargo, who went over on his ankle, brought David Kerr into the action with ten minutes of the ninety remaining.  Watt seemed to be hanging on a bit towards the end, but the full-time whistle eventually sounded in gathering gloom and we were facing half an hour’s extra time.  It wasn’t much after three o’clock, but it was already getting quite dark.

Watt had a let-off two minutes after the restart, Murray Christie catching his shot well from around the edge of the penalty box, but the ball rose inches over the bar, although it is possible that Saunders, who had stretched his frame to get across goal, might have reached it had it been a bit lower.

Wright met a clearance on the volley to send a great pass down the left wing for Donnelly, but again the Strollers defenders showed similar determination to their Watt counterparts and the cutback failed to get across again.  Forbes found Stevenson with a header from defence and although his quick pass looked out of Donnelly’s reach, the striker reached it somehow, but in catching it knocked it too far ahead and Burnside was quickly out to nip the ball away just before Donnelly could reach it.  The Watt was beginning to create some chances now and a good pass by Kerr found Donnelly on the right.  He played the ball on to Milne, who took and turned superbly and cut inside to shoot from the point of the penalty box, but Burnside was well positioned to catch above his head.  The first half of extra time ended with Donnelly’s kamikaze run which almost took him past the lot, but the last man managed to take the ball away before he could strike it towards goal.

A poor pass by a Strollers player struck the referee just after the restart and Watt broke in numbers, but Milne delayed too long before parting with the ball and it was played behind off his ankles.

The valiant Watt defence was beginning to show signs of creaking and a free kick reached a Stroller near the far post, but he was unable to get much purchase on the ball and it continued past the post.  Then, after Forbes had headed another corner out of the box, Paul Greenhill met the ball on the volley and sliced it towards Kieran McGaghie, standing unmarked on the left of the penalty area.  Kerr did his best to get there quickly and the striker blazed the ball across goal and out.

Good hold-up work on the right enabled Milne to link with Sutherland, who knocked the ball past the left side of the Civil Service defence and sent over a low cross which was turned behind for a corner.

Stevenson took the kick short to Laurenson and ran back to take the return pass.  Arcing his run, Stevenson reached the point of the penalty area, realised that Burnside had left him a little space at the near post to aim for and drilled a fierce, low shot into precisely that target area to give the Watt the lead.

Wright came close to a rapid doubling of the Watt’s advantage a minute later with an audacious attempt from just inside the Strollers half which almost caught Burnside out of his goal, but the ball dipped just over the bar.

A bit of bad temper saw cautions for Greenside of Strollers and the Watt’s Stevenson as the home side pressed desperately for a late equaliser.  A free kick went right across goal and back again as the weary Watt defenders tried to keep going for the last few minutes.  With two minutes still on the clock, Watt had an even narrower escape; it was too dark to see the action clearly, but the ball could clearly be heard striking the post to the left of Saunders before shooting across the goal and being crowded away by Watt defenders.  The Strollers had been putting in dangerous corners all day and the Watt had dealt with them well, but were starting to weaken and the last corner, taken by Christie from the right with two minutes left, was headed over from close range.  But nothing was going to make the ball go in for the Strollers and eventually the final whistle sounded on the hardest-fought of wins for Heriot-Watt.

Forbes has so often been Watt’s impenetrable barrier but this may have been his finest hour to date.  His performance was immense, full of determination that the defensive line would hold.  In McGaghie, he was up against a striker at least two inches taller, but Forbes is seldom outjumped and so it was again.  Saunders was equally resolute and on this auspicious occasion for him, gave one of his finest performances.  Donnelly, so often detached in attack, was speedy, inventive and skilful and was also full of determination.  But although these individuals are worth special mention, all the Watt players can be proud of their performances and of their achievement.

 

 

Civil Service Strollers:

Burnside, McWilliams, Campbell, Moffat, Ritchie, Greenhill, Newalls (Pettigrew 82), Guy (Lynch 89), McGaghie, Tobin, Christie.    Subs. not used:  Kane, Tobin, Christie.

 

Heriot-Watt University:

Saunders, Hume (Stevenson 63), Laurenson, Watt, Forbes, Higgins, Davies (Milne 69), Dargo (Kerr 81), Donnelly, Wright, Sutherland.    All subs. used.

 

Referee:  Mr Billy Cooper (Glenrothes)

Assistants:  Mr John Headrick, Mr Ellis Walls.

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SEASON 2014 – 2015         Match 16:  Saturday 22nd November 2014

SFA South Region Challenge Cup:  Second Round 

Hawick Royal Albert  0   Heriot-Watt University  4

Albert Park looked in better shape than expected after the previous Saturday’s postponement and not particularly dry weather in the intervening week, but it’s fair to say that the surface was spongy and became increasingly uneven as the game progressed.

The Royalists had a number of players unavailable for one reason or another and had only one player on the bench, but the eleven who started soon showed their opponents that they were determined to give a good account of themselves.  With Shaun Fallan and Scott McKenzie resolute in defence and with Greg Summers and Nicky Cairns forming a skilful and industrious midfield pairing, the home side gave their supporters hope throughout the first half that they might reach the Third Round of this prestigious Cup.  In the eighth minute of play, a mazy run by Summers took him to the edge of the Watt box before he was eventually tackled and the ball played for a throw-in.

The Watt machine seemed to be misfiring slightly, with Chris Donnelly not quite at his most effective.  He was well marshalled by the home defenders and seemed to be finding it difficult on the sticky surface to get that yard of space he sought.  He had a couple of chances early on – a left-foot drive from fifteen metres from a pass by Elliot Sutherland, then a shot on the turn when found with a pass at the end of a diagonal run – but on both occasions, the elevation was wrong.

As Watt toiled to find a smooth rhythm as the Albert players continued to close  down space effectively, a couple of chances from free kicks were as near as they came towards the end of the first half.  Sean Muhsin pulled his effort wide of the near post, but Cammy Stevenson came closer, forcing Martin Stewart into a fine save, touching the ball on to the bar and over.

Early in the second half, the Watt had a glorious chance to take the lead.  Donnelly made a good break and found Stevenson on the right.  His cross to the back post gave Sutherland an opportunity from inside the six-yard box, but  he shinned the ball straight up in the air and Ryan Higgins, coming in to support, headed it over the bar.

Summers was still dangerous for the home side and he sent a free kick from thirty metres just over the junction of post and bar to the left of Craig Saunders in the Watt goal.  Gradually, however, the Hawick players were beginning to flag and more space was appearing for the Watt’s attacking players.  Sutherland got loose on the left and cut the ball across for Stevenson, but after creating space, he found his shot deflected over the top.

Hawick managed to keep the scores level for just over an hour, but when the breakthrough finally came, the Watt scored twice within three minutes.  The first was a fine goal, worked from the back, with Andy Forbes, Finn Watt and Sean Muhsin all involved to provide the ball to Scott Dargo, whose pass picked out the run of Scott Davies on the right.  Davies took the ball in his stride and ripped a shot across Stewart into the far corner of the goal.

Davies turned provider for the second, battling away to win the ball and deliver it to Sutherland, who surged past his marker and fired in a shot from just inside the penalty area.  Stewart tried valiantly to stop it, but although he got a hand to the ball, it still had enough power to reach the corner of the net.

Albert, to their credit, redoubled their efforts and swarmed towards the Watt goal.  Calvin Muttitt made a good run into the right side of the box and his accurate shot across goal would have been a scorer had not Saunders dived to his right to make a splendid stop, enabling a defender to whack the ball out for a throw-in.

Donnelly responded with a trade-mark run on the left.  Perhaps he delayed the cutback a little too long, or maybe that’s an alibi for Sutherland, who had his second bad miss of the half, seeming to get his foot on top of the ball.  When he fell and a stramash resulted, the end result was a Hawick free kick.

With Calum Milne and Steven Wright on to replace Davies and Higgins, Watt searched for further goals to make the result safe.  A free kick for the home side was met by Forbes with such a powerful header that Donnelly couldn’t quite reach it ahead of Stewart, who ran from his goal to clear, but a third goal was not long delayed.  A long ball over the top for Donnelly to chase was swept behind by McKenzie.  Neil Laurenson took a short corner to Milne, who turned it back to him from the edge of the penalty area.  Laurenson passed inside to Donnelly, who laid the ball back for Muhsin to calmly place the ball into the corner of the goal.

Jamie Hume came on in exchange for Stevenson and went to right-back, giving the energetic Dargo the chance to pound up the right flank.  With three minutes to go, this paid dividends when the weary Albert defence could not stop Dargo powering up the wing and delivering the ball on to the head of Sutherland, who threw himself forward to score his second of the afternoon.

Hawick Royal Albert:

Stewart, Fleming, Shillinglaw, Fallan, McKenzie, Summers, Muttitt, Cairns, Smith, Ramsay, Noble.    Sub. not used:  Brown.

 

Heriot-Watt University:

Saunders, Dargo, Laurenson, Watt, Forbes, Higgins (Wright 72), Davies (Milne 67), Muhsin, Donnelly, Stevenson (Hume 80), Sutherland.    Sub. not used:  Smith.

 

Referee:  Mr Nikki Smith (Edinburgh)

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SEASON 2014 – 2015         Match 15:  Saturday 8th November 2014

East of Scotland League – First Division 

Ormiston  2   Heriot-Watt University  4

Watt had expected to travel to play Kelso United on the 8th of November, but when that game was called off early on the Saturday morning due to flooding at Woodside Park, league leaders Ormiston, whose intended fixture against Duns had also been postponed, suggested the sides might meet in an advancement of the match at Recreation Park scheduled for later in the season.  The match was hastily arranged and went ahead on a surface that was heavy, but certainly playable.

Ormiston must have regretted their idea as Watt raced out of the starting blocks and took a two-goal lead within eight minutes.  An excellent header by Elliot Sutherland started a move that sent Chris Donnelly through on a diagonal run to pick up the ball on the right side of the penalty area.  Donnelly dummied his marker and cut inside to send a well-judged shot across Daryl Johnston.  The shot struck the far post, but Sean Muhsin was on the spot as usual to knock in the rebound.  Then it was Donnelly’s turn to send Sutherland away with a through ball and when he played the ball across goal, Muhsin was there again to slide in and steer the ball home for what was his fifth goal in forty-five minutes of football.  Even Duncan Stoddart in his heyday would have struggled to match that record.

Watt could easily have gone three up in the twelfth minute.  Donnelly was played in on the left side of the box and tried to link with Sutherland.  The pass wasn’t too accurate, but an Ormiston defender played the ball straight to the surprised Sutherland, who tried to find Cammy Stevenson, but overhit the pass.

Ormiston began to overcome the double blow they’d suffered and to assert themselves.  Following a free kick, Robert Wood shot just past, then Ross Ferguson got his head to a cross by Kieran Watson to send the ball just over the junction of post and bar.  Andy Forbes had to make a superb clearance, running back towards his own goal-line to clear a dangerous cutback; then the same player stretched to divert behind a ball headed for the danger area.  When the resultant corner was played in, the combined efforts of Forbes and David Kerr enabled Stevenson to volley clear.  Muhsin got on to the ball and took it down the left to force Steven Glynn to concede the Watt a corner.  Neil Laurenson’s kick, played in low, resulted in a scramble at the near post during which the ball hit the ankles of Kerr, then the ankles of Forbes, before Kerr failed to make contact as it returned to him.

Stevie Wright tried a shot from twenty metres after a protracted build-up on the Watt left and a nice flick by Stevenson, but the shot was too straight to give much trouble to Johnston.

On the half-hour, a ball out of defence found Donnelly up against John Morgan and when he flicked the ball past the defender it seemed odds-on that Donnelly’s pace would take him clear, but Morgan reacted superbly to stretch out a leg and divert the ball back to Johnston.

The Watt defence left Ferguson in plenty of space on the edge of the penalty area right in front of goal, but when the ball was played to him, his touch was a little heavy and he lunged forward to take his shot as a tackle came in, resulting in the ball rising just over the bar.

This turned out to be a significant miss, as Watt went further ahead a minute later.  Muhsin played in Laurenson, who cut in from the left corner-flag and cut the ball back to the near post area, to where Sutherland had made a well-timed run and calmly steered the ball into the far corner of the net.

Watt came close again six minutes later when Donnelly swept the ball to the right for Stevenson.  His first-time cross was a teasing one and had Johnston back-pedalling to get a hand to the ball, which then fell for Sutherland, but his volley flashed across goal and past.

Ormiston stormed back and it took several Watt players to block off the skilful George Cunningham on a run into the penalty box, but when play switched to the other end again, Watt found their luck was in.  Stevenson played the ball across field looking for Sutherland, but as Johnston came off his line, Jordan Mack stuck up a foot and diverted the ball past his goalkeeper to trickle over the line for a fourth Watt goal.

A minute from half-time it really should have been five.  A great crossfield ball by Wright picked out Sutherland, who played the ball past his marker.  His first attempted cross was blocked and seeing the movement of Wright he changed his intention and cut the ball back to him around the penalty spot.  Wright’s shooting prowess is considerable and this should have been right up his street, but as with his previous shot, his shot was straight enough to give Johnston a chance and the ’keeper pushed the ball away to his left.

Watt could hardly have imagined a four-goal half-time lead against the table-toppers on their own ground, but the second half showed how dangerous it can be to be assumptive in football.  Within eleven minutes of the restart, Watt had conceded two penalties, albeit through carelessness rather than intent, and had put the outcome back in doubt.  The visitors did create some chances in the second half, but never played with the confidence and freedom that had distinguished their first-half performance.  Having said that, although it was more tense than it needed to be, Watt seldom looked like conceding any more goals and can take some comfort from the reflection that the league leaders (who it must be allowed were without top scorer Dean Woods), failed to score in open play.

The first penalty came out of the blue eight minutes after half-time.  Ormiston were attacking on the right and Darren McGrath sent in a cross as Laurenson closed him down.  The unfortunate Watt full-back was an inch or two inside the penalty area and forgot to consider the position of his arms as he jumped and turned around.  His arm was bent up around his neck and the ball struck his elbow.  There was, of course, absolutely no intent, but that’s the sort of thing they call a penalty nowadays and Cunningham despatched the kick into the corner of the net with aplomb.

Three minutes later, a free kick was played into the Watt box and Forbes turned it behind.  When McGrath sent in the corner, Scott Dargo headed it out towards the edge of the box and followed it.  Watson got on to the ball, facing away from goal and Dargo rashly bumped him from behind.  Watson fell over and Cunningham reprised his shot to the corner of the net, although this time somewhat less convincingly.

Watt had a chance to settle their nerves two minutes later, following a free-kick quickly played by Muhsin to Laurenson on the left.  Laurenson’s low cross came right through to Forbes, eight metres from goal at the far post.  He attempted to lash the ball into goal, but a bobble (he assures us) disturbed his assessment of the position of the ball and he sliced it past the post.

The match settled down into something of a dour struggle as Watt made holding what they had the main priority, but with twenty minutes to go, another glorious chance arose to put the result beyond doubt.  Stevenson played a ball from the right on to Sutherland, in acres of space to his left.  Ormiston claimed offside, as you do when there’s nobody covering across, but the referee was well positioned to see that the Watt man had not advanced too far.  Sutherland had far too much time to think about it now and when Johnston advanced towards him, he toepoked the ball past the goalkeeper and just wide of his right-hand post.

With ten minutes of regulation time left, Craig Saunders pulled down a good strike from Watson as Ormiston continued to seek a way back into the game, but once again it was the Watt who might have closed things out with just two minutes left on the clock.  One home defender played the ball against another, but a tired-looking Donnelly couldn’t get to the ball in time and when the ball was played past him it fell just behind Muhsin as he arrived in support.

Six minutes of stoppage time were played and during the first of these, Saunders was alert again to dive to his right and push the ball to safety after a free kick into the box had been headed on twice, but at last the final whistle sounded on what was a very welcome victory for the Watt.

A final word on the official:  Mr Graves is on the SFA’s Grade III Development List and is one of the younger referees at this level.  Throughout the game, he allowed hard but fair challenges and was never whistle-happy.  All the cautions he issued appeared to be justified and he was confident enough to ensure that vocals from off the pitch had no effect on his decision-making.  The Watt camp didn’t like the penalty awards he made and it is probable that at one time neither would have been awarded, but in today’s interpretation of the rules, any referee would have been likely to give them.  All in all, the referee emerged with great credit from a match that had the potential to be difficult.  We predict a bright future for the young man.

 

Ormiston:

Johnston, Mack, Watson, Morgan, Glynn, McGrath (Edmond 73), Szemis (Barker 57), Cunningham, Ferguson, Wood (Ross 52), Cockerell.  Subs. not used:  McEwan, Skinner.

 

Heriot-Watt University:

Saunders, Dargo, Laurenson, Kerr, Forbes, Higgins, Dahle 76), Wright, Donnelly, Muhsin, Sutherland.    Subs. not used:  Watt, Milne.

 

Referee:  Mr Daniel Graves (Edinburgh)

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SEASON 2014 – 2015         Match 14:  Saturday 1st November 2014

East of Scotland League – First Division 

Heriot-Watt University  6   Duns  2

Since returning to the Watt on loan from Spartans, Sean Muhsin had flitted in and out of matches to some extent and his contributions prior to this match had perhaps been as much to confidence and morale as to actual events on the pitch.  Having been left out of the starting line-up against Duns, however, due to non-appearance at a training session, he took the opportunity of his half-time introduction to make his value to the team abundantly clear.

Watt had made a good start to this game, with Cammy Stevenson exchanging passes with Chris Donnelly after six minutes and striking the return just over the junction of post and bar before the Watt side went ahead in the following minute.  Scott Davies showed good persistence as he came in along the by-line on the right and when he crossed to the far post, Elliot Sutherland rose to head into the net to add another goal to his increasingly-impressive tally.

After that, however, the first half belonged largely to the visitors.  Michael Stewart cut in off the left wing to send a good shot across the face of goal, then Martyn Tait got away from the Watt defence and burrowed into the box.  His strong shot from a tight angle was above the head of Craig Saunders and the ‘keeper pushed it higher, but the ball came down in the goalmouth a metre or two from the line.  It looked a certain goal, but Neil Laurenson did superbly to get ahead of Mike Robinson and prevent the ball from going into goal.

Another shot from Gary Wales had Saunders scrambling across his goal, then Stevie Shennan began to make his presence felt, shooting from twenty metres as the Watt defence backed off, but Saunders judged well that the ball was passing the post.

Shennan was not to be long denied, however, and in the following minute, half-way through the first half, he produced an equaliser.  A straight ball down the middle had three Watt defenders in a tangle and Shennan gambled on the ball working its way through to him.  When it did so, he simply gathered it, turned and slipped it past Saunders for the equaliser.

Six minutes later, Shennan struck again.  Another good run by Wales did the damage, but when the ball was played across the six-yard box, it didn’t seem to have the strength to reach the far post area with two defenders and the goalkeeper to pass, but reach that area it did and Shennan was there again to turn the ball in from close range.

Rob Service tried to respond for the Watt, but after a good move on the left, his shot carried past the far post and soon Shennan was looking for his hat-trick.  When a corner from the right came slightly behind him, he tried an extravagant hitch-kick.  It didn’t seem to be heading for the goal and was blocked by Andy Forbes, but Shennan (alone amongst those in black and white) began to clamour for a handling offence.  We’ll get the correct version from Andy some time, but suffice to say that the description in the report on the Duns website: “a defender stopped a Shennan shot with both hands” would not recommend itself to any neutral observer.

Duns still had the upper hand towards half-time and Forbes had to throw himself in to block away a shot from Des Chisholm for a corner.  There was then an unbelievable passage of play when Shennan cut in to the left side of the box.  Watt had four defenders on hand, but they were all gazing at the ball at Shennan’s feet and all ignored Wales, who was standing ten metres from goal in space.  Shennan’s cut-back found him and it was fortunate for the Watt that Forbes came alive in time to hurtle towards Wales and block his first effort.  The ball came back to Wales for a second try and this time Saunders just managed to hang on to the ball.

With Muhsin on for Davies, Watt began the second half with renewed purpose, but in fact in the first minute of the half Muhsin missed a wonderful chance to equalise.  When Laurenson’s excellent corner rebounded to him from Donnelly’s ankles, Muhsin, from around eight metres, slashed a left-foot shot wide of goal.

It was soon clear, however, that Muhsin was keen to make up for lost time and his run to meet Scott Dargo’s pass gained a corner, although Paul Tansey easily plucked out Donnelly’s tame header.

Tait might have extended the visitors’ lead just after this, as a cross from the right found him at the far post, but Laurenson recovered while Tait was controlling the ball and the chance was lost.

The influence of Muhsin was galvanising those around him and Donnelly linked with Sutherland, who exchanged passes with Muhsin to send in a firm shot which was palmed over by Tansey.

With twelve minutes of the second half gone, Watt got back on level terms.  A throw-in by Stevenson was flicked on by Donnelly into the path of Dargo as he powered his way into the box at an angle.  He didn’t catch his shot very well, but it was a perfect pass for Muhsin, who nipped in between static defenders to prod the ball past Tansey from the edge of the six-yard box.

The game had changed completely now and the Watt was dominating to a greater extent than the Dingers had done in the first half.  Stevenson broke free and laid the ball off to Donnelly, who cut in from the left.  When he was tackled, the ball broke to Stevie Wright, who shot from the edge of the box, but didn’t time the shot the way he can and failed to generate the power to trouble Tansey.

The Duns defenders were becoming increasingly harassed in trying to cover runs from the Watt midfield and George Windram collected a caution for a bodycheck, but there was no denying the Watt and two quick goals turned the match decisively in favour of the home side.  Dargo’s through ball was well directed but looked as if it might be a shade too strong for Donnelly.  Not so – the striker, who appeared revitalised since half-time, turned on the afterburners and got to the ball between the advancing Tansey and a defender who was trying to shepherd the ball back to him.  Donnelly applied a delicate flick to take the ball past the goalkeeper’s right hand and its direction was impeccable as it rolled gently inside the post.

The game had hardly restarted when Dargo took a hand in things again with a driving run through midfield after picking up a loose ball on halfway which he crowned with a wonderful pass inside the full back to correspond to Muhsin’s run off the left side.  Meeting the ball just inside the penalty area, Muhsin stroked it past the left hand of Tansey to put the Watt 4 – 2 ahead.

Any combination of the Watt midfielders and wing-backs was now regularly tormenting Duns with pacy thrusts through the middle of the park and down the flanks, but the Dingers weren’t finished yet and with quarter of an hour left to play gained a corner on the left.  When David Kerr headed the kick to the edge of the box, Wales took the ball on the volley, but it flashed across goal and past the post.

As the match entered its last ten minutes, the Duns defence was looking tired and Watt found it easier to pick spaces.  A ball was played down the right for Donnelly, who initially thought he was offside and didn’t pursue it; but on looking over his shoulder and finding he’d been played onside by a weary defender, he turned and caught the ball on the edge of the penalty area.  Muhsin had made another supporting run and when Donnelly’s centre reached him, he went for a spectacular hitch-kick.  He made a mess of it, but when he got up from the ground, found that he’d managed to stop the ball and was still in space.  He fired off a shot which Tansey saved and the ball rebounded, struck the foot of the incoming Donnelly and shot past the post.

Around the end of regulation time, a good ball down the left picked out the indefatigable Donnelly, who took it past a defender and squared for the inevitable Muhsin to complete his second-half hat-trick with a shot which struck Tansey but had enough power to make it into the corner of the net.

There was more suffering for Duns deep into stoppage time after another quick break on the left.  A fine pass released Elliot Sutherland, who even at this stage had reserves of pace and power and tore past the right side of the visitors’ defence.  As Tansey advanced, Sutherland surprised him with an early shot which was quite gently struck but well placed into the far corner of the goal.

Since his arrival at the resumption, Muhsin had written his name all over this match and seemed to put new life into several of his colleagues.  The final result was convincing and looking at the score it would be easy to believe that Watt had things all their own way, but two late goals put a severe look on the scoreline.  Watt will do well to reflect that had Duns taken any of the several chances to go two goals in front which came to them before the Watt equaliser, the final result might have been very different.

 

Heriot-Watt University:

Saunders, Dargo, Laurenson, Kerr, Forbes, Wright (Higgins 73), Davies (Muhsin 45), Service, Donnelly (Milne 91), Stevenson, Sutherland.    Sub. not used:  Hume.

 

Duns:

Tansey, Burns (Weatherburn 78), Stewart, Ainslie, Windram, J Brydon (Waddell 66), Wales, Chisholm, Robinson, Shennan (Lauder 68), Tait.   Subs. not used:  McHoul, Walker.

 

Referee:  Mr Robert Thomson (Edinburgh)

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SEASON 2014 – 2015         Match 13:  Saturday 25th October 2014

SFA South Region Challenge Cup – First Round

Gala Fairydean Rovers  0   Heriot-Watt University  3

The Watt players went into this game with the confidence of a good win the previous week and lost no time in impressing on their Lowland League opponents that they had come to Netherdale without fear.

A free kick by Rovers which went wrong gave the Watt an opportunity for a quick break on ten minutes.  Chris Donnelly forced a corner and when Neil Laurenson’s kick came in, it was headed out as far as Stevie Wright, who sent in a crisp half-volley which was blocked.

Wright was in the mood and a couple of minutes later he nipped in to pick up a square pass in the home defence, drove at the retreating defence and sent in a curling shot which John Dodds did well to touch round the post.

Donnelly was the next man alert enough to intercept a pass and when he found his way to goal blocked, he laid the ball off for Wright to fire in a blistering shot which brought out the best in Dodds, who dived to his right to push the ball away.  Watt picked up the ball again and sustained the attack for a time, but when Gala eventually got hold of the ball and broke forward, Jamie Gibson’s cross was dangerous enough for Andy Forbes to head behind.

Watt soon resumed the offensive and when Donnelly worked his way into the box and came down under a challenge from the rear there were fair expectations that a penalty might be the result, but Mr Gordon judged it a coming-together of players rather than a foul.  Watt claimed again two minutes later when Scott Dargo, to whom Donnelly had diverted a clearance by Craig Saunders, played the ball into the box and it seemed as if it might have struck an arm, but there was no great enthusiasm about the appeal and it was no surprise that play went on.

When a third incident occurred in the Fairydean box ten minutes later, however, it was of the clear-cut variety.  As Donnelly accepted Dargo’s pass and went past his marker inside the box, his standing foot was taken away as he turned and there could be no argument with the penalty award.  When Donnelly took the kick, Dodds dived the right way, but the ball was struck with force and precision into the corner of the net and even Dodds was unable to reach it.

Donnelly almost doubled his money three minutes later, benefiting from the indecision of two Gala defenders, but having nipped the ball away and run in from thirty metres, he did not allow for the pace and decisiveness of Dodds and delayed his shot too long, giving the goalkeeper the opportunity he needed to come quickly out to block.  Donnelly recovered the ball, but his attempted chip lacked the height to trouble the big custodian.

Saunders had had little to do, but made a comfortable save from Sean Paliczka’s speculative effort.  Watt came forward again and Dargo shot just over from a pass by Wright.

It was to be expected that Rovers would step it up after the half-time team talk and in the early stages of the second half, there was certainly more effort and commitment from the home side.  They didn’t resort to playing a long-ball game, however, but simply increased their work rate and improved their movement.  The Watt defence and midfield had to work harder to cope, but Gala still found it hard to create clear-cut chances, although a good effort by Billy Miller didn’t miss by much and Saunders dived to save a header from Craig McBride.

In the sixty-third minute, Watt took a massive step towards victory with a second goal.  Sean Muhsin led the surge following the breakdown of a Fairydean attack.  His pass to the right tested Donnelly’s pace, but the striker passed the test and when he had gathered the ball he brought it inside a defender, showing good determination to stay on his feet.  Moving forward, he played the ball past the advancing Dodds.  The ball seemed to be heading for the far post, but it didn’t reach it, as Elliot Sutherland arrived to poke it into goal from almost on the line.

Eight minutes later, the result was confirmed.  Dodds played the ball to Paul Hossack on the edge of the Gala area.  There was no-one near him and no reason to suppose there could be a problem, but some sixth sense sent Muhsin speeding to the scene as the big defender miscontrolled.  Muhsin scooped up the loose ball and sent it into the far corner of the net to put the Watt three up.

The best move of the match came four minutes later, although it didn’t produce a goal.  Scott Davies made the final pass to play in Rob Service, but just like Donnelly earlier, he underestimated the qualities of Dodds and the big man closed him down before he could get away a scoring shot.

Nevertheless, Watt played out the closing stages in some comfort to qualify for a visit to Hawick Royal Albert in the Second Round.

 

Gala Fairydean Rovers:

Dodds, Miller, McBride, Hossack, Cosgrove, Bonnar, Aitchison, Devlin, Gibson (McColm 76), Paliczka (Anderson 68).    Subs. not used:  Langford, Common.

 

Heriot-Watt University:

Saunders, Dargo, Laurenson, Forbes, Watt, Service, Davies (Hay 92), Muhsin, Donnelly, Wright (Higgins 87), Sutherland.    Subs. not used:  Woolven, Green, Ouared.

 

Referee:  Mr Ralph Gordon (Livingston)

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SEASON 2014 – 2015         Match 12:  Saturday 18th October 2014

East of Scotland League – First Division 

Burntisland Shipyard  0   Heriot-Watt University  5

A dominant and determined performance brought three points back from Fife, but it could have been a different story had Shipyard scored instead of coming desperately close but being denied by Craig Saunders in the fifteenth minute.

Watt had started the game very positively and had a great chance to go ahead in the first minute following Rob Service’s powerful run on the right.  Two Watt players had a go at the cross, with the second, Scott Dargo, having the better opportunity, but he scuffed the ball into the hands of Shippy goalkeeper Jordan Mushet.

Another good move involving Service and Dargo after ten minutes’ play gave Chris Donnelly a sighter on the turn, but he didn’t get much purchase on the shot.

Four minutes later, all Watt’s early pressure was nearly undone.  Jamie Hume’s crossfield pass went awry and was picked up by Shaun Keatings, who put Adam Doig through for a low shot.  Saunders dived to his right to get the finest of touches to the ball, taking it on to the inside of the post.  Then, as the big ’keeper lay on the ground, the ball spun across goal behind him before curling past the far post for a corner.  They don’t come much closer than that.

Watt continued to have more of the play but weren’t making much headway against a well-organised home defence, although Cammy Stevenson’s shot from Andy Forbes’s chest-pass came close.  Shipyard responded with a good move at the end of which Craig Lowe won a corner from David Kerr.

Just after the half-hour, Kerr’s quick block on an intended shot by Keatings started a fast riposte which brought the opening goal.  Donnelly’s through ball gave Scott Dargo the opportunity to flick the ball past the advancing Mushet and into goal.

A mazy run by Keatings took him past several players and into the Watt box, but his lay-off was picked up by a defender.  Watt broke upfield again and Stevenson’s cross was headed behind for a corner on the right.  Muhsin took this short to Stevenson, who sent a raking shot across goal and past the far post.

A minute later, Watt went two up when Dargo, Muhsin and Donnelly combined in a fine forward move.  Muhsin’s shot was well saved by Mushet, but when Watt recycled the ball and Muhsin played it into the box, Donnelly’s pace and the subtlety of his movement beat the home defence and he was able to slip the ball past the goalkeeper.

Watt was in full cry now and another break on the left almost brought another goal before the interval.  Muhsin squared the ball to meet the run of Dargo, who was coming across the area at full tilt, but at point-blank range, his first-time shot was straight at the feet of Mushet and rebounded to safety.  The half ended with a strong shot from Stevenson which struck another Watt player and went behind.

Four minutes into the second half, Donnelly’s driving run on the left won a corner which Neil Laurenson delivered to the middle of the goalmouth.  Donnelly and Forbes both made for the ball, but Donnelly got there first and headed down out of the reach of Mushet to give Watt a three-goal cushion.

Less than ten minutes later it was four, as a free kick on the left was sent in by Stevenson at head-height with considerable pace.  All Forbes had to do was to apply a glancing header and this he did.

Shipyard took this latest setback, digested it and came again, Brendan Napier ending a concerted attack with a shot which was blocked for a corner.

With around ten minutes left for play, a well-flighted free kick was headed goalwards by Ewan Henderson but blocked by Saunders and hooked clear.  Then Laurenson managed to get the ball up and down over the wall from a free-kick close to the Shippy box, but Jamie Hume just failed to reach it.  Watt substitute Elliot Sutherland sent Muhsin away on the left but a good tackle by Blair Smart halted the move.

With two minutes of normal time left, Watt added a fifth goal.  Muhsin had played the ball through for the run of Dargo and after his shot struck Mushet, the ball pinballed around the home penalty box until tucked away by Sutherland.

Kerr showed that the Watt would not easily surrender its clean sheet in throwing his body in the way of a fierce drive from Kevin Masson before Alan Clark slashed the rebound high and wide, but Clark came closer a minute later with a left-foot shot from distance as Burntisland fought to the end to try to take some consolation from the game.

 

Heriot-Watt University:

Saunders, Scott, Laurenson, Kerr, Hume, Forbes, Dargo (Wright 78), Service, Donnelly, Muhsin, Stevenson (Sutherland 70).    Subs. not used:  Green, Davies.

 

Burntisland Shipyard:

Mushet, Rogerson (Clark 75), Samson (Anderson 62), Smart, Arthur, Napier, Keatings, Lowe, Doig, Henderson (Masson 85), Robertson.    Sub. not used:  MacDonald

 

Referee:  Mr Billy Cooper (Glenrothes)

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SEASON 2014 – 2015         Match 11:  Saturday 11th October 2014

East of Scotland League – First Division 

Heriot-Watt University  2   Peebles Rovers  2

Rovers were quickly into their stride, playing with the confidence of league leaders and giving notice to the Watt defenders that they would have to be alert to repulse their quick and inventive opponents.  However, it was the Watt which had the first meaningful attempt on goal.  Chris Donnelly battled for the ball and thumped a shot off the underside of the bar, but when Andy Forbes ran in to head the rebound into the net, the referee awarded a free kick, perhaps considering that the ball had struck Donnelly’s arm as he tried to secure it.

A fine pass by Cammy Stevenson picked out Ryan Higgins on the right-hand side of the penalty box, but instead of the shot which he might have tried, Higgins passed inside looking for Donnelly.  The ball went slightly behind the ideal position for the striker and in trying to make the best of it, he sent it over the bar.

Watt players were claiming for a penalty a few minutes later, but the award was a free kick on the edge of the area.  Neil Laurenson’s effort was too high.

Peebles continued to look dangerous on the attack and in the twenty-fifth minute of play Shaun Meikle, not for the first time, eluded the offside trap.  Craig Saunders parried his shot and when he recovered the ball and cut it back from the line, David Kerr was quickly in to play the ball behind off a Peebles leg.

Three minutes later, the visitors took the lead.  Lee Zavaroni gained a soft free kick on the left and when it was crossed into the middle of the penalty box, Dale Richardson must have been as surprised as he was delighted to get a free run to head the ball home from seven or eight metres.

Eight minutes later, Watt levelled the scores when Donnelly was first to react when Darren Walker saved a shot from a free-kick and firmly converted from close range.

After a delay while the referee oversaw the securing of the plastic corner flag at the bottom corner of the pitch before a corner could be taken, Watt had a lucky escape.  When it eventually came in, a dangerous near-post corner was met by the head of Paul Murray, but the ball struck another Peebles player who was standing close to the goal-line.  The Watt defence gratefully scrambled the ball clear.

Just before the half-time whistle, the home side came close to grabbing the lead for the first time.  Donnelly’s penetrating run took him deep into the penalty box, from where he played the ball inside for Rob Service to shoot.  The midfielder was a little overanxious, however, and took the ball a fraction of a second too early, as a result of which it found only the side net.

Just after half-time, Service cut in from the left and fired in a more accurate shot from the edge of the area, but it was aimed towards where Walker was standing and he reached up to tip the ball over the bar.  Donnelly was the next Watt player to try his luck, accepting a pass from Higgins after the latter had won the ball with a good tackle, but the ball passed just past the post.

Watt came close again after an excellent free-kick move.  Cammy Stevenson’s kick found the head of Andy Forbes, who directed the ball into position for Donnelly to flick the ball towards goal, but the elevation was slightly wrong and it glanced off the top of the bar and went over.

Half-way through the second half, the Watt’s defensive vulnerability was in evidence again.  A dangerous free kick from Daniel McAleavy brought a very weak response, with at least two players having the chance to make a decisive intervention but making poor or no contact.  Jordan Hall had no such difficulty as he fired the ball through the crowd scene.  Saunders got a hand to the ball, but it fell for the substitute with the famous Heriot-Watt name of Scott Sutherland to stab the ball into the net from close range.

After all Watt’s positive play, this was a major disappointment to home supporters, but this time the equaliser came even more quickly than before.  Service created the chance, spotting the chance to intercept a throw-in with his head, and he directed the ball towards Donnelly, who outpaced the visitors’ defence and deftly placed the ball past Walker.

Watt went all out for a winner in the last twenty minutes.  Donnelly’s pace again surprised the Peebles rearguard and he smuggled the ball inside to Stevenson, but his first touch was heavy and enabled Walker to come out quickly and gather.  Then Dargo’s superb pass put Donnelly away again, but he only just reached the ball in time to stab in a shot which Walker saved well.

Service was showing great running ability with the ball and another storming run brought a corner following which Stevenson danced in to the edge of the box to set up Forbes, but his shot was too high.

There was another curious incident when Peebles attempted to replace Jonathan Flockhart with Ger Rossi, but as the referee had not included Rossi in the names he had copied into his notebook, he would not permit the substitution.

Stevenson showed further skill to win the ball on the left, carry it forward and send a curling pass into the stride of Donnelly, but perhaps the number of runs he had made was beginning to tell on the striker and he was unable to shake off McAleavy, who got in a good challenge at the edge of the area to make Donnelly send his shot high and wide.

As Peebles sought to finish strongly, a Flockhart header went past Saunders’ left-hand post, but Watt responded with a Stevenson shot which was deflected for a corner.  Watt’s final threat came when Elliot Sutherland knocked the ball past Flockhart and fired the ball across goal, but the cross was too long for Donnelly to gather successfully.

And so a closely-contested game which offered much in entertainment value finished all square, which was about right.

 

Heriot-Watt University:

Saunders, Scott, Laurenson, Kerr, Hume, Higgins (Sutherland 59), Davies (Dargo 66), Forbes, Donnelly, Service, Stevenson.    Subs. not used:  Hay, Wright.

 

Peebles Rovers:

Walker, J Flockhart, McAleavy, Young, Richardson, Arthur, Meikle, Conaghan, Murray (Sutherland), Hall, Zavaroni (Maloney 37).    Subs. not used:  Ndiweni, Rossi, C Flockhart.

 

Referee:  Mr Jim McCunnie (Bothwell)

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SEASON 2014 – 2015         Match 10:  Saturday 4th October 2014

Alex Jack Cup – Semi-final

Leith Athletic  3   Heriot-Watt University  2

The Semi-final of the Alex Jack Cup is virtually uncharted territory for the Watt, but there was to be no Final to follow as Premier Division leaders Leith edged out the Riccarton side at Meadowbank 3G.

With regular ‘keeper Craig Saunders unavailable for this game, Watt were grateful to Craig Pennycuik for taking the gloves and to Preston Athletic for the temporary transfer which enabled him to do so.

The home side went in front after 28 minutes’ play when a corner from the left by Robbie Mason was cleared as far as Kenny Hall.  He found Lewis Martin, who tapped in from six metres.

Hall was also instrumental in the second goal five minutes before half-time.  Again, the goal came after a corner, this time taken by Hall on the right.  As with the first goal, the clearance only took the ball as far as the edge of the penalty area and from there it was returned by Grant Burns.  The ball fell to Sean Murphy, who shot against the bar.  The rebound was collected by Neil Lowson, whose effort also hit the bar, but Lowson was quickly on to the rebound to score.

There was no further scoring until the last ten minutes of the match, but then Watt grabbed a goal after another narrow escape when Lowson again struck the crossbar after Stephen Baigan played on another Hall corner.  The ball was cleared to Chris Donnelly, who sped towards the Leith goal before being brought down by Murphy.  From the resultant free-kick, Neil Laurenson headed home.

It took Leith just two minutes to restore its two-goal advantage.  Gary Black won possession around the half-way line and passed inside to Keith Murray, who played the ball on for Euan Campbell to shoot.  His first attempt was blocked, but he fired the rebound into the top corner of the goal with his left foot.

Still Watt battled on and three minutes into stoppage time reduced the arrears again when Scott Dargo raced in on goal and lifted the ball over Iain Gordon as he advanced.

 

Leith Athletic:

Gordon, Black, Hall, Lowson, Leslie, Burns, Tracey, Murphy, Murray, Mason, Martin.   Subs.:  Baigan, Beaton, Campbell, Philp, Simpson.

 

Heriot-Watt University:

Pennycuik, Dargo, Laurenson, Kerr, Hume, Wright (Service 80), Sutherland (Higgins 40), Forbes, Donnelly, Webster (Hay 75), Green.    Sub. not used:  Heraghty.

 

Referee:  Mr David Doig (Edinburgh)

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SEASON 2014 – 2015         Match 9:  Saturday 27th September 2014

East of Scotland League – First Division 

Heriot-Watt University  1   Ormiston  2

Michael Webster gave the Watt the lead with around ten minutes played, weaving inside along the by-line to place the ball past Andrew McQueen into the far corner of the net.

Watt played well in the first half and Ormiston struggled to cope with the good movement and passing of the home side.

After half-time, Watt started in the same spirit, but conceded an equaliser five minutes into the second half and this changed the tenor of the match.  A free-kick was played into the Watt penalty area and defender Liam Skinner got his head to the ball to score.

Poor marking cost the Watt another goal with twelve minutes of the ninety remaining.  A shot from close to the by-line was parried by Craig Saunders and Dean Woods was in space to drive in the rebound.

 

Heriot-Watt University:

Saunders, Dargo, Laurenson, Kerr, Hume, Hay (Heraghty 65), Green, Forbes, Webster, Wright (Higgins 82), Sutherland (Sellar 78).    All subs. used.

 

Ormiston:

McQueen, Glynn, Gavin, Ferguson (Watson 56), Mack, Skinner (Ramage 71), Morgan, Quinne, Woods, Ross, Cockerell (Cochrane 61).

Subs. not used:  Hudson, Salton

 

Referee:  Mr Charlie McVicar (Bonnybridge)

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SEASON 2014 – 2015         Match 8:  Saturday 20th September 2014

East of Scotland League – First Division 

Heriot-Watt University  2   Hawick Royal Albert  1

Watt made hard work of overcoming a fit, motivated and well-organised Hawick side, with the game only decided in the last ten minutes.

Head Coach Chris Smith was characteristically loyal following the good win at Craigroyston the previous week.  Bruce Hay, Stevie Wright and Ryan Higgins all retained their midfield berths, but in the one change from the previous week’s starting eleven, Michael Heraghty was unfortunate to drop out after his fine performance, with the pace and power of Elliot Sutherland being preferred.

Sutherland was involved almost immediately, having the first chances of the match.  Timing his run off the wing well, he picked up on a pass in plenty of space, but with just goalkeeper Martin Stewart to beat, he played the ball much too far ahead of himself.  He did manage to force the ball up in the air off the ‘keeper, but after it was retrieved by Watt players and recirculated to give Sutherland another chance, he sent his shot wide of the post.

This was a significant miss, as Albert came more into the game as the first half wore on.  Michael McKenzie created a problem for the Watt defence, picking up a throw-in close to the by-line and forcing a corner which Watt struggled to clear.

MIchael Webster’s clever flick then put Ryan Higgins through for a shot, but from the edge of the penalty box the midfielder scuffed his shot and Stewart collected easily.

Watt had a spell of concerted pressure after this, with several crosses dealt with by the Royalists’ defence before an offside decision put an end to the attack.

The visitors had a setback just before the half-hour when Shaun Fallan aggravated an achilles tendon injury and had to be replaced, with Calvin Muttitt coming into the action.

Webster threatened again soon after, flattening his run to go clear of the Albert defence, but Stewart advanced quickly and foiled Webster’s attempt to flick the ball past him.  Higgins then sent Scott Dargo away on the right and his deep cross was headed past by Chris Donnelly.

Craig Saunders was called upon just after this as three Hawick players evaded the cover on the left side of the home defence.  Saunders, alert to the danger, ran from his box to get there in the nick of time and win the ball with a well-executed sliding tackle.

As the half drew to a close, Andy Forbes made a good run through midfield to pick out Donnelly on the left, but when he cut inside and shot from the edge of the area, Stewart was again well positioned.

At half-time, there was radical action from the Watt bench, with Cammy Stevenson and Martin Green coming on to replace Hay and Higgins.

Saunders was called into action two minutes after the restart, turning a shot from the edge of the area over the bar, but Watt should have scored five minutes later.  Good work by Stevenson put Donnelly through on the right side of the penalty area, but when he squared the ball to Webster, the striker’s shot gave Stewart a chance and he took it, diving to turn the ball away.  Dargo picked up the ball on the left and fired across a low centre which the lunge of Forbes just failed to reach.

Saunders had to judge the flight of a free kick from the left to palm it away to safety and just after this, Hawick had perhaps their best chance of the game when poor defensive work gifted a chance to Nicky Cairns, but his shot struck a Watt player and was cleared.

Calum Milne then replaced Webster, with Watt putting three up front – Milne, Donnelly and Stevenson.  There was almost an immediate response, as a ball over the top gave Donnelly a chance to run through, but he played the ball too far ahead.  The vigilant Stewart was able to block the shot and then smother the ball before Milne could gather the rebound.

Stevenson’s well-angled run put him in possession on the right side of the box, but when he played the ball to the near post area, Milne was unable to turn it in, due to the attentions of Chris McLeod, who injured himself in the process.

We were into the last ten minutes now, but relief was at hand for the Watt support.  Wright’s good tackle freed the ball for Donnelly on the left.  There was still plenty to do, but Donnelly somehow eluded two defenders and drove into the penalty box before lofting the ball over Stewart for a goal at last.

Two minutes later, the lead was doubled with an even more dramatic piece of individual skill.  Stevenson jinked his way past a posse of defenders and from the edge of the area drilled a superb shot into the postage-stamp corner, giving Stewart no chance at all.

It had taken two goals of brilliance to achieve the breakthrough, but suddenly we had a different game on our hands.  Another good move forced McLeod to play the ball behind with Sutherland closing in.

With three minutes left and the play becoming a little towsy, there was a most regrettable incident.  Stevenson was again doing what he does, taking the ball close to the feet of opponents, twisting and turning, and he came down amongst a forest of legs.  Innes Zenati appeared to aim a stamp at him and Stevenson, from a prone position, swung a leg in the direction of the big defender.  When the dust settled, Mr Gill dismissed both players.

This was not to be the only disappointment for the Watt.  Seconds from the third consecutive clean sheet, a free kick was played in from the visitors’ left and as the Watt defence stood immobile, Gordon Ramsay judged the flight to steer the ball into the corner of the goal on the half-volley.

 

Heriot-Watt University:

Saunders, Dargo, Laurenson, Kerr, Forbes, Higgins (Green 45), Hay (Stevenson 45), Wright, Webster (Milne 76),  Donnelly, Sutherland.    Subs. not used:  Heraghty, Hume.

 

Hawick Royal Albert:

Stewart, McLeod, Shillinglaw, Zenati, Fallan (Muttitt 27), McKenzie, Fleming, Cairns, Noble, G Ramsay, Brown (Russell 88).    Subs. not used:  N Ramsay, Shanley, Dunsmore.

 

Referee:  Mr Michael Gill (East Wemyss)

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SEASON 2014 – 2015         Match 7:  Saturday 13th September 2014

Alex Jack Cup:  Second Round 

Craigroyston  0   Heriot-Watt University  2

It was a superb day out in the Edinburgh sunshine for the Watt as the growing squad showed that it’s now strong enough to defy its awful Alex Jack record and to take on Premier Division opponents with confidence.

Michael Webster had shown enough of his old spark in twenty minutes as a substitute at Eyemouth the previous week to secure him the number nine shirt when Calum Milne’s training injury prevented his inclusion and from the start of this match, “Webby” showed the energy and enthusiasm thwarted during his long months of imposed absence from the game.

His namesake Michael Heraghty was the first Watt player to make an impact at St Mark’s Park, winning the ball on the left and playing in a fine cross to the near post area, but Bruce Hay was a bit diffident in his approach to the ball and was unable to get in a header.

With four minutes on the clock, Ryan Higgins found Webster, who won a corner on the right.  Steven Wright’s kick was headed on by Chris Donnelly and Webster turned to fire in a shot, but home goalkeeper Douglas Horne was quickly out to smother it.  This was but a rehearsal, however, as two minutes later more good work from Webster secured a corner on the other side.  Neil Laurenson’s kick was played on by Donnelly and again Webster swivelled on the edge of the six-yard box, this time hooking the ball into the net before anyone could move.

It was a great start from Watt and further enterprise by Donnelly and Webster threatened again shortly after this.  After a run through the centre of the field, Donnelly found Webster on the edge of the area, but when he tried to return the ball to Donnelly, Webster’s pass was cut out.

Andy Forbes improvised a shot from an awkwardly-bouncing ball from another Laurenson corner, but his attempt drifted just over the bar.  Then Ryan Higgins clipped the ball through for Webster, but he delayed his shot and Horne did well to block. Hay’s follow-up shot was diverted behind.  Scott Dargo tried a spectacular overhead kick following Wright’s corner and didn’t miss by much.

After all this Watt pressure, Craigie was due a period of ascendancy and it came during the latter part of the first half.  Chris Inglis came close with a shot at the end of a good left-wing move, then Craig Anderson seized on a weak defensive header to shoot just past the post.  Inglis then crossed for Kyle Boggie to fire in a first-time shot which just cleared the bar.  As home pressure built up, Laurenson had to be alert to prevent Mark Hendrie getting a clear header from another left-wing cross and David Kerr’s challenge forced Boggie’s shot from the edge of the area to pass just outside the post.

Finally, Watt countered with a great pass from Kerr to release Webster on a diagonal run, but although he brought the ball inside two defenders, the striker was unable to generate enough power in his shot to trouble Horne.  Nevertheless, Watt made it through to half-time with their lead intact.

Eight minutes after the restart, it got twice as good.  A mistake on the left side of the home defence enabled Webster – who else? – to pounce and secure the ball.  He worked his way inside towards goal and picked his moment for a cutback which left Donnelly with a close-range finish to the corner of the net.

For a time after this, Watt threatened to take over, with Heraghty’s cute improvisation just short of the power needed to catch out Horne, Wright’s shot from distance after more good work by Heraghty and a trademark break by Forbes to supply Webster, who forced a Laurenson corner from which Donnelly headed just over.

Elliot Sutherland marked his arrival to the fray with a shot from distance which cleared the bar, before Ryan Higgins’ endeavour drew a foul which Watt got all wrong.

Just as in the first half, Craigie began to assert themselves from around half-way through and a crossfield pass to substitute Greig Tulloch brought a cross which Forbes was obliged to play behind.  Inglis’ corner was a good one, swinging right in on top of Craig Saunders and forcing the Watt goalkeeper to punch clear from close to his line.  A Craigroyston player on the edge of the box then sent in a well-judged dipping shot which appeared to have beaten Saunders until the big man stretched his right arm and touched the ball over the bar.  From the resultant corner, Saunders had to punch clear again, but this time Matty Costello headed the ball back in to the mix and Craig Anderson slammed a left-foot shot against the post from an unlikely angle.

Having survived these alarms, Watt resumed the offensive and when Heraghty played the ball back in after a free kick had been cleared, Donnelly’s volley brought a splendid save from Horne, with Webster just unable to steer a header towards goal from the rebound.

By the end of the game, Watt had kept a clean sheet for the second week in a row and eliminated a Premier Division team on its own ground to progress to the semi-finals of the Alex Jack Cup, in which they will visit Premier Division leaders Leith Athletic at Meadowbank 3G on the 4th of October.

 

Craigroyston:

Horne, Callaghan, Hogarth, Barbirou, Costello, Inglis (Nisbet 73), M Hendrie (Sommerville 73), Anderson, C Hendrie, Boggie, Young (Tulloch 58).    Subs. not used:  Kneebone, Cadger.

 

Heriot-Watt University:

Saunders, Dargo, Laurenson, Kerr, Forbes, Higgins (Green 73), Hay (Sutherland 59), Wright, Webster, Donnelly, Heraghty (Hume 79).    Subs. not used:  O’Hagan, Woolven.

 

Referee:  Mr Billy Cooper (Glenrothes)

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SEASON 2014 – 2015         Match 6:  Saturday 6th September 2014

East of Scotland League:  First Division 

Eyemouth United  0   Heriot-Watt University  1

Watt escaped from Warner Park with the three points to get their league total moving after a stubborn defensive display protected the lead given by Calum Milne’s smart goal towards the end of the first half.

From the beginning of this match, the Fishermen belied their lowly league position with some fine passing and movement.  Also, when Watt players had the ball, they found themselves hard pressed by the eager home side, who will have counted themselves unfortunate to come away with nothing from a closely-fought contest.

The return of Andy Forbes to the Watt defence was a boost and in the fourth minute he reminded us of his prowess in the air, heading an Eyemouth corner to the half-way line.  The visiting defence was soon under pressure again, though, with David Kerr having to dive in to divert a shot for another corner.

Alex Scott was so unfortunate as to suffer a severe blow to the head in a clash with a United player.  He bravely played on for a time, but was showing symptoms of concussion and was replaced by Steven Wright just before the half-hour, with Scott Dargo dropping back to right-back.

The home side continued to set the pace, but in a Watt break, Chris Donnelly seized on a defensive mistake to fire in a shot from a tight angle.

As half-time approached, Watt snatched a goal out of the blue.  Calum Milne gathered the ball from a throw-in, neatly turned and lost his marker and moved into the box, from where he shaped a right-foot shot from a tight angle across home goalkeeper Adam Mutch and into the far corner of the net.

The second half pattern was similar to that of the first, but Watt had an opportunity ten minutes into it to try out a rehearsed free-kick move.  Neil Laurenson found Forbes, but when he laid off the ball for Donnelly, the striker had moved just too early and was caught offside.

A good move by Watt in which Milne made ground before being crowded out brought Forbes storming through, but when he eventually lost possession, Watt was thin in defence and Craig Saunders had to look lively, coming out of his penalty box to clear.

Eyemouth continued to win corners and from one of these, substitute Sean Williamson’s kick was headed goalwards by Gordon McInnes, forcing Saunders to touch the ball over the bar.

James Wilson picked up on a poor defensive header to shoot from the edge of the area, but the effort lacked accuracy.  Before play restarted, Watt introduced Michael Webster for his first outing in many a day after injury destroyed his season last time.  He took little time in reminding us of his capabilities, linking with Bruce Hay to get in a header at the back post.

Michael Heraghty then sent Webster away with a fine pass and when he flicked the ball into the penalty area and chased it, there could have been a penalty when he was brought down by the diving Mutch, but the ball ran on to Bruce Hay, whose shot flashed across goal and out on the far side.

In stoppage time, Donnelly had a golden opportunity to make the points secure, but when through on Mutch, he sent his lob over the ‘keeper and past the post.  In the end, it didn’t affect the outcome as Watt gratefully grabbed the spoils.

 

Eyemouth United:

Mutch, Wood, McInnes, Wyman, Walker (Lough 72) , Wilson, Burrell, Jess, Campbell, Thomson (Buckley 77), Lauder (Williamson 65).    Sub. not used:  Adamson.

 

Heriot-Watt University:

Saunders, Scott (Wright 29), Laurenson, Kerr, Forbes, Dargo, Hay, Higgins (Green 80), Milne (Webster 76),  Donnelly, Heraghty.    Subs. not used:  Woolven, O’Hagan.

 

Referee:  Mr Kevin Lindsay (Edinburgh)

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SEASON 2014 – 2015         Match 5:  Wednesday 27th August 2014

East of Scotland League:  First Division 

Heriot-Watt University  3   Burntisland Shipyard  3

On a beautiful August evening at Riccarton, two young sides played out an absorbing match with many more scoring chances than the six which were taken.

Watt started well with Cammy Stevenson prominent in early exchanges, twice in quick succession sending stinging drives just over the junction of post and bar at the near post, firstly from a superb crossfield pass by Calum Milne, then when he read Chris Donnelly’s head-flick to race into the box.

Shipyard responded and when Shaun Keatings was brought down just outside the box, Craig Saunders saved splendidly from the free-kick, diving to his right to turn the ball round the post.

The visitors struck first, four minutes from the half-hour.  A good move on the left resulted in a cross which was cleared to a central area just outside the box, where the ball was met by Kevin Masson, who accurately picked a route through the mass of bodies in the penalty area to find the corner of the net.

The Shippy lead lasted just six minutes, Donnelly equalising with a shot high into the net from Milne’s lay-off.

Stevenson came close again, this time with a header from Michael Heraghty’s pinpoint cross, before a furious period of attacking by the Watt, with Stevenson and Heraghty delivering telling crosses, was repulsed by determined Shipyard defending.  The Watt was not to be denied, however, and three minutes from the break, Milne shrugged off a challenge as he turned, took the ball round goalkeeper Jordan Mushet and slotted the ball into the empty net to give the home side a half-time lead.

The period immediately following the break was Watt’s best spell of football in the match, with Donnelly, Heraghty, Bruce Hay and Neil Laurenson all contributing to incisive moves, but no goals resulted from the Watt dominance and seven minutes into the half, the visitors grabbed an equalising goal.  A free kick on the right was played inside to one-time Watt favourite Brendan Napier.  His side-foot shot was played out as far as Craig Lowe, who sent a crisp first-time half-volley across Saunders into the corner of the net.

Chances continued to come at both ends, with Stevenson, Donnelly and Hay coming close for the Watt and Keatings sending a header narrowly past for Shipyard.  Eventually, with twenty minutes left to play, Watt had their noses in front again, Donnelly timing his run to perfection to connect with a chipped pass over the Burntisland defence and loft the ball over the onrushing Mushet to find the net.

Once again, however, the lead could not be consolidated.  Keatings was left on his own on the right side of the Watt box and when he was given the ball, Chris Smith came across to challenge.  Keatings went down for what looked to Watt eyes a soft penalty award, but when the referee decided to give it, perhaps Smith was fortunate to escape with a caution.  Napier stepped forward to send Saunders the wrong way from the spot and tie the scores once again.

Further chances for Stevenson and Donnelly were kept out by Mushet and his fellow defenders before both sides had a chance to snatch victory in the last minute.  First, a good corner from the Burntisland right was met by a firm header by Keith Buckley which passed across the Watt goal and just past the far post; then, in the very last action, Donnelly showed superb footwork to create the room for a fine cross which Hay ran in to meet, but he also sent his header across goal to shave the far post.

 

Heriot-Watt University:

Saunders, Lynch, Smith, Kerr, Woolven, Hay, Stevenson, Laurenson, Milne (Walker 89),  Donnelly, Heraghty (Kerlin 60).    Subs. not used:  Bell, Cairns, Sellar.

 

Burntisland Shipyard:

Mushet, Arthur, Anderson (Samson 44), Clark, MacDonald, Napier (Robertson 82), Keatings, Lowe, Henderson (Buckley 83), Masson, McPhail.    Subs. not used:  Springhall, Doig.

 

Referee:  Mr Calvin Mark (Uphall)

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SEASON 2014 – 2015         Match 4:  Saturday 23rd August 2014

East of Scotland League:  First Division 

Duns  4   Heriot-Watt University  1

In the magnificent surroundings of New Hawthorn Park, which after three years’ planning has been splendidly brought into existence this year in the Berwickshire town, Watt started its league season with a disappointing defeat which has intensified the selection worries of Head Coach Chris Smith.

Watt, with three youngsters – Jack O’Hagan, Adam Woolven and Ryan Higgins – making their debuts due to the unavailability of regulars (including Scott Dargo, who failed a fitness test before the start), settled quickly into the game and took a deserved lead after six minutes.  Cammy Stevenson took advantage of a defensive slip to outflank the home defence and send a cutback from the line into the path of Brian Anderson, who found the corner of the net with a firm strike.

Anderson had the opportunity to double his tally four minutes later, turning inside following a throw-in, but he seemed unnerved by the amount of space he had and pulled his shot wide of the near post.

The game settled into a fairly even rhythm, with both sides having chances from time to time.  Watt had a great chance to add a second goal three minutes from the half-hour, when a neat turn on the edge of the box put Calum Milne through to face Duns goalkeeper Paul Smith, but Milne’s shot was too straight and the goalie saved with his feet.

Watt paid for this miss four minutes later when a ball from the left was stabbed through to Duns striker Mike Robinson and he steered the ball past the left hand of Craig Saunders to equalise.

Duns started the second half brightly and carried the game to the visitors.  This paid off seven minutes after the break with a game-changing incident.  New boy O’Hagan bundled over Des Chisholm in the penalty area and Watt was given the double punishment – a penalty kick and the dismissal of O’Hagan.

Steve Shennan struck the kick to the left of Saunders, who got a hand to the ball but couldn’t keep it out.  Four minutes later, the situation got worse for the Watt as Woolven, another of the debutants, was miles short with an attempted header back to Saunders after allowing the ball to bounce.  Robinson ran on to lob the ball over the Watt ‘keeper and watch it go into goal off the underside of the bar.

Anderson was injured in a tackle and had to be replaced and on the hour mark the catastrophic day of the new lads was completed.  After O’Hagan’s red card and Woolven’s giveaway, Higgins got himself a second caution for a foul and joined O’Hagan in the pavilion.

After this, it was a matter of preventing the score getting out of hand and Watt shut up shop as best they could, but could not prevent another goal being added to the home tally, David Kerr slamming a cross from the left into his own goal off the crossbar to complete the set for the Watt.

 

Duns:  Smith, Ainslie, Walker, McHoul, Windrum, Bryson, Waddle, Tait (McGregor 78), Robinson, Shenna, Chisholm.    Sub. not used:  Weatherburn

 

Heriot-Watt University:

Saunders, O’Hagan, Laurenson, Kerr, Woolven, Higgins, Stevenson, Donnelly, Anderson (Hay 60), Milne (Walker 76), Heraghty (Kerlin 60).    Sub. not used:  Dargo

 

Referee:  Mr Paul Hanlon (Edinburgh)

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SEASON 2014 – 2015         Match 3:  Saturday 9th August 2014

Qualifying League:  Section B 

Heriot-Watt University  2   Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale  4

With two encouraging Qualifying League away ties behind them, Watt took on the League champions in their first home game of the season.

Riccarton was looking immaculate for this opening match and the weather, though breezy, was helping to make it look its best.

When the game got under way, Watt found themselves behind after five minutes, David Kerr getting an unfortunate touch to the cutback of Connor McGregor to send the ball just inside the far post.

Watt did not take this reverse lying down, however.  With Cammy Stevenson and Chris Donnelly both showing pace and invention in attack, the home side began to fashion a number of chances, with efforts by Donnelly, Elliot Sutherland and Brian Anderson dealt with by the visitors’ defence before Watt grabbed an equaliser on the half-hour.  Craig Saunders made a good save from Liam O’Donnell’s shot and Watt broke forward quickly, with the move ending with Stevenson slipping the ball through for Sutherland to find the top corner with an accurate shot.

Ten minutes later it got even better for the Watt.  Again it was a fine save by Saunders which was the precursor to a telling attack.  Sean Wringe’s superb stepover gave O’Donnell a clear sight of goal, but once more Saunders was equal to the task and dived to his left to make the save.  When Watt swept to the other end, Scott Dargo’s beautifully-flighted cross was well met by the head of Donnelly to send the ball across goal behind Bruce Callan.

Watt held the lead until half-time, but when the game restarted, it was clear that the visitors were playing with renewed purpose and the home goal came under repeated pressure as the Lothian wide players began to get round the Watt defence.  O’Donnell missed two excellent chances, heading wide when unmarked at the far post, before Saunders made a treble save from Kevin Keane.

Watt had a brief flurry when a good cross required Callan to exit his penalty area and head clear, but Stevenson was unable to capitalise and the equaliser which had seemed likely arrived in the sixty-fifth minute.  Another cross came over from the right and Scott Moffat made good ground across the box to head well away from Saunders.

Five minutes later, there was a disaster for Watt when Andy Forbes was sent off after a challenge on O’Donnell.  In the following minute, Watt had a great chance to regain the lead when a defensive error gave Anderson the chance to round Callan, but he was unable to clip the ball into the gaping net.

It always looked likely after this that the visitors would find the goals they needed, but when they took the lead with quarter of an hour remaining, it was from a break-out following a Watt free kick.  Scott Gormley set off down the right, his pace and power taking him beyond the Watt pursuit, and crossed for substitute Willis Hare to plant a firm downward header into goal.

Two minutes later, the result was confirmed when Louis Swanson sent a free-kick curling into the top corner of the net.

After that, it was just a question of whether or not the champions would add to the winning margin, but Watt, riding their luck at times, were able to prevent the score mounting higher.

 

Heriot-Watt University:

Saunders, Laurenson, Heraghty, Kerr, Forbes, Dargo, Stevenson, Wright, Anderson (Milne 74), Donnelly, Sutherland.    Subs. not used:  Kerlin, Walker, Smith.

 

Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale:

Callan, McGregor (Crawford 70), Keane, Williams, Munro, Brown, O’Donnell (Connolly 63), Swanson, Wringe, Moffat (Hare 63), Gormley.    Subs. not used:  McDonaugh, Joint.

 

Referee:  Mr John Weir

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SEASON 2014 – 2015         Match 2:  Wednesday 6th August 2014

Qualifying League:  Section B 

Easthouses Lily Miners’ Welfare  1   Heriot-Watt University  0

On a fine summer’s evening in East Lothian, promoted Lily and relegated Watt fought out a fascinating, entertaining match which the visitors were unfortunate to lose to a last-gasp goal.

The home side, which must surely be amongst the tallest to represent an East of Scotland club, started impressively, with Ross McKinnon and Graeme Young prominent in early pressure, but in eight minutes Watt had the best chance so far when good battling by Elliot Sutherland set up a chance for Calum Milne, who was too deliberate in trying to set up his shot and gave the home defence the opportunity to recover.

Chris Donnelly was in the mood and evaded several challenges to fire in a shot which went wide of the post to John Falconer’s right.

With eleven minutes played, Lily came desperately close to scoring.  Liam Fellinger came inside off the right wing and shot against the post.  The Watt defence somehow managed to block McKinnon’s attempts to force in the rebound.

Midway through the first half, a superb tackle by Andy Forbes set up a break on the left.  Scott Dargo made good ground and passed inside to the unmarked Milne, but in trying to sidefoot the ball into the corner of the net, the striker turned his body too much and sent his shot just wide.

Milne then did well to set up Donnelly, whose curler round a defender brought a sensational save from Falconer, diving to his left to get a hand to the ball.

Neil Laurenson combined with Dargo and Sutherland in another fine move on the left, but the pass inside to Donnelly lacked a little firmness.  Donnelly had to try to force the shot and Falconer was able to make the catch.

Before half-time, Milne’s close-range shot forced Falconer into another superb  stop, the former Riccarton custodian diving to touch the ball on to the post.

The second half was a bit less eventful, but early on Cammy Stevenson came close with a shot across goal after a jinking run took him into the penalty area.

For Lily, Alex Elliot’s shot went wide before Steven Wright called Falconer into action again to save a curling shot of deceptive flight.

Brian Anderson had a chance with fifteen minutes left when a home defender missed the ball, leaving the Watt man with a chance from the edge of the box, but his solid drive was deflected just over the bar.

With eight minutes to play, Craig Saunders threw himself to his left to make a stop similar to the one which Falconer had produced in the first half, foiling Lily substitute Kenny McMillan.  Watt sub Bruce Hay had a shooting chance shortly after this, running on to a pass from Donnelly, but he went to ground as he shot and dragged the ball across goal and out.

In the one minute of stoppage time at the end of the game, Watt was made to pay for the failure to take their chances when Kenny McMillan got his head to a throw-in from the right to float the ball gently past Saunders and inside the far post for a goal which it had seemed would never come.

 

Easthouses Lily M.W.:

Falconer, Shields, Campbell, McQueenie, Arthur, Walkinshaw, McKinnon (McMillan), Young, Elliot (J Hunter), McDermott, Fellinger (Robertson 58).   Subs. not used:  C Hunter, Baigrie.

Heriot-Watt University:

Saunders, Scott, Laurenson, Forbes, Kerr, Dargo, Stevenson (Hay 79), Wright, Milne (Anderson 61), Donnelly, Sutherland (Heraghty 66).    Subs. not used:  Lawrie, Walker.

 

Referee:  Mr Ralph Gordon

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SEASON 2014 – 2015         Match 1:  Saturday 2nd August 2014

Qualifying League:  Section B

Hawick Royal Albert  1   Heriot-Watt University  3

Watt got their season off to a successful start at Albert Park, edging out Hawick in the second half of an enjoyable match.

Watt got off to a fine start in the game, Elliot Sutherland scoring his first East of Scotland goal for the top team after fifteen minutes, slotting past the advancing Jordan Dunsmore after being set up by Chris Donnelly’s fine run and pass.  Five minutes later, the home side was back on level terms when Nick Ramsay blasted home a free kick from a central area.

Watt went back in front a minute after the restart when Brian Anderson was alert to take advantage of mistakes in the Hawick defence and steer the ball in from a very tight angle.

Watt was unable to find another goal and the Albert built up a head of steam in the middle of the second half, forcing a succession of corners, but although Craig Saunders made a marvellous instintive save to touch a close-range effort on to the post, the Watt back line was not breached again and with ten minutes left to play, Anderson scored again to ensure the points would come back to Riccarton.

The clinching goal was created by a superb corner with direction and pace from Michael Heraghty which picked out Anderson at the far post.  The striker rose to send a firm, controlled header back across goal and inside the far post.

 

Hawick Royal Albert:

Dunsmore, Zenati (McCulloch 62), Brown, Loughlin, Fallan, Summers, Muttitt (Dimingo 82), McLeod (McFerrin 88), N Ramsay, Cairns, G Ramsay.  Sub. not used:  Russell.

 

Heriot-Watt University:

Saunders, Scott, Heraghty, Kerlin, Smith, Dargo, Milne (Wright 65), Donnelly, Anderson (Lawrie 86), Stevenson, Sutherland (Walker 83).

(All subs. used)

 

Referee:  Mr. Calum Doyle