Under-20s Match Reports

Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 25

Lowlands Development League

13th May 2019

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  3   WHITEHILL WELFARE  1  

After the frustrations of the previous match at Dunipace, the Watt players took the field determined, in the last game of the season, not to repeat the result against another side which had gained a narrow win over them in the early part of the league programme.

The Watt side came under a bit of pressure in the opening minutes from a lively Welfare outfit, but took the lead in the seventh minute of play when Theo McGuire’s quality ball from the right found Ronan Dowds with time and space to bring the ball down and place it past Kadin Boak in the Whitehill goal.

Watt began to play some flowing football, with one particularly fine move producing a shooting chance for Ali Shrive, but in turning he lost control and sent his effort well wide.

Welfare’s elusive striker, Michael Bennett, made a penetrating run into the home penalty box, but Aidan Quinn read the situation perfectly and accelerated to take the ball away and set up another Watt attack, at the end of which a shot by Dowds across Boak was mishandled by the young goalie and found the corner of the goal to put the Watt two ahead.

The visitors showed how dangerous they could be when a header from a corner went narrowly past the post, but another superb passing move put Heriot-Watt back on to the attack.   Callum Carson came short to receive the ball in midfield and played it wide to McGuire, who linked with Calvin Muttitt, but when he found Lewis Duffy, his shot went across goal and just past.

The considerable contingent of supporters following the visiting team had reason to cheer shortly after this when Fynlay Connor managed to elude the attentions of the Watt defence and from twenty metres drive a fierce left-foot shot off the underside of the bar and into goal to reduce the gap to one.

Before half-time, however, the Watt had restored its two-goal lead as Dowds completed his hat-trick, catching a defender in possession and slotting the ball past Boak’s left hand.

Shrive’s fine run was halted by a foul near the penalty box, but Boak was able to grasp Quinn’s free kick at the second attempt.  After another good move involving Quinn, Shrive and Carson, Muttitt got in a shot, but hadn’t turned sufficiently and sent the ball wide.  

A crossfield ball in the Whitehill defence struck Muttitt and rebounded for Dowds to fire in a shot, but although he struck the ball with ferocious force, he was slightly too high in his elevation.

The half finished with good battling by Carson on the edge of the penalty box.  When he was fouled, Dowds sent the free kick over the defensive wall, but narrowly over the bar.

Watt resumed the attack early in the second half, a lovely pass by Shrive finding Muttitt on the left.  He brought the ball back on to his right foot and sent in a cross which created a scramble in which two shots were blocked before McGuire miscued his attempt and Boak was able to gather.

Watt came close to another goal just after the hour, when Shrive’s pass enabled Dowds to drive the ball goalwards, but Boak dived to his left to make an excellent one-handed save.

Ethan Stevens replaced Dowds and gave the visitors’ defence a whole new set of problems, showing good close control to reach the line and send a cutback across the area.  Lewis Duffy came in at the far side, but his first touch was heavy and he lunged after the ball, catching a defender instead.

A sustained attack by Whitehill was ended by a superb clearance by Quinn which turned into a good pass for Stevens, who controlled the ball and escaped his marker.  Running from half-way, he reached the edge of the penalty area, but his shot was deflected just wide.  From the ensuing corner kick, a long melee in the Welfare goalmouth developed, but the home side covered well and survived without further damage.

Stevens came close with another shot from distance, but the game gradually subsided towards its conclusion.  The Watt certainly deserved the win, but credit must also go to a very young Welfare side which not only showed both determination and enterprise, but above all passed and moved as well as any side seen at Riccarton this season.  If Whitehill can keep the nucleus of this team together, good times will surely lie ahead for it.

Heriot-Watt University:

Real de Asua, Quinn, Gamble, Burt, Teviotdale, Shrive, Carson (Larmour 58), Muttitt (Smith 58), Dowds (Stevens 65), McGuire (Nicol 68), Duffy (Milne 82).    Subs. not used:  Cumming, Wright.

Whitehill Welfare:

Boak, Notley, Collins, Boal, Rogan (Wilson 39), Williams, Connor, Tickle, Bennett (Solway 45), Burrows (McGlagan 53), O’Neill.    Sub. not used:  Hancock.

Referee:  Mr Kian Gallacher (Edinburgh)

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Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 24

Lowlands Development League

10th May 2019

DUNIPACE  2   HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  1

After the previous Friday’s imperious performance against Cumbernauld Colts, the Watt travelled to Denny hoping to even the account after losing 2 – 1 at home to Dunipace earlier in the league programme, but after ninety frustrating minutes, the result was the same again.

It was a strong Watt side which took the field and by no means did it play badly.  Over the course of the match, Heriot-Watt had considerably more of the ball and generally used it well, but an eager and energetic Dunipace side pressed throughout, making it difficult to create clear-cut chances, and when there were opportunities in front of goal, the Watt finishing was wasteful.

Watt kicked off, shooting down the slight slope at Westfield Park.  Todd Teviotdale, playing in a role which allowed him to use his strong running through midfield, was prominent early on, surging down the left to win a corner.

Dunipace looked dangerous on the break, but the Watt had most of the possession and took the lead after eighteen minutes’ play, Ronan Dowds crossing for Euan Scott to apply a close-range finish.

This was encouraging, but the lead lasted only three minutes and when the equaliser came, from a Watt point of view it was self-inflicted.  Heriot-Watt had possession inside the Dunipace half, but as the home side pressed, the ball went back and back and eventually Lewis Duffy gave the ball to Cammy Burt in a rather tight right-back position.  Burt squared it to his goalkeeper, Kostka Real de Asua de Azua, but the ’keeper, habitually so assured with the ball at his feet, seemed a little worried by the presence in the penalty box of striker Ryan Mack and rushed an attempted clearance.  In the way these things so often happen, he fired the ball directly at the object of his concern.  With even worse luck, the ball, having struck Mack, fell kindly for him and he had no trouble in firing it into the corner of the net.

Watt should probably have regained the lead shortly after this, when a good run through the centre was matched by a good through ball, but the player involved, who may have been Dowds, struck goalkeeper Craig Martin with his shot and the home defence was able to clear.  Another good move gave Dowds a shooting chance from twenty metres, but Martin dived to his left to save.

For Dunipace, Thomas McLaughlin fired over the bar from outside the box.  Watt responded with a shot from distance by Duffy which was parried by Martin, diving again to his left.  Thomas Smart was showing good footwork on the Dunipace right and he was the next with an effort on goal, cutting inside to send in a shot which went narrowly over.

Early in the second half, a well-judged lob by Callum Carson brought the best from Martin, who bent backwards to tip the ball over the bar.  The value of this save was shown four minutes later when Mack timed his run perfectly to get ahead of Burt, cut inside and send an accurate drive just inside the far post, giving his side the lead for the first time.

There was well over half an hour to play and for most of this time, the visitors probed at the home defence, looking for a chink in the Dunipace armour, but the defence was well-organised and calm and when the Watt players did contrive an opening, they were unable to convert the chance.

A good turn by Dowds enabled him to play in Scott, but the striker was unable to get much purchase on the ball as he ran across the area.  The closest thing of all came from a great run by Aaron Gamble, at the end of which he exchanged passes at the edge of the area and drove in a shot which came back off the inside of Martin’s left post with the goalkeeper a spectator.  A scramble ensued and eventually Ali Shrive rifled in a shot from the edge of the penalty box, but Martin was equal to the situation again, somehow managing to touch the ball over the bar.

Shrive had provided his usual subtle influence throughout, but he now began to exert a real influence on the game.  He created another chance with some determined work in front of the Dunipace defence, but his shot was too straight and Martin saved low down.

Another fine pass by Shrive produced a good exchange on the Watt left, with Theo McGuire involved, but when the ball was played in to the near post, it bounced up too high for Dowds to control it and the ball went narrowly past.

After Shrive’s shot from the right side of the box had Martin bending backwards to touch over for a third time during the half, Aidan Quinn collected the ball following the corner kick and played it to the right.  The ball was crossed to the far post and headed into goal, but the referee was in good position to rule that the strike had been offside.

The sizeable Dunipace support departed in rather subdued fashion, recognising that their side had collected three points in a match in which it had enjoyed a minor share of possession, but no doubt gratified that their team had held firm, taken its chances and won the game in rather unlikely circumstances.

Dunipace:

Martin, Banks, (Binnie 45), McCable (Smart 46), Galloway, Denham, T McLaughlin, Smart, O’Connor (Stewart 65), Mack, Tulloch (Murray 76), J McLaughlin.

Sub. not used:  Mayne.

Heriot-Watt University:

Real de Asua de Azua, Quinn, Gamble, Burt, Teviotdale, Duffy, Shrive, Carson, Cumming (McGuire 54), Duffy, Scott (Naysmith 71), Dowds.    Subs. not used:  Dighton, Larmour.

Referee:  Andrew Craven (Lennoxtown)

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Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 23

Lowlands Development League

3rd May 2019

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  4   CUMBERNAULD COLTS  0  

After about a month without an Under-20 fixture, the Watt side was in fine tune to record a decisive victory against a good Colts side which passed the ball well, showed good movement and gave of its best right to the end of the game.

Watt was boosted by having available Todd Teviotdale and Ali Shrive, two players who had been called upon for First Team duty with increasing regularity as the season went on.  With the Watt’s East of Scotland fixtures now at an end, these players were again available for the Under-20 team.  The side was further enhanced by the inclusion of Aidan Quinn as an ‘overage’ guest player.  Aidan, whose quality illuminated the game, played with a joyful enthusiasm that spread confidence throughout the Watt team.

Watt went straight on to the attack from the kick-off and might well have scored within the first half-minute of play.  A good pass by Aaron Gamble found Ethan Stevens wide on the left and his low centre reached a forward close to goal, but he seemed to be unsighted and was unable to get a foot to the ball.

Ronan Dowds was making good runs to the near post and sent two efforts over the bar in quick succession: the first a volley from Mark Larmour’s cross, the second a header from Todd Teviotdale’s centre.

The Heriot-Watt side continued to look dangerous in attack and took the lead after thirteen minutes’ play.  Theo McGuire moved off his marker on the edge of the area and when Ali Shrive’s precise pass picked him out, he sent in a strong drive.  Alexander Gilchrist, in the Colts’ goal, dived to his left to block the ball, but Shrive had continued his run and was in perfect position to fire in the rebound.

A well-timed pass sent Teviotdale flying down the right again a few minutes later to play the ball into the box for the run of Craig Smith, but when Smith caught the ball, just before the by-line, Gilchrist was almost upon him and he was unable to get the ball past the goalkeeper.  Watt kept the ball alive and tried to pick out a player in the middle, but the Cumbernauld defenders managed to clear.

The visitors had their first shot on goal in the twentieth minute, Luke Kimmins sending in an angled drive from twenty metres, but Kostka Real de Asua de Azua was right in line to save comfortably.

Watt added a second goal on the half-hour.  Larmour took the ball down the right and slipped it inside to Teviotdale.  His pass across the penalty box found Stevens, but although he made space for a shot, he couldn’t entirely shake off Ryan McTurk and the defender deflected the ball behind.  McGuire’s deep corner kick was headed down to Aidan Quinn, who took a touch and sent a fierce angular drive into the net.

Heriot-Watt was in full flow now and two minutes later another good move threatened the visitors’ defence.  Quinn brought the ball forward and found Smith in midfield.  Smith’s pass to the right enabled Larmour to win a corner, which was taken short, but when the cross came in, it was too high for the players in the middle to reach it and went harmlessly past.

McGuire’s long-range attempt following a free kick was too high, but two minutes before half-time, the home side came very close to adding another goal when Quinn’s superb pass enabled Larmour to give Dowds another chance at the near post.  This time the striker flicked the ball past Gilchrist, but the contact wasn’t quite right and the ball ran across goal and just past the far post.

The last minute of the first half was an eventful one.  First, Cumbernauld reminded the Watt that they were still capable of posing a threat, Mikey Downs coming off the left wing to send in a shot which Real de Asua de Azua had to block and then collect, then play switched quickly to the other end and the referee turned away from what looked like a penalty when Shrive weaved his way into the penalty box and laid the ball off to a colleague who appeared to be tripped as he turned.  Colts regained possession and mounted a quick attack on the left, ending with a cutback to Jack Banks, who sent in a firm shot which again required the Watt goalkeeper to get his body behind the ball to block it and then pick it up.

Just as in the first half, Heriot-Watt started the second half on the front foot, gaining possession and pushing forward into the visitors’ territory.  Cumbernauld’s Matthew McConville sustained an injury and had to be helped from the pitch to be replaced by Jonathan Hogg, who turned out to be a more than useful deputy.  Colts, using pace, trickery and good passing, tried hard to get a foothold in the game, but found the home defence as solid as a rock and soon the Watt was again dictating play, with Quinn masterful at the back and Shrive inventive in the middle of the park.  Callum Carson replaced McGuire in midfield and turned in a fine performance in the unaccustomed position.

As the second half advanced, there were many quality moves to admire.  Quinn intercepted and drove forward, exchanging passes with Teviotdale and picking out Larmour with a first-time pass.  Larmour’s attempted cross was charged down for a corner kick.  Gamble sent over a tempting cross, but Gilchrist came out to make a fine catch.

The pressure from Heriot-Watt was now almost constant and it brought a third goal in the sixty-fifth minute.  A crossfield ball by Quinn was headed out as far as Larmour.  He moved the ball to Shrive, who sent a first-time pass inside the full-back.  The resultant low cross produced a shot which was saved by Gilchrist, but Dowds was on hand to drive the ball into goal from close range.

Watt should really have added another goal when a searching ball in from the left by Stevens found, of all people, Cammy Burt running in in front of goal, but the excitement of having a scoring chance was a little too much for the defender, who sliced his shot over the junction of post and bar.

A foul on Stevens gave Dowds a chance for a dead-ball strike from thirty metres, but although his shot was firm and well-placed, Gilchrist made the save of the night, diving high to his right to get a strong hand to the ball and deflect it over the bar.

After Euan Scott had replaced Dowds, the Watt added a fourth goal eleven minutes from the end.  Carson deceived everyone into thinking he was going to send the ball out to the right wing, then clipped a lovely little reverse pass into the penalty box to find Scott’s intelligent run off his marker.  Scott turned and fired the ball to the right of Gilchrist, where Ryan Gibson, in trying to clear, got the last touch before the ball crossed the line.

This was a hugely satisfying performance by the Watt side, which made a mockery of its eighth position in the Development League Conference ‘A’ table with a commanding display against a very capable Cumbernauld team.  Colts beat Heriot-Watt in a close game at Broadwood Stadium earlier in the season and are well able to exploit weaknesses shown by opposing teams, but on this occasion the Watt side played with an authority and confidence which was decisive.  Two more similar displays in the games still to be played should enable the side to move up the table to somewhere nearer to where their capabilities suggest they should be.

Heriot-Watt University:

Real de Asua, Duffy, Gamble, Burt, Smith, McGuire, Naysmith (Dighton 76), Scott, Dowds, Larmour, Walter (Milne 55).    Sub. not used:  Wright.

Cumbernauld Colts:

Gilchrist, McTurk, Gibson, Scullion, McNally, McConville (Hogg 49), Kimmins, Curtis, Downs (Johnstone 75), McDade, Banks.    All subs used.

Referee:  Mr Brent Falconer

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Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 22

Lowlands Development League Challenge Cup – Quarter-final

5th April 2019

EDINBURGH UNITED  2   HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  1

This cup tie was played at Ainslie Park due to the unavailability of United’s usual Meggetland ground.  In the first few minutes, it looked as if the Watt would win comfortably, but although they dominated possession throughout the game, a lack of penetration and firepower was the undoing of the side.

Watt took an early lead, Euan Scott’s cutback enabling Theo McGuire to send a low shot past goalkeeper Cameron Hanratty from twenty metres, but six minutes later, in what was perhaps their first attack, Edinburgh scored a well-worked equaliser, Martin Maughan supplying a neat pass for Liam Clark to fire low past the left hand of Kostka Real de Asua de Azua.

The Watt came very close to regaining the lead after twenty-one minutes, when a good move on the left ended with a ball to the near post.  Hanratty dived and got a hand to the ball, taking it up in the air inches over the head of Mark Larmour as he ran into the six-yard box.  United broke upfield quickly and it took alert defending by Alasdair Shrive to thwart the dangerous Maughan.

There were further indications that the Watt was not far from regaining the lead.  Larmour headed just over from a corner by Aaron Gamble, then a fine move on the right involving McGuire and Larmour provided the ball for Lewis Duffy, who would have been in on goal with a better first touch.  Duffy then led an incisive move on the left and supplied a pass inside for McGuire, who sent in a powerful shot from twenty metres which brought a splendid save from Hanratty, throwing himself to the left to turn the ball round the post.

United began the second half with greater purpose and won an early corner, which was well caught by Real de Asua de Azua.  Then a good move on the right gave Maughan a chance to set up Clark for another shot, but this time his effort passed over the junction of post and bar.

Ethan Stevens came on for the Watt and made an immediate impact, sending in a shot of great power, which skimmed the bar, then winning a corner on the left from which a near-post header crept just over.

McGuire had a chance on his left foot but couldn’t get much power into his shot; nevertheless, Hanratty spilled the ball and had to dive on it as the forwards closed in.  Gamble’s cross then caused a scramble in the box, but again the United defence got the ball away before a Watt player could get in a strike.

Maughan was always a threat on the break and his drive into the Watt box forced the concession of a corner.  We had reached the last fifteen minutes and suddenly United was committing a lot more resources to attack.  

Cammy Burt conceded a foul in the middle of the Watt half and when the ball was driven in from the free kick, it came off a head in the defensive wall.  Real de Asua de Azua saved superbly, going to his left to get a hand to the ball and divert it on to the bar.  First to the rebound was Edinburgh’s Sean McCole, who headed the ball into the net, but the referee, a little diffidently it seemed, gave an offside decision against him.  This may have been a questionable decision – nobody seemed to know whether it was right or not – and the ref may have had doubts which stayed in his mind.

Watt resumed the offensive after this incident, but Edinburgh was more in the game now as an attacking force and when, in stoppage time, Maughan went down the left at great pace, Kostka did brilliantly to advance and get a hand to the ball as the striker tried to play it round him.

After such fine contributions, however, the Watt goalkeeper was left in despair a minute later.  We were now deep into time added on and Maughan had another opportunity to run in on goal.  Kostka came to face him, but had already stopped and turned and was retreating towards his goal when the striker threw himself into him.  Perhaps influenced by the earlier incident, the referee decided this was a penalty and substitute Euan Lee drove the ball into the corner of goal from the spot.  The referee may have felt he was righting a wrong in awarding the penalty, but that is to disregard the feelings of the Watt goalkeeper, who had performed so heroically but was left utterly distraught by the injustice of the decision against him.  Referees should understand that trying to balance things up after decisions they feel they may have got wrong is never the right thing to do.

As the referee allowed four more minutes of stoppage time, Watt poured forward and had another couple of chances to grab an equaliser.  In a bizarre moment which seemed to take place in slow motion, a ball across the United goalmouth was stopped on the line by a defender, but neither of two Watt players in close attendance took advantage to prod the ball into goal.  The final action was Callum Carson’s header from a corner kick which was held by Hanratty.

Edinburgh United:

Hanratty, Kerr (Monteith 84), McKinnell, Henderson, Morrison, Young, Ward, Watson, Maughan, Clark (Lee 53), McCole (Brockie 77).    Subs. not used:  Walker, McCabe, Hay.

Heriot-Watt University:

Real de Asua de Azua, Carson, Gamble, Burt, Teviotdale, Shrive, Duffy, Smith (Nicol 82), Scott (Stevens 54), McGuire (Dowds 91), Larmour.    Subs. not used:  Dighton, Milne.

Referee:  Mr Derek McNee

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Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 21

Lowlands Development League

29th March 2019

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  0   TYNECASTLE  1

The Watt came into this game with some trepidation, as the squad was as depleted as any available to the coaches this season. 

Todd Teviotdale and Ali Shrive were included in the squad for the following day’s match against Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts and also missing for one reason or another were Ethan Stevens, Niall McClelland, Finn As-Chainey and Ben Voy.  We had Aidan Walter making his first start after just two substitute appearances during the season;  Cameron Milne was on the bench and made his debut ten minutes into the second half.  On the positive side, the Watt welcomed Craig Smith back after injury.

We knew what a tough proposition Tynecastle would be, too.  After losing in consecutive games to the Watt and to Hill of Beath Hawthorn back in November, Tynie had gone on a winning run that at the time of their arrival at the John Brydson Arena had extended to seven matches.  We shouldn’t have been too worried, though.  All the players benefiting from the coaching regime at Riccarton know how to set themselves out and are adaptable to meet differing circumstances.  The side played some excellent football in this match and ended up losing by the only goal of the game to their high-flying opponents.

Not long after the start, there was a caution for each side as Euan Scott had to hurdle a high challenge by Nathan Hill and the two players confronted each other.  The free kick for the Watt was played in well and Tynecastle goalkeeper didn’t get much distance on his attempted punch.  The ball fell for Ronan Dowds, but from ten metres or so he made much too firm a contact and the ball rose over the bar.

Ali Naysmith, who is showing signs of recovering his early-season form, was doing great work in the middle of the park for Watt and was instrumental in a good move on the right ending with Mark Larmour winning a corner-kick.  Shortly after this, another right-wing thrust ended with the last pass being cut out as Lewis Duffy went through seeking a shooting chance.  

Tynecastle responded with a fine move on the right.  Sam Walker, a tall, elusive player whose style is somewhat reminiscent of former Watt favourite Cammie Ross, played the ball on for Chris Finnie and his low centre was put just past at the far side by Russell Cairns.

Just after the half-hour, the visitors took the lead.  Determined running on the left set up the chance and when the ball was played inside, Kostka Real de Asua de Azua saved the first shot, only to be beaten when Euan Watson found a path through the crowded goalmouth with the rebound.

The Watt goalkeeper was alert seven minutes from the break, sprinting from his goal and going down bravely at the feet of Watson when a mishit through ball turned was spotted as an opportunity by the Tynie forward.  The spinning ball held up for him, but Kostka was there just in time.

Tynecastle came close to a second goal when a run by Walker set up Watson to run in on goal, but with Real de Asua de Azua rushing to meet him, the striker slipped the ball too far past his right hand and just past the post.

A beautifully-judged pass by Naysmith gave Dowds a shooting opportunity from the right side of the box, but although the Watt striker struck his shot well, Kyle Wilson in the Tynecastle goal was equal to the challenge, diving to his left to block the ball round the post. 

As the first half came to a close in lively style, Kostka saved from Cairns, Walter had a shooting chance from Duffy’s pass but blazed it high and wide and Watson benefited from a ricochet to run into the Watt box, only to find the side netting with his shot.

Not long after the restart came Watt’s best chance of the game.  Larmour went past his man on the right and cut the ball across.  Cammy Burt somehow found himself in the opposition box and played it on towards Dowds, close to goal, but the striker found the bounce awkward and in trying to adjust his stance to strike the ball, missed it altogether.

Real de Asua de Azua made another good save, going down to the left to make the catch at his near post as the ball was aimed across him.  Watt had another chance when Naysmith was barged over thirty metres from goal in the centre of the pitch, but Aaron Gamble’s free kick struck the defensive wall.

Cameron Milne replaced Walter ten minutes into the second half, making his debut in the Watt defence, with positional adjustments taking place.  

Theo McGuire went down the left and cut the ball back for Scott, but he didn’t catch his shot as he would have liked.  The game subsided into a midfield struggle for a time, but Walker woke us up with a snap volley which struck the right-hand post and rebounded into play.

Greig Dighton replaced Naysmith for the last quarter of an hour, but the next chance went to the visitors, with a free kick some twenty-five metres from goal.  Walker’s kick struck the defensive wall and went behind for a corner kick.

A good pass by Gamble gave Dowds another chance; he cut inside and sent in a low shot which went narrowly past the post.  Eventually, time ran out on the Watt and the visitors’ single goal was decisive.

Heriot-Watt University:

Real de Asua, Duffy, Gamble, Burt, Smith, McGuire, Naysmith (Dighton 76), Scott, Dowds, Larmour, Walter (Milne 55).    Sub. not used:  Wright.

Tynecastle:

Wilson, Jardine, Hill (Liddell 65), Balloch, Millar, Torrance, Cairns, Nicol (Hunter 55), Finnie (Mohammed 83), Watson, Walker.    Sub not used:  Page.

Referee:  Mr Daniel Silva

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Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 20

Lowlands Development League

22nd March 2019

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  1   DUNIPACE  2

The Watt has not had the luckiest of campaigns in this season’s Development League and once again the fates were a little adverse as Dunipace came to call.  The Stirlingshire side was sitting just below the Watt in the Conference ‘A’ table, but when able to field all its available talent – like the Watt, a number of its eligible players are already playing first team football – has achieved victories over prominent sides.

This was just such an occasion, for although the Watt line-up lacked Todd Teviodale and Ali Shrive ahead of the following day’s match against Bo’ness United, Dunipace’s East of Scotland League side had no fixture, meaning they had all their young players available.  This gave the ’Pace a particularly strong line-up and within twenty-three minutes, they were two goals to the good.  

The first came from a corner on the left, which was headed towards goal by Liam O’Connor.  Callum Carson was standing by the post and kicked the ball away, but the referee, who was in position close to the far post, awarded the goal, with surprisingly few protests from the home side, although Carson appeared to be standing on the line and to have made contact with the ball in front of his body.

Seven minutes later, it got worse for the Watt.  A ball from the Dunipace left found Kerr Stevenson in space on the edge of the six-yard box.  The ball came behind Stevenson, but he executed an overhead kick.  Kostka Real de Asua de Azua got to the ball and turned it on to the post, but it ran behind him across the goal-line and spun over the line into the opposite side net.

Watt responded with a shot from Euan Scott, who tried to curl the ball into the top corner, but gave it a little too much air.  Then Real de Asua de Azua was called into action again, diving to his right to turn a shot from Stevenson round the post.  O’Connor had another opportunity for the visitors before half-time, but in controlling the ball he took it to the side of the goal, giving the Watt defence a chance to cover.

Euan Scott started a promising Watt attack with a pass to Mark Larmour, who found Callum Carson on the overlap.  His cross towards Scott was turned behind for a corner.  Lewis Duffy came in to meet the corner kick and got his head to the ball, but appeared to be fouled, so when we heard the referee’s whistle, we thought a penalty kick would be awarded, but instead a free kick to the defending side was the decision.

The Watt finished the half on the ascendancy, Larmour running in from the right and setting up Scott, whose shot was charged down.

Following the template set by the end of the first half, the Watt was the dominant side in the second period.  Dunipace was for the most part content to sit back and attempt to preserve its two-goal lead.  In the first minute after the break, there was a chance for Duffy, who gathered on the edge of the area, but he was too late in getting his shot away and the effort was charged down.

Dunipace had a good chance shortly after this, Ryan Mack coming off the right wing at pace and playing the ball across goal for O’Connor to try a volley, but the shot was sliced well wide.

Soon the Watt was back on the attack, with Theo McGuire going through to the edge of the box.  He seemed to be clipped from the rear as he took his shot, which rose just over the bar.  A good run by Ethan Stevens gained the Watt a corner kick, following which Duffy played the ball in for Larmour, but when he turned and drove in a shot, it was immediately blocked.  

In a bizarre incident, Dunipace’s Morgan Galloway was cautioned for simulating injury after going down without contact.  

With quarter of an hour to play, the Watt gained a lifeline when Stevens played the ball in from the left, Dunipace goalkeeper Craig Martin diverted it out and Larmour was on hand to tap it into goal.  

Stevens took the ball away from Jack Denham on the Watt left and made off down the wing.  Denham pursued him, impeding the striker consistently for twenty metres and eventually pulling him back so firmly that he was brought him almost to a standstill and the defender was able to go past him.  Stevens was unable to resist tripping him as he went past and it was he who received the caution.

Although the Watt was now only one goal behind, there were few chances at either end in the remainder of the game and the visitors held on without great difficulty to record the win.

Heriot-Watt University:

Real de Asua, Carson (Walter 88), Gamble, Burt, Woolven, Duffy, Larmour, McGuire (Cumming 74), Stevens (Naysmith 78), McClelland, Scott (As-Chainey 63).    Sub. not used:  Dighton.

Dunipace:

Martin (Taylor 45), Kelly (Smart 55), McCable, Galloway, Denham, McLaughlin, Mack, Stewart, Binnie (Murray 70), Stevenson, O’Connor.    Sub not used:  Mayne.

Referee:  Mr Kian Gallacher.

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Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 19

Knockout Cup – First Round

15th March 2019

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  1   KELTY HEARTS  1  (match abandoned)

This was the match which was destined never to be finished.  

After the first attempt to play this game ended at 3 – 3 after extra time when the timer for the floodlights plunged the John Brydson Arena into darkness and the visitors declined the opportunity to finish the game by holding the penalty shoot-out on the indoor pitch, this one only got seven minutes into the second half before an injury to the Kelty goalkeeper with the scores still tied resulted in an ambulance being summoned and the eventual abandonment of this second attempt to play the cup tie.  In all, the game lasted over two and three-quarter hours and failed to come to a conclusion.  

Although the early play by the Watt side was very positive, it was the visitors who took the lead after five minutes with a fine goal.  Jordan Elliot played the ball square across the pitch from the right and Owen Andrew took a step back to get the ball into his stride and lashed it into the corner of the net from twenty metres.

Aaron Gamble’s pass gave Lewis Duffy a chance five minutes later, but the shot went past the far post.  Watt was still playing well, passing the ball accurately and retaining possession for long spells, but the Hearts defence was well-organised and it was difficult to create shooting opportunities.

Kostka Real de Asua de Azua, in the Watt goal, saved well from a free kick taken by Liam Kelly and a minute later the Watt was back on terms.  A good swinging cross from the right was brought down by Euan Scott, who moved the ball on quickly for the run of Duffy.  He ran on into the penalty box, where he was sandwiched between two Kelty defenders as he tried to get his shot away.  The referee awarded a penalty, which was coolly stroked into the corner of the net by Gamble.

The curse on the game showed it hadn’t finished with us just after this, as suddenly some of the floodlights went off.  After a delay of six or seven minutes, full illumination was restored and the game restarted.  

Cammy Burt’s good reading of the play enabled him to step out of defence to prevent a dangerous situation developing and half-time arrived without further scoring.

Early in the second half, an excellent attack by the Watt put pressure on the visitors’ defence.  A quick pass by Ali Shrive to Ethan Stevens was laid off for Duffy to supply Scott, who sent in a searching cross which was played behind for a corner.  

Two minutes later, the injury occurred which terminated proceedings.  A good pass across the pitch looking for Watt’s pacy forward Mark Larmour was well read by Michael Gibb in the Kelty goal.  He ran well out of his area and the two players arrived at the ball within moments of each other.  Gibb managed to get the ball away but in doing so sustained the injury that caused the game to be abandoned for a second time.  

The decision was later taken to withdraw Heriot-Watt from the Knockout Cup and permit Kelty Hearts to continue to the next round of the competition.

Heriot-Watt University:

Real de Asua, Carson, Gamble, Burt, Teviotdale, Shrive, Duffy, McGuire, Stevens, Larmour, Scott.    Subs. not used:  McClelland, Dighton, Naysmith, Cumming, As-Chainey, Wright.

Kelty Hearts:

Gibb, Lumsden, Chingwalu, Macdonald, Morton, Roue, Elliot, Donald, Andrew, Kelly, Touray-Donaldson.    Subs. not used:  Cumming, Clare, George, Kay, Richardson.

Referee:  Mr Nelson da Silva

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Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 18

Lowlands Development League

4th March 2019

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  4   NEWTONGRANGE STAR  0

The Watt gained three more league points with a decisive win against a plucky Newtongrange side which stuck to its task throughout.

Heriot-Watt created a number of early chances, but shots by Ronan Dowds, Theo McGuire and Arron Singh were all off target.  After eleven minutes play, however, Ali Shrive showed how it should be done, picking up the ball half-way inside the visitors’ half, shimmying elegantly past a number of opponents and sending a well-placed shot into the net from twenty metres.  

That was a goal worth coming to see and the Watt remained on the attack, with Ali Naysmith supplying a regular stream of cutbacks and crosses.  Dowds did well with one of these, turning quickly to fire in a shot which was deflected behind.  From the resultant corner kick, the ball was delivered perfectly to the back post, where Lewis Duffy ran in for the header, but neglected to get his left shoulder forward and turn towards the ball, resulting in the header slipping past the post as Duffy held his head in anguish.

Two minutes later, the home side went two goals ahead.  A foul on Singh produced a free kick thirty metres out on the left.  Theo McGuire swung the ball into the goalmouth and goalkeeper Cameron Duncan came out to grab it.  Unfortunately for the ’keeper, he misjudged the flight of the ball and came out a little too far, with the result that the ball came off his gloves and went over his head to drop into the net.  The sort of thing that occurs to every goalkeeper from time to time, but it’s not nice when it happens.

Despite this setback, which put them two behind with little more than quarter of an hour played, Newtongrange was not discouraged and played with spirit and purpose.  Nevertheless, the Watt should have been able to make something of one or other of the chances they managed to create in the remainder of the first half.  Callum Carson sent a free kick just over; Todd Teviotdale fired in a strong drive which was deflected behind; McGuire’s accurate shot was well saved by Duncan, moving to his left to turn the ball round the post; another Duffy header was saved by Duncan; shots by McGuire and Naysmith were blocked in quick succession.  

With half an hour on the clock, Singh limped off to be replaced by Ethan Stevens.  A few minutes after this, a flowing move involving Aaron Gamble, Stevens and Naysmith gave Duffy a chance, but he drove the ball into the ground and it bounced up for Duncan to catch.

We reached half-time without further goals, but seven minutes after the restart, the Watt went three ahead.  McGuire made a run across the pitch, skipping past challenges.  Naysmith took over and sent a beautifully-controlled shot into the top corner of the net to Duncan’s right.

The Watt players were often guilty of doing too much individually rather than moving the ball and the Star defence coped well with these solo efforts, but when Heriot-Watt reverted to its passing game, it offered much more of a threat.  Substitutes Euan Scott and Matthew Cumming combined, but the shot went behind off a defender.  Cammy Burt, having stayed forward after coming up for a corner, tried a header which went past the post.  

Time ebbed away without much change to the pattern of play, despite numerous alterations to personnel.  Stevens and Teviotdale sent shots over the fence, but eventually, with four minutes to go, Duffy got on to the end of a cutback to supply an excellent finish, finding the top corner with a left-foot shot.

Heriot-Watt University:

Real de Asua, Carson, Gamble, Burt, Teviotdale, Shrive (Scott 56), Naysmith (Smith 70), Duffy, Dowds (Cumming 56), McGuire (Dighton 69), Singh (Stevens 30).    Subs. not used:  Larmour, Wright.

Newtongrange Star:

Duncan, Hussan (Dougall 51), Glodek, Matthew Scott, Gammie, Marc Scott, Redpath, Baigan, Davidson, Queen, Whitson (McEwen 63).    Sub not used:  Forbes.

Referee:  Mr Scott Downie

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Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 17

Challenge Cup – Second Round

1st March 2019

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  2   BSC GLASGOW  1

Watt won through to the Third Round of the Challenge Cup with a win over the team currently placed fourth in Conference ‘B’.

BSC started as if they meant business and forged a route through the middle straight from the kick-off, but at the end of the move, Michal Dellios shot well over the bar.  

Superb work by Todd Teviotdale sent the Watt on to the attack a few minutes later.  Starting with a shimmy to elude an opponent, Teviotdale surged forward, made good ground and laid off a nice pass to the left, continuing his run through the middle.  Watt retained possession and Ali Shrive fed the ball to the right, from where Callum Carson played it in towards Euan Scott, but he was just beaten to it by a defender.

A corner to Heriot-Watt was played to the near post, from where Shrive sent a tempting cross to the far side, but Mark Larmour’s header had insufficient angle and went back across goal.

A through ball put Mitchell Taylor in on Kostka Real de Asua de Azua, but the Watt goalkeeper did well, narrowing the angle with good judgment and blocking the shot with his legs.  Connor Smith was the next of the visitors to threaten, sending in a shot of tremendous power from distance, but again Real de Asua de Azua was equal to the challenge, throwing himself to his left to get a hand to the ball and turn it behind for a corner.

The game continued to ebb and flow and the next to have an attempt on goal was Lewis Duffy.  Scott headed the ball high in the air and Duffy stepped forward to try a volley as it dropped.  The shot had a very high difficulty tariff, but Duffy made a decent attempt, catching the ball with some force, but he couldn’t get it on target.

Scott then made a good diagonal run to collect a ball from Larmour and sent in a shot from the edge of the area, but it faded past the far post.

A passback from near the corner flag on the right had Watt supporters’ nerves jangling as Real de Asua de Azua was challenged by a forward before he could get the ball away.  Fortunately, it was close to the by-line and the goalkeeper was able to retreat into the goalmouth.  When the ball was sent to the far post area, Taylor arrived at speed, but under pressure played it past the post.

Two minutes later, Heriot-Watt took the lead.  Following a corner kick, the ball came back to Teviotdale and he drilled it firmly across goalkeeper Liam Running into the far corner of the net for his second goal  of the season, having previously scored against Hill of Beath in November.

Scott sent a pass to the left, which Ethan Stevens collected to run in on goal, but the shot wasn’t his best and went high over the bar.  A few minutes later, a free kick was played in to Scott, who sent the ball out to Larmour on the right and got a return pass to send a looping shot towards goal and see it bounce on the crossbar and come back into play.  As the Watt finished the first half strongly, Cammy Burt’s astute pass was played on by Shrive to Scott, but although he reached the edge of the area, he was under strong pressure and couldn’t get enough power into his shot to trouble Running.

Heriot-Watt was still making the running at the start of the second half and Stevens made a great run on the left, cutting inside despite being fouled and keeping the move going forward, but BSC had plenty of defenders back and managed to contain the attack.  

The one unsatisfactory aspect of the Watt performance was the concession of too many free kicks and another unnecessary foul was the prelude to an equaliser eight minutes into the second half.  The ball was played from left to right and when it came to Taylor, he sent a curling left-foot shot just inside the post.

Stevens tried to strike back quickly, but although his shot from the edge of the area had plenty of power, it was too straight at Running.  

Ronan Dowds came on to give the Watt attack fresh impetus and within a minute he had a chance.  A throw-in from the right was headed on and Dowds rose in front of Running needing only a glancing header, but he made too solid a contact and the ball crept just over the bar.  A minute later, Dowds had another effort on goal when he timed his run perfectly to reach the ball ahead of his marker.  He took his shot early and struck it well, but Running did very well, diving to his left to get a hand to the ball and keep it out.

With fifteen minutes of normal time left to play, Heriot-Watt went back in front.  A quick break from midfield supplied Dowds with the chance to sprint down the left and cut inside.  As Running advanced, Dowds sent the ball curving across the area and the pacy Larmour arrived to knock it into goal from a tight angle.

As the game went into its last ten minutes, BSC put the Watt through a period of intense pressure, but the desire was strong and the defenders kept getting in the blocks until eventually a misplaced pass carried the ball through to Real de Asua de Azua.  

The visitors continued to press forward at every opportunity and deep into stoppage time we wondered if it was to be extra time for the second cup tie in a row, as BSC worked a little space in the Watt rearguard.  Hardie Brown, who had been at the heart of much of the BSC build-up, was instrumental in getting the ball to an unmarked player in the inside-left position, but the Heriot-Watt goalkeeper was not to be beaten again and he threw himself to his left to block the low shot.  The ball came back for another effort, but when this was dragged wide through the crowd of players, the final whistle was blown.

This was a good performance from the Watt youngsters – it had to be, as they were facing high-quality opponents.  In goal, Kostka turned in another fine display, following his starring role against Bonnyton Thistle; Callum Carson, who perhaps doesn’t always get the recognition he deserves, defended stubbornly, making some excellent tackles, and supported forward moves whenever he could; Mark Larmour is another who is making spectators realise what he has to offer to the forward momentum of the side.  With the usual strong contributions from the players who do the regular heavy lifting for the team, this was a  most satisfying victory.

Heriot-Watt University:

Real de Asua de Azua, Carson, Gamble, Burt, Teviotdale, Duffy, McGuire, Shrive, Larmour (Cumming 81),  Stevens (Naysmith 71), Scott (Dowds 59).    Subs. not used:  Dighton, Walter, Wright.

BSC Glasgow:

Running, McGarvey, Smith, Dunlop, Macnair, Brown, Dellios, Nicol, Taylor, Sheridan, Gallagher.    Sub. not used:  Graham.

Referee:  Mr Ellis Walls

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Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 16

Lowlands Development League

22nd February 2019

BONNYTON THISTLE  2   HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  2

The Watt youngsters travelled to Ayrshire to take on the team currently second in Conference ‘A’ of the Development League.

From the start of the match, it was the visitors who set the tempo and dictated the structure of play.  Craig Smith was in control of the middle of the park and in seven minutes he shifted the ball to Theo McGuire for the first shot on goal, but Bonnyton goalkeeper Lewis McSorley made the catch.

Aaron Gamble won a tackle and found Finn As-Chainey, who put Callum Carson away on the right.  Carson reached the penalty box and rode two challenges before firing the ball hard and low across goal, but there was no Watt player on hand to profit.

Thistle was also showing some smart play on the break and their front men were quick and smart.  On the ten-minute mark, Robert Frew cleverly moved in behind the players in the middle of the box and got space at the far post to send in a header, which he directed back across Kostka Real de Asua de Azua as he followed the ball across from the Bonnyton right.  It looked like a goal, but the Watt goalkeeper checked, then dived to his left to get a hand to the ball and divert it away to safety.  It was the first of several crucial contributions by Kostka, who had his best game to date in a Watt jersey.

Mark Larmour was doing some fine work, using his pace on numerous occasions to nip the ball away from players who thought they had time to spare, and he was the next to attack on the right, getting past two defenders and sending in a low cross, but the Thistle defence played it away.  Larmour again sent a low centre in from the right a minute later, but found no forward player attacking the ball.

Real de Asua de Azua was alert to dive forward and cut out a dangerous cutback by the quick and tricky Bonnyton striker Robbie Handling.  Soon the Watt was back on the attack, with McGuire picking up a misplaced pass, driving forward to the edge of the penalty area and tricking two defenders to create shooting space, but having done the spadework, he scuffed his finish and it went past the post.

A minute later, McGuire found the shot he’d been looking for the first time, sending in a great effort from thirty metres.  McSorley did well, going down to his left to save; if McGuire’s previous chance had been so well struck, he would surely have scored.

Ten minutes from half-time, an incisive move came close to giving the Watt the lead their play deserved.  Cammy Burt sent a pass to the feet of Ethan Stevens, who cut inside and fired in a left-foot shot which brought the best out of McSorley, diving across his goal to touch the ball round the post.

Another flowing move on the right gave Carson the chance to cross and he sent in a good ball to the far post, but Larmour slightly mistimed his jump and couldn’t get his header on target.

The half finished with another probing move from the Watt side, Stevens executing a superb turn on the right and going past Luke Dickson, who clipped the striker’s heels but failed to stop Stevens, who cut inside and sent a shot half a metre wide of the left-hand post.

Three minutes after the restart, Larmour’s strength and determination won him a free kick in opposition to two defenders.  Carson struck the kick off a short run, but it was almost perfect, curving over the defensive wall and smacking the crossbar.  When the ball rebounded into play, Lewis Duffy rose to try to head it into goal and suffered a blow which forced him to leave the pitch for a few minutes to have his head bandaged.

Although a man short, the Watt continued to dominate play and opened the scoring in the fifty-third minute.  Another driving run by Carson took him to the corner flag, from where he sent in a cross.  The ball was headed out to the point of the area on the Watt right, where Stevens collected the ball, took a step to his left to create some space and sent a ferocious drive whizzing past McSorley and into the net.

Greg Kean tried a shot on the turn from twenty-five metres, but Real de Asua de Azua collected confidently.  Burt was resolute in the tackle and won another ball in the middle of the park to release Duffy, who had returned to the fray.  Duffy set off directly towards the Bonnyton penalty area and tried a shot from around twenty metres, but he didn’t catch it as well as he had hoped.  

Bonnyton surprised the visitors by making a quadruple substitution, bringing on Kieran Perry, Marc Walter, Blair McKnight and Oliver Smith to replace Handling, Kean, Lachlan Miller and Daniel Wamuziri.  Six minutes later, Frew gave way to Callum Drummond.

These reinforcements, who were tall, strong players, gave a new purpose to the play of the home side and fifteen minutes after conceding, Bonnyton created an equaliser.  The Watt had a free kick half-way inside the Thistle half, but when the ball ran through to the goalkeeper and Thistle moved the ball quickly forward, Heriot-Watt was always a little thin at the back.  The ball was moved effectively from man to man and when it reached Walker, twenty metres from goal, he collected, turned and despatched an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the goal.

As-Chainey executed an amazing turn by the corner flag to get past his marker and work his way in along the by-line a minute later, but although he created a bit of an angle for himself, it wasn’t enough to force his shot through.   

When Larmour’s cross was blocked away from a corner shortly after this, Gamble retrieved the ball on the left and chipped it back into the middle, where it fell into the crowd.  A Watt foot prodded the ball towards goal, but McSorley’s leg diverted the ball to the side.  Critically, it didn’t go over the by-line and Bonnyton produced another quick break similar to the one which had undone the Watt a few minutes before.  As the ball was transferred between Thistle players, the Watt found themselves a man short and Smith was left free to finish the move and put his side ahead for the first time.

Ronan Dowds came on in place of As-Chainey and it took him only five minutes to find the net – but unfortunately when Gio Michelon flicked the ball inside from the left and Dowds stretched ahead of his marker to touch the ball past McSorley, he was judged to be marginally offside.  Heriot-Watt was putting everything into getting back on terms, though, and Larmour drove down the right to play the ball inside looking for Dowds, but a defender got there in time to turn it behind for a corner kick.

Yet again, the corner was knocked down amongst the feet in the crowded area; once again, Bonnyton got it away and mounted a swift counterattack.  And again, there was a spare man over at the end of the move – but when the ball was squared to him, Real de Asua de Azua timed his run from goal perfectly and spread himself to block the shot away for a throw-in.

Another Watt attack was mounted; Dowds controlled the ball well and found the ever-willing Larmour, who cut inside the penalty area.  The ball seemed to be running loose, but Dowds had continued his run and met the ball firmly some eight metres from goal to drive it firmly past McSorley and level the scores again.

Real de Asua de Azua was called upon again almost immediately as the biggest of Bonnyton’s substitutes muscled past the defenders on the edge of the area.  It looked grim for the Watt, but their goalkeeper had other ideas, speeding from his line to dive bravely at the feet of the forward and smother the ball.

The Watt side was still keen to secure all three points and Stevens went on a brilliant run from the middle of the park, slaloming past several opponents and laying the ball off to Dowds, who tried to slip the ball back through to Stevens as he ran on into the penalty box, but a defender got a foot to the ball and thwarted the intention.  The ball came out to Larmour on the right, who struck it with tremendous force, but unfortunately past the post.

Duffy won successive challenges in midfield and drove forward, but just failed to link with Dowds.  There followed a long stoppage for an injury to Marc Wardrope.  When the player was eventually able to get to his feet, he was clearly in considerable discomfort and although he gamely tried to recover sufficiently to return to the play, he was persuaded to abandon the idea.  As Thistle had used all their substitutes, they played a man short for the last few minutes of the game, but there were no further close calls and an epic encounter finished with a share of the spoils.

Bonnyton Thistle:

McSorley, Wardrope, Dickson, Cameron, Ewing, Miller (Smith 55), Wamaziri (McKnight 55), Sivewright, Handling (Perry 55), Kean (Walker 55), Frew (Drummond 61).    All subs. used.

Heriot-Watt University:

Real De Asua De Azua, Carson, Gamble, Burt, Michelon, Smith, McGuire (Naysmith 80), Larmour, Stevens, Duffy, As-Chainey (Dowds 70).    Subs. not used:  Dighton, McClelland.

Referee:  Mr Josh Hay

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Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 15

Knockout Cup – First Round

15th February 2019

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  3   KELTY HEARTS  3  (after extra time)

Watt met the Conference ‘A’ leaders for the third time this season, but after two hours of high action, there was no resolution to this cup tie, as the floodlights went out before a penalty kick decider could be held.

The Watt side started with a bang, taking the lead in just four minutes.  Ethan Stevens exploited a gaping hole in the centre of the visitors’ defence to connect with a ball played in from the right and drive a left-foot shot hard and true past the left hand of goalkeeper Michael Gibb into the corner of the net.

Kelty didn’t take long to recover from this setback and soon began to show the free-flowing style for which they have become known.  Jordan Elliot made ground on the right and when his centre was played on by Scott Donald, Owen Andrew headed past the far post.  Andrew made up for the miss five minutes later, however, scoring the equaliser when he chased his own head-on to fire past Kostka Real de Asua.  

Andrew was a danger and came close again ten minutes later, his shot from twenty metres striking Real de Asua’s right-hand post, but within two minutes, the Watt had come just as close, a good move on the right resulting in the ball going across the face of goal to hit the far post.

Two minutes after that, Kelty took the lead.  A soft and disputed free kick was awarded within striking distance.  Liam Kelly’s kick was well struck and went over the defensive wall, then dipped under the bar.

The Heriot-Watt side came out for the second half with renewed vigour and took the game to their high-flying opponents at every opportunity.  Ali Shrive started a good move which was carried on by Theo McGuire, but when he chipped the ball forward looking for Stevens, it went just too far ahead and he was unable to gather.

With Euan Scott and Finn As-Chainey adding fresh legs, Watt gradually began to gain the ascendancy.  Lewis Duffy was too strong for the last Kelty defender and got in a strong shot which Gibb beat away, the rebound falling kindly for his defence.  As the half progressed, the visitors were becoming increasinly edgy and substitute Thomas Clare was cautioned for bringing down As-Chainey.

As the Watt pushed on, Scott was narrowly beaten to a through ball by Gibb and As-Chainey headed just past when Scott gave Ben Voy the chance to send in a quality cross.

Finally, with two minutes of normal time left, the Watt got the equaliser they had sought.  Following a corner on the left, the ball came back to Shrive, who pushed it through for Duffy to swivel and drive a close-range shot in off the underside of the bar.

After five minutes of stoppage time, the match went into extra time.  The Watt players still had a fair wind in their sails and it took only two minutes after the restart for them to score again.  As-Chainey went past his opponent and played the ball hard and low across goal for Mark Larmour to slam it home.

A scuffle near half-way on the stand side led to a caution for a player from each side as the tension showed, but the next positive move could have sealed the win for the home side.  Shrive was regularly picking out As-Chainey with searching crossfield passes and on one such occasion, he ran on to take the return, but sent his volley narrowly over the bar.

Four minutes from the half-way mark in extra time, it was all square again.  A quick break on the left ended with a ball across the goalmouth and despite the presence of a number of defenders, Elliot somehow managed to squeeze the ball inside the post.

Gregor Macdonald’s shot from distance which was saved low to his left by Real de Asua was the last attempt on goal of the first period and we went into the final act of the drama.  Watt had an early chance when Cameron Lumsden lost his footing, enabling Larmour to go through, but the best he could obtain was a corner kick.  The kick was played to Shrive on the angle of the box, but he got his connection wrong and skied the shot and despite the determination of both sides to press for a winner, there were no further clear-cut chances in the game.

After the final whistle, the referee consulted with the coaches and was calling the players forward for the penalty shoot-out to begin when the timer on the floodlights took effect and we were plunged into darkness.  An offer to have the shoot-out take place on the indoor pitch was rejected by the visitors, so  after two hours of unremitting effort by the players, the game was abandoned.

Heriot-Watt University:

Real de Asua, Carson, Gamble, Voy, Burt, Shrive, McGuire (Larmour 86), Smith (Naysmith 113), Stevens (Scott 54), Duffy, McClelland (As-Chainey 65).    Sub. not used:  Wright.

Kelty Hearts:

Gibb, Lumsden, Chingwalu, Macdonald, Morton (Clare 90), Roue, Elliot, Donald, Andrew (Cumming 67), Kelly, Bexfield (George 84).    Subs. not used:  Kay, Davidson, Richardson.

Referee:  Mr Scott Downie

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Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 14

Lowlands Development League

18th January 2019

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  0   HILL OF BEATH HAWTHORN  2

For the second time this season, the Watt youngsters were beaten by a side from Fife scoring two goals in the last ten minutes.  The previous time, in early October, it had been Kelty Hearts; this time, when Hilll of Beath repeated the trick, there wasn’t even a consolation goal for the Watt lads.

We knew from our visit to Cowdenbeath in November that the Hawthorn had a good side and we expected a close contest.  That was indeed how it turned out, with neither side able to get much of a sight of goal in the first half.  

Ethan Stevens shot into the side netting after good work by Todd Teviotdale, then Beath’s Luke Fleming set up Dylan Harrison for an effort which cleared the crossbar.  Stevens had another chance after a fine move on the right in which Euan Scott played a major part, but he scooped his shot over the bar, then Declan Wynne’s good run took him into the penalty area, but his shot was deflected for a corner.  The half finished with a shot from distance by Hill of Beath midfielder Craig Watt, but it was well off target.

Watt started the second half well, with a lot of good possession and passing providing a couple of shooting chances.  Scott shot narrowly over; then, when Wynne’s shot was blocked, Stevens moved on to the ball, turned and sent in an accurate shot which was very well saved by Declan Morgan, who dived to his right to turn the ball round the post.  When the corner was delivered, it was played on to the far post area, where Craig Smith seemed to have a tap-in opportunity, but he was stretching and could only play the ball back the way it had come.

Scott shot narrowly over again from a free kick taken by Aaron Gamble and half-way through the second period, Watt had another chance from which we felt they must score.  Finn As-Chainey won a corner on the left and when it was played by Scott to the near post area, Cammy Burt got in a good header.  Morgan was only able to block it back out and Burt, advancing, met the ball with another header, even closer to goal, but again the ball went straight towards the goalkeeper, who was able to gather it this time.

After all this Watt attacking, the visitors grabbed a goal on a rare foray upfield in 81 minutes.  An attempted clearance was collected on the edge of the area and fired towards goal.  Kostka Real de Asua managed to block the ball, but it ran across goal to substitute Dean Nicoll, who had an easy job to knock it home.

Real de Asua was called upon again three minutes later, as Beath’s tall substitute striker Lewis Payne broke into the area, but the Watt goalkeeper saved the shot with his feet.  

Ali Shrive went on a run towards the heart of the visitors’ defence and exchanged passes on the edge of the area, but had to turn to collect the return ball and his shot then lacked power, enabling Morgan to save comfortably.

With a minute of normal time left, Hill of Beath broke down the right and when the ball was played inside, the home defence was threadbare.  Another substitute, Alexander Reilly, drove in a second goal.

The Watt lads kept trying to get a goal back and good work by Teviotdale and Ronan Dowds set up a chance for Scott, but his shot was a wild one.

Heriot-Watt University:

Real de Asua, Wynne, Hannigan, Teviotdale, Burt, Shrive, Smith (Carson 84), Stevens (As-Chainey 56), Scott, McGuire (Dowds 79), Gamble.    Subs. not used:  Naysmith, Walter, Voy, Wright.

Hill of Beath Hawthorn:

Morgan, Jason Watson, Marshall, Jay Watson, Paterson (Penman 68), Watt, Mauchlen, Fleming (Reilly 72), Jardine (Nicoll 72), Harrison (Payne 58), Nardone.    All subs. used.

Referee:  Mr Will Pare

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Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 13

Lowlands Development League

11th January 2019

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  5   EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY  1

A strong and confident Edinburgh side, boosted by the inclusion of three Lowland League First Teamers, strained every sinew to try to overcome a Heriot-Watt team weakened by the absence of regular stars Finn As-Chainey and Ali Shrive; and still missing Ben Voy, serving the last match of his suspension.  It was therefore surprising that with a minute left to play in this game, Watt was repeating the 5 – 0 scoreline achieved at Peffermill in the first game of the season back in September.

A bad pass in midfield gave the opportunity for Edinburgh to get a goal on the board at the last gasp and  surely only the most miserly would begrudge a consolation after the effort expended by the visitors throughout this game.

The first half was played at a hectic pace, but without a great deal of goalmouth action at either end.  Ethan Stevens, operating on the Watt left, was a constant threat to the visitors’ defence and controlled Cammy Burt’s fine pass to win an early corner before a storming run by Todd Teviotdale took him past the entire Edinburgh right flank to send in a low centre which Euan Scott was unable to convert.

On the Edinburgh left, the skilful Ali Mahmoud Ali Samara was a box of tricks, but Declan Wynne had him well policed and he was unable to create clear-cut chances, although he did send in a snap shot from twenty metres which Kostka Real de Asua was well placed to catch.

Scott almost gave Watt the lead on the half-hour, but after timing his run well to elude the defence, his attempt to chip the ball over Ben Thomson was well reached by the goalkeeper, who turned the ball on to the top of the net.

Towards the end of the first half, the Edinburgh side stepped up its effort to an even higher level and pushed the Watt back for a time, but a minute from the break the Watt ventured upfield to take the lead.  Again Stevens was involved, sending in a cross which Craig Smith cleverly headed back in the direction it had come, taking the pace off the ball to keep it down and finding the side of the net just inside Thomson’s right-hand post.

Within four minutes of the restart, the balance of the game moved decisively in favour of the Watt.  A through ball was chased by both defenders and attackers, with Thomson running from his area in an attempt to kick clear.  The ball ended up at the feet of Scott, who coolly adjusted his position and sent a beautifully judged lofted shot over the head of the goalkeeper to drop just in time to find the net.  Two minutes later, a cross by Stevens was parried by Thomson and fell to a Watt player, who quickly shifted the ball sideways to give Scott a straightforward finish.

Edinburgh might have got a goal back when the Watt overplayed the ball deep in defence, but Real de Asua was out like a shot to block at the feet of Connor Hill.  Lewis Hendry then sent a shot just over the bar as the visitors strove to get back into contention.  

Heriot-Watt survived this awkward period and came close again when Theo McGuire’s free kick was headed back across goal and almost reached Stevens as he came in, but a fourth goal was not long delayed.  Neil Laurenson had just shot narrowly past from yet another Stevens pass, but when Edinburgh tried to play the ball out, Laurenson saw an opportunity.  He snapped into the tackle, won the ball and sidestepped a defender on the edge of the area; then, as Thomson advanced, he squared the ball to give Ronan Dowds a tap-in to put the result beyond all doubt.

Three minutes later, it was five when the unfortunate Thomson, attempting to clear from a corner, mistimed his attempted punch and diverted the ball behind him into goal.  Real de Asua preserved his goal again, diving to his right to turn Calum McKenzie’s shot behind, but with a minute of play remaining, Hendry at last got Edinburgh on to the scoresheet, slipping the ball past Real de Asua from the left side of the penalty area.

Heriot-Watt University:

Real de Asua, Wynne, Gamble, Burt, Teviotdale, Smith (Walter 79), Duffy (McGuire 55), Stevens, Scott (Dowds 76), Huxford (Naysmith 79), Laurenson.    Sub. not used:  Wright.

Edinburgh University:

Thomson, Bouch, Sutcliffe, Collett, McGuire, Balmer, Kemp (Lawton 61), Hill (Shaw 70), Hendry, McKenzie, Ali Samara.    Sub. not used:  Balakrisha.

Referee:  Mr Derek McNee

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Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 12

Lowlands Development League

7th December 2018

CUMBERNAULD COLTS  2   HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  1

In wild weather at Broadwood Stadium, with intermittent rain being driven by a strong, gusty wind, the Watt suffered the frustration of losing the game to a last-gasp goal.

There were few chances for either side in the first half-hour, during which Euan Scott’s effort from a tight angle which was saved by Alexander Gilchrist and Alistair Naysmith’s shot from distance which passed the wrong side of the post were the only attempts worthy of note.  

Heriot-Watt continued to have the greater share of possession without looking too threatening, but seven minutes from half-time, Cumbernauld ’s Craig Murray made good use of the conditions to put his side ahead.  Murray collected the ball half-way inside the Watt half and with the wind behind him, sent in a strong shot.  Kostka Real de Asua, in the Watt goal, never seemed able to read the line the ball was taking in the swirling wind and it eluded his grasp to finish in the net.

Five minutes into the second half, Finn As-Chainey replaced Naysmith and took up the left-wing berth, where he immediately started to make his presence felt, frequently getting to the line and cutting the ball back in search of Watt strikers.  As-Chainey had only been on the pitch for four minutes when he rounded the right side of the home defence for the third time and drove the ball to the near post area, where it was deflected past Gilchrist for an equaliser.

With As-Chainey causing such problems and the wind more or less behind them, we expected the Watt side to go on from there, but Colts began to get back into the game, helped by some muddle in the visitors’ ranks.  De Asua had to dive to save a shot by Murray following one mistake, then get his foot to the ball to keep it out after another mix-up.  Heriot-Watt was no longer getting the ball to the left wing so often, but Theo McGuire did some good work to find As-Chainey, although on this occasion Gilchrist was out quickly to grasp the cross.

Another save from De Asua was needed when Gregor Johnston outpaced the Watt rearguard, but Watt had a better spell after this, As-Chainey doing well to bring the ball inside and find Lewis Duffy, whose first-time shot was a metre wide of goal.

Towards the end of the game, play was largely contained to midfield and the match seemed to be petering out for a draw, but a minute into stoppage time, the ball reached Lewis Taylor and although De Asua got a hand to his shot on the turn from just outside the penalty area, he couldn’t get enough traction on the ball to prevent it reaching the net for a winning goal for Cumbernauld.

Cumbernauld Colts:

A Gilchrist, Gibson, Martin, McConville (McTurk 87), Dick, Brooking, Downs (McCormack 62), Banks (Johnston 54), Nash (Scullion 86), Taylor, Murray (L Gilchrist 78).    Sub. not used: Curtis.

Heriot-Watt University:

De Asua, Carson, Gamble, Burt, Teviotdale, Smith (Dowds 71), Duffy, Naysmith (As-Chainey 50), Scott (Dighton 81), Shrive, McGuire (McClelland 76).    Sub. not used:  Wright.

Referee:  Mr Lewis Sinclair

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Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 11

Lowlands Development League

30th November 2018

CAMELON JUNIORS  0   HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  1

On a bitterly cold evening with a steady breeze blowing across Little Kerse, this was a tense match with few genuine chances for either side.

The Watt looked the more confident side in the first half as Camelon was content to keep a strong defensive shield and try to hit on the break.  Early shots from long distance by Ali Shrive and Lewis Duffy missed the target and Shrive’s ball across goal was just too pacy for Craig Smith to reach.  

For Camelon, Sam Colley showed tricky footwork to reach the penalty area and release a shot which was diverted for a corner.  From the kick, a header was blocked by Heriot-Watt goalkeeper Kostka Real de Asua and a follow-up effort touched the post before being turned behind.

It looked as if we would reach half-time without a goal, but a minute before the break, Camelon mounted an attack and when the ball was in the hands of Real de Asua, the Watt responded with a quick break.  De Asua found Aidan Quinn and his diagonal pass sent Finn As-Chainey flying down the right to send in a low cross which was knocked into goal by the far post by Euan Scott.

Watt started the second half brightly, with As-Chainey again threatening, but Scott was well policed at the near post and Jordan Livingstone was able to grasp the ball.  It was anticipated that the goal just before the break would mean that Camelon would commit more players forward, but they did this with judgment and succeeded in applying greater pressure to the visitors’ defence without sacrificing defensive security.

Gio Michelon was set up by Shrive for a shot from outside the penalty area and although he struck the ball solidly, the shot went straight to Livingstone.  The next opportunity was at the other end as the Watt defence over-played the ball in trying to play out from the back and had to concede a corner.  When the corner kick was played in, the ball fell amongst the players in the penalty box and in the ensuing melee it was twice poked towards goal and kicked off the line before the Watt defence could get it properly away.

The substitutions made by Camelon were having a positive effect and Real de Asua had to go down sharply to his right to divert a net-bound shot past the post as the home side stepped up their efforts in search of an equaliser.

With around quarter of an hour to play, the Watt had the chance to give themselves some breathing space when As-Chainey drove into the box past Nathan Williamson and the full-back brought him down in tackling back.  As-Chainey took the penalty kick himself and remarkably kept up the Watt’s record of missing every penalty awarded to the side this season – it’s now four out of four – when Livingstone dived to his left to bring off a good save.  Scott was in quickly for the rebound, but couldn’t get a strong enough header on an awkward bouncing ball and the ball was bundled behind for a corner.

Shrive had another good run and shot, but again was unable to get the ball on target, missing slightly to Livingstone’s right.  Camelon immediately sped to the other end of the pitch and when the ball rebounded into the path of Kai Wilson, he sent it over the head of Real de Asua, but fortunately for the visitors, it carried over the bar.

The last few minutes were relatively free from anxiety for Watt, with Scott and substitute Ali Naysmith making good runs to carry the game towards the goal defended by Camelon.

Camelon Juniors:

Livingstone, Smith, Williamson, Dunseath, Daniel Wright, Frame, Reynolds (Wilson 52), Tully (Darren Wright 62), McIntyre (Croy 66), Hastings (Orr 74), Colley..    Sub. not used:  Young.

Heriot-Watt University:

Real de Asua, Michelon, Gamble, Teviotdale, Quinn, Burt, Smith, Duffy (Naysmith 80), Scott (Dowds 90), Shrive, As-Chainey.    Subs. not used:  Dighton, McClelland, Wright.

Referee:  Mr Chris Hobbs

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Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 10

Lowlands Development League

23rd November 2018

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  3   BONNYTON THISTLE  4

In a game which ebbed and flowed, the Watt was eventually edged out by a capable Bonnyton side.

The visitors started briskly and for the first few minutes, Watt appeared sluggish, but the side soon got into its stride and began passing the ball confidently.  The Watt went ahead after six minutes’ play when a free kick was curled into the Thistle penalty box and in the ensuing scramble, Finn As-Chainey kept his head and found a gap into which to direct the ball.  It could have been two a couple of minutes later, as As-Chainey drove inside along the by-line and played the ball firmly across goal, but when Lewis McSorley blocked the ball out, the Watt player who arrived on the scene, who may have been Ali Shrive, drove his shot into the ground, taking the pace off and allowing McSorley to divert the ball behind.

Bonnyton was not discouraged by these events and came back strongly, with strike pair Kieran Perry and Marc Walker giving the home defence problems.  Watt found themselves too often without a spare man at the back and after a let-off when Marc Wardrope’s shot went narrowly past, Perry equalised for Thistle, running on to a ball in the inside-right channel and firing a low shot across Alex McMahon and inside the far post.

Bonnyton continued to look the more dangerous side going forward and took the lead when Walker headed a left-wing cross over the hands of McMahon to dip under the bar.  Heriot-Watt began to turn the tide in the period before half-time, but the nearest thing to an equalising goal was Alistair Naysmith’s shot into the side net.

With Theo McGuire replacing Tyler Huxford, Watt got the second half under way, but after Jackson Sivewright’s shot came back off the post, it was Bonnyton who scored again, Harry McLaughlin profiting from a defensive mix-up.  

Two minutes later, Watt got right back in the game when As-Chainey grabbed his second goal of the game from a left-wing corner.  The home side had a chance to equalise when a free kick was played in from the right.  Euan Scott got some contact with the ball and it came across goal to a team-mate, but his shot wasn’t strong enough to get past McSorley.

Perry got the benefit of the offside doubt on a forward run and brought a good save from McMahon, who turned the ball behind.  New man Niall McClelland came on to replace the injured Craig Smith, but there was another accident waiting to happen for the Watt when Lewis Duffy tried to clear a left-wing cross and raised his foot high enough to make contact with the head of Oliver Smith.  After a delay of some minutes whilst the injured player recovered sufficiently to leave the pitch, Perry fired home the resultant penalty kick to restore the visitors’ two-goal advantage.

For the final twenty minutes, the Watt did most of the attacking, with As-Chainey particularly prominent, maing some great runs on the wing and linking with Scott and Shrive.  One incisive run set up a chance for McClelland and when his shot was blocked, Naysmith’s effort was held above his head by McSorley.

In a final throw of the dice, Watt brought on Greig Dighton to replace Naysmith and it was Dighton who was instrumental in pulling a goal back, driving the ball fiercely across goal from the right and enabling McClelland to find the corner of the net.  The full time whistle sounded less than a minute later.

Heriot-Watt University:

McMahon, Carson, Gamble, Teviotdale, Duffy, Smith (McClelland 66), Naysmith (Dighton 84), Huxford (McGuire 45), Scott, Shrive, As-Chainey.    Subs. not used:  Cumming, De Asua.

Bonnyton Thistle:

McSorley, Wardrope, Dickson, Cameron, Smyth, Tremble, Sivewright, Smith (Drummond 73), Perry (Baxter 87), Walker, McLaughlin.    All subs. used.

Referee:  Derek McNee

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Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 9

Lowlands Development League

16th November 2018

TYNECASTLE  1   HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  3

Both sides were somewhat below maximum strength for this encounter at Saughton Enclosure, but the Watt lads turned in a sparkling performance and after going behind, scored three fine goals to overcome a spirited and talented Tynecastle team.

The Watt lads looked good from the early stages, Finn As-Chainey revelling in his left-wing berth and linking well with Ali Shrive and Euan Scott.  Tynecastle also pressed forward whenever possible, with Cameron Liddell sending in a couple of long-range efforts, one of which was saved by Alex McMahon, the other going over the bar.

Two minutes before the half-hour, the home side went ahead, rather against the run of play.  A cross from the right was headed out by Todd Teviotdale, but returned into the area for Russell Cairns to send a shot across McMahon and off the post into goal.

The Watt didn’t take long to get back on level terms, Lewis Duffy’s pass enabling Scott to make a diagonal run into the penalty box and send an accurate first-time shot between Kyle Wilson and his left-hand post.

Nine minutes later, Watt took the lead.  Teviotdale did well on the right and slipped the ball inside to Shrive.  His first effort was blocked, but Shrive was alert enough to drive on, recover the ball and fire a shot across Wilson and inside the far post.

Five minutes into the second half, Watt had a chance to go two ahead when As-Chainey cut inside and was tripped around the penalty spot.  Aidan Quinn took the resultant penalty kick, but Wilson made a fine save, throwing himself to his left to block the ball away.

Six minutes later, however, the visitors claimed another goal anyway.  Again it was As-Chainey who did the damage, gathering a clearance and running powerfully into the penalty box to drive a fierce shot high into the net.

With more than half an hour still to play, Tynecastle did not give up the fight and tried all the harder to pressurise the Watt defence, but so effective was the visitors’ cover that there were few shots for McMahon to deal with and the Watt had a number of chances on the break.  Liddell remained a danger and his low cross was turned behind for a corner kick, but the Watt defence held firm and took the points back to Riccarton.

Tynecastle:

Wilson, Johnston, Combe (Page 66), Balloch, Adams, Liddell, Walker, De Gaetano, Murphy (Hunter 59), Cairns, Reilly.    Subs. not used:  Nicol.

Heriot-Watt University:

McMahon, Teviotdale, Gamble, Burt, Quinn, Smith (Larmour 89), McGuire (Dowds 71), Duffy, Scott, Shrive (Naysmith 82), As-Chainey (McClelland 87.    All subs. used.

Referee:  Mr. Nelson da Silva

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Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 8

Lowlands Development League

9th November 2018

HILL OF BEATH HAWTHORN  1   HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  1

This match was largely spoiled by the strong wind, into which the Watt side was playing in the first half.

A couple of promising moves in the early stages got the Watt off to a good start.  Aaron Gamble linked with Ali Shrive to create a chance for Craig Smith, whose shot lacked the power to trouble Declan Morgan in the home goal, then a good cross from the left aimed for the run of Todd Teviotdale, but his leap was nullified by that of an equally tall Beath defender.

Fine work by Shrive then sent the overlapping Gamble down the left, but his tempting centre looked in vain for a Watt striker.

Late in the first half, an awkward bouncing ball gave Cammy Burt problems as tall striker Lewis Payne brushed past him.  Burt got back to make what looked like a good tackle, but the referee ruled that he had played man and ball, resulting in a free kick and a caution for Burt.  Shortly after this, Payne had a kick out at a Watt player off the ball and received a caution in his turn.

With the wind favouring the visitors in the second half, we looked for penetration in attack and Shrive provided an early chance for Gamble to go into the penalty box, but he was too close to the by-line by the time he got the ball across and the safe hands of Morgan grasped the ball.

Another excellent pass from Shrive put Ronan Dowds in possession.  A quick turn and sidestep set up the chance for a shot of such accuracy that it took Morgan’s full stretch to turn the ball round the post.  A few minutes later, it was the same contest, as a shot from distance by Dowds was saved by Morgan just inside his left-hand post.

Gamble then instituted a break forward, resulting in a crisp shot from Shrive which appeared at first to have struck the post, but the noise we heard was the rear stanchion and the ball had slipped narrowly past.

Euan Scott was forced off by a finger injury and his replacement, Finn As-Chainey, had just come on to the pitch when he showed us a piece of finishing of the highest quality, turning through an obtuse angle and firing a bullet of a shot into the top corner of the net – but unfortunately he had been barged in the back a second earlier and the referee had blown for a foul.

It only took two more minutes for the Watt lads to go ahead, however, Teviotdale slamming home from close range following a corner-kick.  As the Watt tried to consolidate this advantage, Shrive’s defence-splitting pass almost gave Teviotdale another goal, but Morgan’s rapid advance from his line prevented the Watt man from getting the ball past him and a corner-kick was the best outcome obtainable.

The home defence looked a bit ragged now and we looked for the Watt to press forward, but to Hawthorn’s credit, the visitors had little opportunity to do this.  Hill of Beath attacked in numbers and pushed the Watt back into deep defence for periods at a time.  There were breakouts, such as one in which As-Chainey curled a shot just wide of the junction of post and bar from another feed by Shrive, but the home onslaught was relentless and with seven minutes to go, it paid a dividend when a corner went loose amongst the feet in the Watt box and Payne got a touch to take it past Kostka Real de Asua.

 

Hill of Beath Hawthorn:

Morgan, Penman, Watson, Marshall, Valente, Watt, Jardine (Binnington 71), Nardone (Mauchlen 74), Payne, Nicoll (Harrison 74), Fleming (Reilly 59).    Sub. not used:  Paterson.

Heriot-Watt University:

Real de Asua, Teviotdale, Gamble, Burt, Hannigan, Smith, McGuire (Carson 78), Duffy, Dowds (Larmour 73), Shrive, Scott (As-Chainey 61).    Subs. not used:  Cumming, Naysmith.

Referee:  Mr. Ellis Walls

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Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 7

Lowlands Development League

2nd November 2018

WHITEHILL WELFARE  3   HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  2

This game was memorable for several reasons, not all of them pleasant.  The tackling was sharp from the first and in the second half the match deteriorated into a bit of a rough-house.  In the end, both sides had a player sent off and there were numerous cautions.  

The referee is never to blame for poor conduct from players, but the man in charge can set a tone for the proceedings.  This is a League for the development of referees too and no doubt Mr Falconer learned that the policy of letting play flow can be taken too far.  Many punishable challenges were allowed to pass and the referee did his best not to use his cards.  This laxity laid the foundations for some of the difficulties which followed.

The Watt started rather sluggishly and there was an early chance for Whitehill, Jonathan Crutcher shooting past from close range after a free kick had not been cleared.  Welfare suffered the loss of Ethan Williams shortly after this, with the midfielder limping off and being replaced by Calum Bielski.  

In virtually its first sally upfield, with seven minutes played, Heriot-Watt took the lead.  Andy Hannigan, who was excellent all evening, went up the left, exchanged passes inside and fired the ball low across the area.  Ali Naysmith came in from the opposite wing to finish with a crisp drive to the corner of the net.

Half-way through the first half Hannigan attacked again, getting past the Welfare cover to send the ball across to Ali Shrive.  Shrive had the goal at his mercy, but to his own astonishment and chagrin, he managed to hit the goalkeeper with one effort and the only defender in the vicinity with the other.  

This was unfortunate, as Whitehill equalised a minute later.  Ben Voy conceded a free kick close to the left corner flag and when the Watt defence headed clear of the area, Tyler O’Neil sent a volley through the crowd to the corner of the net.

Watt went in search of another goal and Shrive combined well with Aaron Gamble to set up a chance for Naysmith, whose first-time curling shot just missed the far post.  

A minute from half-time, Craig Smith was brought down heavily just inside the Welfare half.   Surprisingly, Mr Falconer contented himself with a lecture to the offending player.  The free kick was sent down the right, crossed into the penalty box and sent wide by Gamble to Hannigan.  His shot rebounded from the far post and after a first rebound attempt had been blocked, Voy was on hand to knock the ball home.

Welfare started the second half in lively fashion, with a shot which forced Kostka Real de Asua into a good save close to his post, then a long-range drive by O’Neil which slipped past the upright.  

Euan Scott replaced Gamble just before the hour, with Shrive dropping deeper, but Real de Asua was again called into action, saving bravely at the feet of Crutcher.  Back came the Watt and a long-range shot by Shrive was blocked and retrieved by Ross Coats in the Whitehill goal.  

Welfare won a corner on the left and when the ball was played in, Jack Burrows headed towards the far post.  Real de Asua was unsighted by the crowd of players in front of him and before he could block it, the ball slipped into goal close to the post for a second equaliser.

Shortly after this, the game took an ugly turn.  A Watt player was tripped and as he lay on the ground, Burrows kicked the ball hard against him from close quarters, resulting in his expulsion.  

Watt gained no discernible advantage from the extra player, although Shrive did work a shooting chance on the edge of the box, but pulled his shot across the face of goal.  Then, with ten minutes of regulation time left, came the game’s defining incident.  

A free kick was played into the Watt penalty box.  Real de Asua came towards the ball and leaped to catch it, but before he reached it he was suddenly removed from the vicinity by a side impact.  The referee’s whistle sounded and a free kick was expected, but the decision was a penalty, the referee later explaining that, as he saw it, the Welfare player who made contact with the goalkeeper had been pushed into him by a defender. 

The Watt players were incensed by the decision and several crowded round the referee in protest.  Amongst them was Voy, who had earlier been cautioned for an unspecified offence following the scoring of the previous goal.  Voy later claimed that he had been attempting to convince a team-mate to desist from his protests, but in what incendiary style is not recorded.  What is clear is that when the referee decided to show Voy a second yellow card, the player lost all self-discipline.  Before leaving the pitch, he was shown the red card twice more for unacceptable remarks to the official and should now have plenty of time to consider the need for him to develop some self-control.

With the sides now at ten players apiece, Fynley Connor slammed in the penalty to give his side the lead for the first time.  Watt made three more substitutions in the next few minutes, bringing on Ronan Dowds, Theo McGuire and Mark Larmour and in the first of five minutes of stoppage time, McGuire was tripped from behind to give the Watt a penalty.

While Ronan Dowds waited for the chance to take the kick, Campbell Notley was the latest player to receive a caution, but after this process had been completed, there was a further long delay for no reason  apparent to the spectators before the referee eventually gave the signal to proceed.  Dowds had by this time been waiting for several minutes and decided that he wasn’t going to hold back on the kick.  He drove it firmly to the right of Coats, but at around shoulder-height.  The goalkeeper guessed correctly and threw himself sideways to make a splendid block.   

As the outfield players piled in, the ball was returned to the area in front of the goalkeeper and Dowds became the last player to be cautioned after attempting to force the ball home and making contact with the goalkeeper.

Whitehill Welfare:

Coats, Wight, Thomson, Tickle, Crutcher (Ramsay 69), Burrows, Connor, Williams (Bielski 4), Solway, Notley, O’Neil.    Sub. not used:  Mackenzie.

Heriot-Watt University:

Real de Asua, Voy, Hannigan, Burt, Teviotdale, Smith, Naysmith (Dowds 82), Laurenson, Shrive (McGuire 88), Duffy (Larmour 89), Gamble (Scott 57).    Subs. not used:  Carson, Cumming, Wright.

Referee:  Mr. Brent Falconer

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Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 6

Lowlands Development League

26th October 2018

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  8   CAMELON JUNIORS  1

The final score makes this look like a very one-sided game, but for the first fifty minutes it was anything but that.  Camelon was a lively side, with pacy, tricky front men who gave the Watt defence something to think about.

The early threats on goal came mostly from the visitors, with Keir Young showing strength to get round Todd Teviotdale and sweep the ball firmly across goal, just beyond a team-mate coming in on the far side.

A free kick after half an hour’s play was swung into the penalty box, but the knot of players in the target area defeated Camelon’s attempts to force the ball towards goal and the Watt broke upfield, Ali Naysmith combining with Ali Shrive to give a chance to Lewis Duffy, but goalkeeper Robbie Lyle was out quickly to preserve his goal.

Finally, with half-time only minutes away, Heriot-Watt showed how dangerous they can be with two goals inside a minute.  The first was entirely the work of Shrive, who resisted a strong challenge to drive into the left side of the box before unleashing a close-range blast that Lyle could not prevent crossing the goal-line.  Almost straight from the restart, Duffy’s well-judged pass set Naysmith away to streak past the last defender and slip the ball past the advancing Lyle to put the Watt two ahead.

It might have been three before half-time, as Teviotdale’s wonderful pass was well controlled by Duffy, but he couldn’t find a finish to match and his shot went over the bar.

Having started scoring goals, the Watt side seemed to like it and added a third almost straight from the start of the second half.  Shrive fired in a shot from a standing position after a mistake in the Camelon defence, but not for the first time, goalkeeper Lyle made a great save, turning the powerful drive on to the post.  To his misfortune, Naysmith was in on the rebound in a trice, squeezing a shot into the net from a tight angle.

The next goal went to the visitors three minutes later, Sam Colley making a determined run into the left side of the box and finishing accurately across Kostka Real de Asua, but just three minutes later the Watt restored its three-goal lead, Naysmith completing his hat-trick from the penalty spot after a trip in the box.  Six minutes later, Euan Scott knocked home a ball played across the face of the goal to make it 5 – 1.

Having a healthy lead and with the visitors’ defence looking disheartened, the Watt began to make regular substitutions and gave game time to Theo McGuire, Ronan Dowds, Callum Carson, Mark Larmour and Greig Dighton.  This did little to reduce the enthusiasm of the team for adding further goals.  Carson scored a sixth from the rebound after another good save by Lyle, then McGuire got on the scoresheet with a shot from outside the penalty box before Ben Voy completed the scoring, driving the ball into goal from close range.

Heriot-Watt University:

Real de Asua, Voy, Hannigan, Burt, Teviotdale, Smith, Naysmith (Dowds 61), Duffy (Larmour 71), Shrive, Gamble (Carson 67), Scott (Dighton 77).    Subs. not. used:  Walter, Wright.

Camelon Juniors:

Lyle, Croy, Bennie, Convery, Dunseath, Frame, Smith, Young, McIntyre, Hastings (McDonald 61), Colley.    No subs. unused.  

Referee:  Mr. Scott Downie

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Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 5

Lowlands Development League

19th October 2018

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  6   PRESTON ATHLETIC  3

As the final score suggests, this was a game full of interest and drama, with plenty of twists and turns along the way.

After surviving a close thing in the second minute of play, the Watt side took the lead after five minutes.  It was a little unfortunate for Athletic goalkeeper Finlay Watson, who got a really good punch on a cross from the Watt left, only for Lewis Duffy to return the ball to the danger area.  After another save by the ’keeper, the ball came to Finn As-Chainey, coming in from the right side, and he finished with a precision shot across Watson and just inside the far post.

Chris Rae did some excellent work on the left, emerging with the ball from challenges by two opponents and sending As-Chainey away to send in a low centre which found Alasdair Shrive making a near-post run, but well marshalled by a defender.  Unfortunately, it was Rae’s last involvement as he succumbed again to his persistent hamstring problem and was replaced by Mark Armour with Shrive dropping back into midfield and Craig Smith into defence.  

It didn’t seem to matter much to this game as Watt went two ahead before there were twenty minutes on the clock, Duffy rising imperiously to meet a corner from the left and send a well-judged header back across goal with enough power to prevent Watson from keeping it out of the net.  

This looked like plain sailing for the Watt, but Preston had other ideas and attacked with vigour and purpose.  Straight from the restart after the second goal, a move on the right produced a good save from Kostka Real de Asua, diving to his right to block the ball and retrieve it.

Eleven minutes from the interval, the visitors were right back in the game.  A ball into the Watt box bounced up awkwardly and Cammy Burt wasn’t able to get much traction on his header.  Ben Voy moved to help out, but in playing the ball collided with a Preston player and somehow the referee saw this as a penalty.  It was the softest of awards, but Lewis Jarvis made a good job of converting it.

Watt came close to restoring the two-goal margin four minutes later with a tremendous shot from twenty metres which slammed off the underside of the bar and bounced outwards, but half-time was reached without further scoring.

Six minutes into the second period, it was all square again.  Following a free kick which struck the Watt’s two-man defensive wall, the ball was played into the penalty area for Brandon Archibald, who’d come on as a substitute two minutes earlier, to strike a shot towards the far corner.  Real de Asua got an arm to the ball but was unable to keep it out of goal.

The scores stayed level for some time, but gradually the Watt began once more to pick holes in Athletic’s defence.  Andy Hannigan’s driving run ended with a fierce shot which Watson turned over the bar, then As-Chainey cut out a pass out of defence and put Larmour through, but on his left foot he was unable to profit.

Around the half-way point in the second half, a nice move produced another goal for the Watt.  Larmour’s first-time layoff gave Shrive a clear run in from the right.  His first touch was a bit heavy, but he quickened to drive the ball past the advancing Watson, although he then collided with the goalkeeper to the discomfort of both parties.

Four minutes later, the two-goal advantage was restored when As-Chainey’s through pass was ideal for Duffy to run on and finish cleverly to Watson’s left, but again Preston refused to lie down and three minutes later the Watt advantage was again reduced to one.  A strong shot from the left wing was blocked by Real de Asua, but two Preston players were on him in a flash, PJ Grieve prodding the ball into goal.

The visitors’ defence was vulnerable, however, and it took only five minutes more for the Watt to score again.  Shrive slipped the ball through to connect with Gamble’s run on the left and his cutback was turned home by Larmour.  

There should have been another two minutes later when Shrive played the ball across the area for the unmarked As-Chainey, but he had to wait a bit for it to arrive and Watson got back across and spread himself to block the shot.  As the Watt sustained the attack, a Preston player sliced the ball over his own crossbar, but nothing came of the corner kick.

Two goals behind and with time running out, Preston continued to flood forward whenever they could.  Following a free kick on the right, Daniel Mair played the ball through a ruck of players in the penalty box and it seemed to strike Daniel McCann inside the six yard box before shooting over the bar.

A sixth goal for the home side came in the last minute of regular time.   There wasn’t much scientific about it, a punt forward being headed on by Larmour for Ronan Dowds to run through and drive the ball firmly into the corner of the goal. 

Heriot-Watt University:

Real de Asua, Voy, Hannigan, Burt, Rae (Larmour 17), Smith, Naysmith (Carson 69), Duffy, Shrive (Dowds 83), Gamble (McGuire 81), As-Chainey (Walter 86).    Subs. not. used:  Dighton, Wright.

Preston Athletic:

Watson, Kirkpatrick (Ferguson 30), Harrower (Hunter 83), Vieira, McCann, Wood (Archibald 49), Innes, Jarvis, Mooney (Foot 73), Mair, Grieve.    Sub. not used:  Jones.

Referee:  Mr. Derek McNee

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Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 4

Lowlands Development League

12th September 2018

NEWTONGRANGE STAR  0   HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  3

To some, this may have looked like an easy fixture, as Star had endured a couple of heavy defeats in other matches, but on the excellent grass surface at New Victoria Park, we saw a thoroughly entertaining and competitive match in which both sides played their parts.

The grass surface had been made slick by the dampness and the first half was played at a fast pace, but despite good passing and movement from both sides, calm and well-organised defences made sure that chances were few.  A good run by Euan Scott on to a through ball almost created a chance, but as Scott lost his footing, goalkeeper Robbie Calder secured the ball.

Eight minutes before the interval, Lewis Duffy’s well-judged shot struck Calder’s left-hand post after a good build-up.  The Watt won a corner, but when the ball was headed firmly towards goal, the player on the post was in the right place to kick clear.

Three minutes into the second half, the visitors went ahead.  Ali Naysmith pounced on a defensive error to play the ball low across goal for Aaron Gamble to slam the ball into the net before colliding with Calder, who was making every effort to reach the ball.

This goal opened up the game a bit and the Watt began to look more dominant, pushing forward to win a succession of corners.  Newtongrange was defending stoutly and the initial shot following a corner from the left was cleared off the line, but Ben Voy was in position to drive the ball firmly into goal.

As the substitutions came thick and fast towards the end of the game, the Watt put a double lock on the points with a third goal ten minutes from time.  Callum Carson was played in on the right and sent a fine first-time cross towards the far post, where Mark Larmour headed firmly past Calder.

Newtongrange Star:

Calder, Kettrick, Gammie, Clelland, Gaff, Scally (Oliver 69), Baigan (Whitson 45), Redpath (McEwen 64), Hussan, Forbes (Cargill 69), Norris (McKimmie 55).    Subs. not used:  Charters, Queen.

Heriot-Watt University:

Real de Asua, Voy, Hannigan, Burt, Rae, Duffy (Larmour 75), Scott (Carson 80), Smith, Shrive (Dighton 82), Gamble (As-Chainey 64), Naysmith (McGuire 56).    Subs. not used:  Cumming, Wright.

Referee:  Mr. Daniel Silva

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Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 3

Lowlands Development League

5th October 2018

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  1   KELTY HEARTS  2

Having had to play Kelty away from home the previous week, Heriot-Watt completed their fixtures against the Fife side for the season with their third League game.

The previous week’s game had shown us how formidable a side Kelty can be, but throughout this game, the Watt was well in the match.  In the second half in particular the game was very even, with equal shares of possession and opportunity.  

An early free kick gave Kelty the chance of a shot and Alex Chingwalu fairly belted the ball towards goal, but Kostka Real de Asua got his hands up quickly to divert the ball over the bar.  Watt responded with a good move on the right, with the lively Michael Doherty turning well to find Ali Shrive, but the shot was wide of the post.

The Watt lads, looking determined and calm, progressed through the first half with few defensive alarms and in the last minute of the half created a chance when Todd Teviotdale’s pass found Scott Munro on the left to play a firm cross into the area, but it wasn’t on quite the right trajectory for the head of Shrive.

Heriot-Watt started the second half on the front foot and in the second minute had the ball in the net.  A free kick delivered to the right-hand side of the penalty box was well won by Ben Voy, who sent a firm header inside for Shrive to volley into the roof of the net, but from a position a yard offside.  Shrive then put Tyler Huxford through for a shot, but his effort screwed off the top of his foot and went well wide.

Doherty was the next to threaten, bursting on to a loose ball in the Hearts defence, but as he sped on to the ball, his touch was too heavy and the ball carried through to Michael Gibb in the Kelty goal.  There was a similar opportunity for Craig Smith a few minutes later, but again Gibb was able to field the ball.

Real de Asua kept his goal intact shortly after this, getting down quickly to make a smart save from Owen Andrew’s downward header as Kelty began to impose themselves and there was a nasty moment for the Watt when a free kick was curled towards the far post, but no Kelty player was able to make contact and Real de Asua calmly allowed the ball to run past the post.

With ten minutes to play and the game still as tight as ever, disaster struck for Watt’s Cammy Burt.  Having defended soundly all day, he was too casual with an attempt to play a pass from Voy back to Real de Asua and failed to make the contact he wanted.  Kelty substitute Alieu Touray-Donaldson, who had replaced Andrew a few minutes earlier, is a pacy player and was past Burt and on to the ball in a flash, running on to slip it past Real de Asua for the opening goal.

Three minutes later, a speculative long ball down the Hearts right landed just right for Touray-Donaldson to accelerate on to it.  He sped into the area and finished crisply to the far corner.

This was very hard on a Watt side which did not deserve to lose by two goals, so it was good to see them at least get one back in the last minute.  A good move on the left made the ball available for Ali Naysmith, who flighted in a shot from the point of the penalty box.  Gibb managed to get a hand to the ball to take it on to the post, but Smith was in quickly to slide the ball home from close range.

Heriot-Watt University:

Real de Asua, Voy, Munro, Burt, Teviotdale, Duffy, Doherty (Naysmith 80), Smith, Shrive (Dowds 89), Huxford (Scott 66), Gamble (McGuire 77).    Sub not. used:  Wright.

Kelty Hearts:

Gibb, Lumsden, Chingwalu, Woods, Macaulay, Roue, Davidson, Donald (Elliot 45), Andrew (Touray-Donaldson 72), Kelly (Morton 86), Macdonald.    Subs. not used:  George, Walker, Richardson.

Referee:  Mr. Nelson da Silva

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Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 2

Lowlands Development League

28th September 2018

KELTY HEARTS  3   HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  0

To play a side such as Kelty Hearts so early in the season may be counted a misfortune, but to  have to play Kelty home and away in the second and third matches of the programme is surely the toughest assignment ever given to a side defending the Development League title.

Not that there’s much resemblance between the current Watt side and its predecessor.  Ion Athanassios Diamantopoulos was one of the few survivors to start this game, but he was unable to finish it, going off half-way through the second half with what looked like a serious knee injury when his studs jammed in the synthetic turf as he turned sharply.  The only other starter from last season’s squad was his central defensive partner, Cammy Burt.

It was apparent from the start of this game that Kelty’s reputation as a slick side was not exaggerated.  The Watt players haven’t been together for long, but they also managed some good passing movements; however in general the well-rehearsed Hearts side had the greater share of possession and used it to good effect.  Nevertheless, the Heriot-Watt team, already well organised and disciplined, made it difficult for Kelty to create chances.

After a little over quarter of an hour of sparring, the home team made the breakthrough.  The goal came as a result of the Watt over-committing to an attack and being caught on the break, but the way in which Kelty kept the ball moving and retained the benefit of numerical advantage was admirable.  Eventually, the ball was played in from the right to find Josh Jeffries in good position to fire low past Kostka Real de Asua, who got a hand to the ball but found it had too much force for him to stop it.

Later in the half, Real de Asua saved well, getting a strong arm to the ball to block a shot from the edge of the area, but a few minutes later he was beaten again and on this occasion he wouldn’t have been happy that he allowed another Jeffries shot to slither under his body into the corner of goal.

Early in the second period, Michael Doherty spotted a chance to intercept in midfield and headed the ball on, driving forward to shoot from twenty metres, but Michael Gibb dived low to his right to divert the ball away.  The Watt was doing well in the opening period of the half and Ben Voy’s head-on allowed Euan Scott to combine with Doherty to feed Ali Shrive, but the ball was bouncing awkwardly and he couldn’t get his shot on target.

Real de Asua saved Cameron Lumsden’s drive, diving low to his right, but shortly after that, Kelty struck for a third time, Ben Davidson firing the ball into the corner of goal after a spell of sustained pressure.

Gregor Macdonald came close to adding another when his shot across goal struck the far post, but within minutes the Watt had also struck an upright, Aaron Gamble getting in a header from a head-on by Shrive.  Doherty then used his pace to catch a ball on the right, but both his shot and a follow-up from the rebound were blocked by the home defence. 

Finn As-Chainey, who had replaced Alistair Naysmith a little earlier, won a corner on the left, but the Watt side could not use it to fashion an effort on goal.

After the injury to Diamantopoulos, Ronan Dowds came on to bolster the Watt attack, with some positional adjustments, but it was Kelty who had the next effort on goal, Keir Macaulay slamming in a strong shot which Real de Asua did well to touch over the bar.

Watt will be content to have this game under their belts, but the loss of Diamantopoulos for some time to come is a blow.  

 

Kelty Hearts:

Gibbs, Lumsden, Chingwalu (Nicol 79), Woods, Macaulay, Gay, Jeffries (Elliot 89), Davidson, Andrew, Donald, Macdonald.    Subs. not used:  Morton, Walker, Richardson.

Heriot-Watt University:

Real de Asua, Voy, Diamantopoulos (Dowds 67), Burt, Teviotdale, Smith, Doherty, Duffy, Scott (Cumming 75), Shrive (Rietvelt 86), Naysmith (As-Chainey 60).    All subs. used.

Referee:  Mr. Robert Bowie.

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Season 2018 – 2019:    Match 1

Lowlands Development League

21st September 2018

EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY  0   HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY  5

Heriot-Watt University started the defence of its Under-20 Development League championship title with an emphatic victory over its traditional rivals in this match at Peffermill.

There were just two survivors from last season’s squad on the Watt team lines for this game, but they were important players:  defenders Ion Athanassios Diamantopoulos and Cammy Burt.  Along with Aidan Quinn, listed as an over-age player for this match, they controlled their area of the pitch so effectively that we saw little of goalkeeper Kostka Real de Asua in action, although he was frequently involved in linking play and showed he is quite comfortable with the ball at his feet.

The Watt had impressive performers in all areas of the pitch.  With the visitors dominating possession, right-back Ben Voy was more often to be found in the Edinburgh penalty area than his own; Lewis Duffy was assured and decisive in midfield, securing the area and allowing Ali Shrive and Aaron Gamble to press forward through the centre, with Michael Doherty and Ali Naysmith giving good support in the wide areas.    Frewen Hutcheson, the other over-age player who started, succumbed to a hip injury and was replaced at half-time by Finn As-Chainey, who was another lively presence in the Watt attack, as were Craig Smith and Euan Scott, who came on during the half.  Todd Teviotdale replaced Diamantopoulos on the hour and slotted in smoothly in the visitors’ defence.

It took only seven minutes for the Watt side to take the lead.  After good work on the left, Shrive cut inside and drew the home defenders towards him before slipping a pass through to the unmarked Voy.  The enterprising right-back steadied himself and sent a low drive past the right hand of Ben Thompson into the net. 

A similar move twelve minutes later almost produced a carbon copy goal, but on this occasion, Voy didn’t get as much power on his shot and Thompson got down to make the save.

Just before the half-hour, Watt’s domination of the game was rewarded with a second goal.  Doherty won a corner on the right and when it was sent to the far post, a header back across goal landed amongst the feet.  Shrive was first to the ball and directed it into goal.

The Watt continued its virtual monopoly of possession and Edinburgh continued to work hard to deny space.  Two minutes from the interval, a first-time lay-off by Voy of a cross-field pass gave Doherty a shooting opportunity, but his shot, though firmly struck, went just past the post.

Four minutes after the restart, however, the Watt did add a third goal.  Thompson was put under pressure as he came to deal with a cross from the right and his punch reached the edge of the penalty area, where Shrive raised a long leg to hook the ball just under the bar and into goal.

Naysmith was the next with an effort on goal, cutting inside to send in a shot which had Thompson diving to his right to turn the ball round the post.  Then a good exchange of passes by Doherty, Shrive and Naysmith delivered a shooting chance for Quinn, who came forward to strike a powerful drive which Thompson managed to block and then catch as it fell.

More good work by Doherty sent Shrive into the box looking for the goal to complete his hat-trick, but he pulled his shot wide of the near post.  Naysmith cut inside again and sent a curling effort just wide of the junction of post and bar to Thompson’s left.  

Smith made an instant impact on replacing Naysmith for the last twenty minutes, making a fine tackle to win the ball and sending As-Chainey away on the left.  As-Chainey’s searching low centre was deflected inside the far post to put the visitors four goals ahead.

As the substitutions continued regularly, Scott entered the arena and looked alert during his cameo performance.  Thompson was still being kept busy and did well to stop Quinn’s free kick, diving to his left to block the ball and recovering quickly to claim it.  Substitute goalkeeper Michael Wright was given an outing in the Watt goal, replacing Real de Asua for the last ten minutes or so, but most of the action continued to be at the other end of the pitch, where Shrive’s pass released As-Chainey for a penetrating run across the pitch to find Doherty, who leant back a little on his shot and sent it just over.

Isaac Watson had never stopped running and the industrious Edinburgh midfielder tried a shot from some twenty-five metres, but sent it well over the top.  

As-Chainey was having increasing influence the longer the game went on and his determined run on the left gained a corner-kick which kept the Watt camped near the Edinburgh goal for some time, but although this did not produce a goal, there was a finishing flourish to come.  In the last minute, great battling in midfield by As-Chainey and Shrive enabled As-Chainey to bring the ball forward and send it into the run of Doherty as he came in off the right.  Doherty took a touch and slotted the ball past Thompson to make it a nap hand for Heriot-Watt.

 

Edinburgh University:

Thompson, Collett, Best, Alun-Jones, Squires, Watson, McKenzie, Lawton, McMenemy (Sutcliffe 60), O’Neill (Bouch 71), Denman (Galega 77).    Sub. not used:  Balakrishna.

Heriot-Watt University:

Real de Asua (Wright 79), Voy, Diamantopoulos (Teviotdale 60), Burt, Quinn, Duffy, Doherty, Gamble (Scott 72), Hutcheson (As-Chainey 45), Shrive, Naysmith (Smith 71).    All subs. used.

Referee:  Mr. Scott Downie

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SEASON 2018 – 2019

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Season 2017 – 2018: Match 32

Lowland & East of Scotland Development League

25th May 2018

WHITEHILL WELFARE 2 HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY 1

At the end of this match, the Watt celebrated winning the Development League championship, but was denied the satisfaction of a last-day success by a well-organised and very determined Whitehill Welfare side.

It wasn’t that the Watt played badly in this game – they’ve often played less well and won – and it was one of those games which could have gone either way. Frustratingly for the Watt supporters, it went the other way.

The Watt squad was a shade on the thin side, with only three on the bench, one of whom was Ronan Dowds, who hasn’t trained in some time due to illness, but Welfare was in a similar situation, with only three substitutes on standby. The eleven who started for the visitors were all regular players and the team looked strong and capable.

The Watt started the game on the front foot, winning early corners, from one of which Mark McGovern’s far-post cross carried just too much momentum for Ion Athanassios Diamantopoulos to direct his header on target. Cammie Ross was in a determined frame of mind, but twice within the opening twelve minutes he was brought crashing down when on the break, with the second occasion bringing a caution for Stephane Murray.

Campbell Notley was a lively presence on the Whitehill right and his run and shot forced Alex McMahon to turn the ball behind. Welfare sustained the pressure for some time, winning another corner, but when the possession broke down, Ciaran McKenzie was cautioned for petulantly kicking the ball away after a free kick was awarded.

Out of the blue, the home side took the lead after twenty minutes’ play. Murray, some ten metres inside the Watt half, suddenly fired the ball towards goal. His judgment was perfect and the ball soared over the head of McMahon into the postage-stamp corner, taking everyone by surprise.

The lead lasted little more than a minute. Another free kick, this time for a foul on Chris Macher, was rather resented by the Watt players, as the ball had run on to Anton Dowds, who was approaching the penalty area, but when the ball was flighted in, Scott Dargo stole in round the back to volley past Jack Findlay.

Three minutes later came the incident which may have cost the Watt the points. Jackson Barker was chasing a ball down the Watt left along with an opponent. As the players neared the sideline, the Welfare player moved across and barged Barker out of the park. Barker’s attention had been on the ball and the sudden movement was unexpected, so he was not in control of his descent. As he landed, he struck the ground with his knee, sustaining an injury which took him out of the game. Greig Boulstridge replaced him and played very well, but Barker is an important part of the Watt side’s balance and of its attacking capacity. The adjustment to the team structure necessitated by the change was not helpful to the prospects of scoring further goals.

Boulstridge, in his last game before switching to the University of Edinburgh, gave everything he had to this game. Within a minute or so of coming on, he burst through the middle, but perhaps lacked the confidence to take on the back line and try to get in a shot. He played the ball wide to Scott Dargo, but when he in turn played it inside to the edge of the area to try to set up sharpshooter Mark McGovern, the referee got in the way so completely that McGovern ran straight into his back as he ran up to take the shot, resulting in the chance being completely lost.

Four minutes from the interval, the Watt found themselves behind again. Jack Solway broke clear on the left, penetrating deep into the Watt penalty box before squaring the ball to give an easy finish to Notley, who had come inside from the opposite wing.

Chris Macher was having his best game in a Watt shirt and early in the second half his superb through pass sent Boulstridge into the box again, but before the trigger could be pulled, Findlay sprinted from his goal to narrow the angle, diverting the shot behind for a corner kick. Boulstridge had another good effort shortly after this, but again Findlay was equal to the challenge, saving to his left.

With almost half an hour left to play, McKenzie’s further dissent brought him a second yellow card, reducing Welfare to ten men, but this was of little advantage to the visitors, encouraging the home side to sit in even deeper, forming a barrier which was very difficult to penetrate. Whitehill is a well-organised side and the Watt found it ever more difficult to fashion chances, increasingly resorting to efforts from distance, none of which succeeded in troubling Findlay.

There were two good efforts in the closing stages. Aidan Quinn’s pass to Anton Dowds set up a chance for Harry Barclay, then Mark McGovern got in a left-foot shot from the edge of the area, but on both occasions the alert Findlay was in ideal position to make the catch. In the end, the Watt had to be satisfied with the points they had previously accumulated.

Whitehill Welfare:
Findlay, Tickle, Brockie, Watson, L Barrett (Walker 65), Williams, Notley, McKenzie, B Barrett (Knox 59), Solway (Bielski 65), Murray. All subs. used.

Heriot-Watt University:
McMahon, Craig (Logan 79), Barclay, Diamantopoulos, Quinn, Macher, Dargo (R Dodds 85), Barker (Boulstridge 27), Ross, McGovern, A Dowds. All subs. used.

Referee: Mr. Mark Harris

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Season 2017 – 2018: Match 31

Lowland & East of Scotland Development League

18th May 2018

BONNYTON THISTLE 1 HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY 3

At the end of a fascinating and nerve-wracking match, the Watt Under-20s grasped the three points they needed to ensure that no team in the Lowland & East of Scotland Development League can exceed their points total.

When Bonnyton visited Riccarton in December, the score ran away from them towards the end of the game, but it’s worth remembering that with just seventeen minutes to go, there was only one goal between the sides with the score at 3 – 2 and that the visitors had recovered from a three-goal half-time deficit with two goals in the first five minutes of the second half. The gap was a single goal for over twenty minutes and it was only after the Watt eventually scored again that the belief ebbed away from the Thistle side and the tally began to mount to a final score that was in no way reflective of the game as a whole.

Since that time, Thistle has recruited further talented players and lost no time in showing the visitors they had a very tough game on their hands. Striker Kris Kerr, one of Bonnyton’s overage players, is quick and strong, with good skills and clever movement, but his fellow forward players, Harry McLaughlin, Deri Thomson, Andrew Tremble and Kyle Gilroy, had similar advantages and as an attacking unit they gave the Watt defence plenty of work to do.

Nevertheless, the Watt side started well, with Chris Macher’s cross from the left coming back to Chris Lane on the edge of the area, but Thistle’s other overage guest, goalkeeper Stuart Cowan, is another fine player and he dived to get two hands to the ball and turn it round the post.

Cammie Ross was the next to work a shooting opportunity, turning well on the edge of the box, but again Cowan was equal to the shot and blocked it away.

After all this promising play going forward, the Watt conceded the first goal in the ninth minute. Bonnyton picked up the ball in midfield and Gilroy’s drive from twenty-five metres had all the power and accuracy it needed to leave James Donaldson helpless.

There was no further scoring in the first half, although Gilroy’s cross gave a chance on the volley to Ewan Farrell, but Donaldson was well positioned to make the catch. For the Watt, Lane, Macher and Jackson Barker continued to seek to provide opportunities for Ross, but direct opportunities were few.

Eight minutes into the second half, the Watt got the break they sought. Ion Athanassios Diamantopoulos played the ball forward towards Ross. He was covered by two defenders, but one of them headed the ball high in the air and Ross read its flight perfectly, running on to drive the ball past Cowan and low into the net.

Reece Craig, who has contributed so much during the charge to the top of the table, had run himself into the ground and was replaced by Mark McGovern with half an hour remaining. This was an introduction of considerable significance, as McGovern was in his very best trim and made a huge contribution during his half-hour on the pitch. From the start, his strong running and good control caused problems for the home defence, with his determination to shoot whenever possible and the remarkable power of his shooting altering the course of the match.

Ross’s penetrating run into the penalty box set up McGovern’s first effort on goal; somehow, Ross managed to squeeze the ball inside from an unlikely angle and McGovern contrived to get in a shot. Cowan moved sharply to get a hand to the ball.

The always-dangerous Gilroy was the next to threaten, going down the right and eluding the challenges of Diamantopoulos and Harry Barclay and playing the ball inside to Tremble, whose shot on the turn just cleared the junction of post and bar.

Barker did well on the right, finding Lane inside the area. Lane’s cute back-heel gave McGovern a chance to demonstrate his shooting power, but the ball zipped just past the post. Barker and Justin Hogg then combined on the left, but Ross’s shot lacked the power to beat Cowan.

Aidan Quinn came close to putting the Watt ahead for the first time, heading a free kick against the outside of the post, before McGovern judged a through ball perfectly to turn and smash another shot of great power towards goal, only to see Cowan make a sensational save, getting his hands up instantly to divert the ball over the bar.

McGovern was not to be denied, however, and after earlier efforts from Ross and Quinn had failed to beat Cowan, he was entrusted with the next free kick within striking distance. McGovern’s low shot was struck with such ferocity that even Cowan could not get a strong enough hand to the ball to keep it out of the goal. With fifteen minutes left to play, Watt was ahead for the first time.

Another McGovern cannonball from long range was blocked and retrieved by Cowan, but Thistle was still very much in the contest and it took a superb tackle by Cameron Burt to halt a promising attack. Back came the Watt again and Barclay’s good work gained a corner kick which Lane delivered, the flight just eluding Quinn as he ran in.

Tremendous work by Burt, pinning a defender in the corner and winning the ball, set up a chance for Ross to cut the ball across the area, but Lane’s shot was diverted for a corner. The kick found Quinn at the far post, but his downward header struck a defender.

The clinching goal arrived when Ross broke forward from half-way and was brought down, giving another free kick to Heriot-Watt. It seemed an unlikely distance from goal for a direct strike, but McGovern made a mockery of such thoughts with as good a free kick as you could ever hope to see. He sent the ball hurtling towards goal with phenomenal power, dipping late to find the postage-stamp corner and leave even such a good goalkeeper as Cowan a mere spectator. It was a truly memorable strike and came so close to the end of the game that the Watt players knew the points were safe at last.

McGovern had yet another opportunity to fire in a free kick when Lane was tripped, but this time the ball was diverted for a corner. That didn’t matter to the Watt players as the referee blew his whistle for the end of the game shortly after, but then came an unexpected and unwelcome postscript. Justin Hogg was the nearest Watt player to the Bonnyton substitute by the name, ironically enough, of Cammy Ross. As Hogg joined his team-mates in celebrating the victory, Ross punched him in the face. Hogg, realising there was no team-mate close enough to help him, returned the blow and as players, officials and spectators rushed to the scene, general confusion reigned for a few minutes. When the dust settled, both players involved were shown a red card, removing Hogg from the Watt’s squad for the final game against Whitehill Welfare.

Bonnyton Thistle:
Cowan, Cameron, Wardrope, Farrell, Gray, Smith, McLaughlin (Ross 22), Thomson (Smith 75), Kerr, Tremble, Gilroy. Subs. not used: Smyth, Sivewright.

Heriot-Watt University:
Donaldson, Spence (Burt 68), Barclay, Diamantopoulos, Quinn, Macher, Craig (McGovern 60), Lane, Ross, Barker, Law (Hogg 54). All subs. used.

Referee: Mr. Steven MacDonald

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Season 2017 – 2018: Match 30

Lowland & East of Scotland Development League

11th May 2018

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY 1 SPARTANS 3

The Challenge Cup Semi-final, played between these teams a fortnight earlier at Ainslie Park, had been a disappointing affair, with the Watt coming away frustrated, having played nowhere near their best in losing to two late goals to a curiously muted performance by Spartans. On this occasion, the Watt side could have no such feelings. Spartans, benefiting from the skills and knowhow of senior player Blair Atkinson, produced a much better performance in this League encounter, moving and passing as smoothly as a well-oiled machine.

The writing was on the wall early in the game, as the visitors took a two-goal lead in the first twenty minutes or so. The first came when Atkinson received the ball a few metres outside the penalty box, held it until Anthony Laing had moved into position, then slipped it inside Harry Barclay for Laing to run on and slide it past Alex McMahon. Atkinson scored the second himself, leaving the Watt with a mountain to climb.

The Watt started the second half much better and within fifteen minutes had struck the frame of the goal no fewer than three times. The ball was played against the right-hand post following a corner kick; then from another corner, Aidan Quinn headed the ball against the bar. Finally, Jackson Barker touched the ball against the left-hand post.

Half-way through the second half, the Watt suffered a grievous blow. McMahon ran from his penalty area to try to clear a ball which had been played down the Spartans left. He arrived just after the Spartans player chasing it, who played it against the goalkeeper. The referee immediately blew his whistle and despite the frantic claims of McMahon and his team-mates that the ball had been driven against his chest and elbow and that there had been no deliberate handling; and that in any case there were covering defenders; McMahon was sent off. Quinn took over the goalkeeping gloves.

Despite this setback, the Watt was back in the game five minutes later. Chris Lane caught a defender in possession, sped forward into the area and slipped the ball past Jordan Pettigrew to reduce the deficit to a single goal. The Watt’s slim hopes didn’t last long, however, as a supremely inadvisable challenge by Justin Hogg gave the Spartans a free kick on the edge of the Watt penalty box and Michael Allan got his head to the flighted cross to restore the two-goal advantage and take the game beyond the reach of the Watt.

Heriot-Watt University:
McMahon, Craig, Barclay, Diamantopoulos, Quinn, Macher (Burt 81), Ross (McGilvray 84), Barker, McGovern (Hogg 63), Lane, A Dowds (Law 88). Sub. not used: Boulstridge.

Spartans:
Pettigrew, Hosey, Hill, Wishart, Allan, Crowe (Cinar 27), Hand, O’Neil (Nicol 88), Hall, Atkinson, Laing. Subs. not used: Sutherland, Singh, Scott, Urquhart.

Referee: Mr. Nelson da Silva

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Season 2017 – 2018: Match 29

Lowland & East of Scotland Development League

4th May 2018

UNIVERSITY OF STIRLING 2 HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY 3

If the Watt goes on to lift the Development League championship trophy at the end of the season, this is a game they will look back on as a turning point. Stirling is a quality side and they gave the Watt a thorough examination throughout the whole ninety minutes – but the Watt lads passed the test and emerged with three vital points to take them closer to their title ambitions.

Both sides gave their all from the start of this contest. Watt came close early on when Cammie Ross, having been fouled just outside the penalty box, got off the ground and took the kick himself, forcing goalkeeper Owen Klijsen to throw himself to his left to touch the ball over the bar. Ross had another chance from the corner and after his first effort rebounded off a defender, he fired a second attempt just over the bar.

Watt took the lead after eight minutes’ play with a fine goal. Ross picked up the ball on the left and sent in a tempting cross which just eluded Anton Dowds, but Chris Lane collected at the far side of the goal and from a tight angle sent a crisp drive back across goal to the corner of the net.

Stirling responded vigorously, with Alex McMahon only able to block a shot from Fabian Borcz and his fellow defenders having difficulty in getting the ball away, but Watt played consistently well for the first half-hour, with Ross prominent in most of the attacks and Matthew Law linking effectively with Dowds.

In the last ten minutes or so of the half, the home side began to come more into the game and in the last minute of the forty-five, they scored a goal to send the sides in level at the interval. A long throw-in from the left found Sean Watt, the ball looping gently from his head towards the postage-stamp corner of the goal and dropping just under the bar.

Watt started the second half with a bang, taking back the lead within a minute with another great goal. Lane’s beautifully-flighted pass sent Dowds away on the left and when he fired the ball low into the goalmouth, Lane was there to meet it. He drove his close-range shot against the goalkeeper, but when the ball rebounded to Law, coming in from the right, he struck it first-time with great accuracy across Klijsen and inside the far post.

The Watt side was in full cry now and another good touch by Law supplied Dowds on the right. His centre gave a shooting chance to Jackson Barker and when his shot was blocked, Ross’s follow-up effort was diverted for a corner. Aidan Quinn then drove forward and found Dowds, who played the ball on to Ross on the left. His cross to the far post was reached by Barker, but he was stretching backwards to get his head to the ball and was unable to control it.

Ten minutes after re-taking the lead, Watt scored again. Ross worked his way inside from the right wing and laid the ball back out to the wing for Dowds. When Dowds reached a dangerous area and fired a firm, low centre into the danger area, Ross was in position to hammer the ball home.

This was potentially a winning lead for the visitors, but Stirling wasn’t done yet and grabbed a goal back half-way through the second half. The ball was played into the Watt box from the right and turned back for Callum Bremner to apply a firm shot through the crowd into goal.

This gave Stirling plenty of encouragement and they began to come forward in waves. Bremner shot past the post, then the dangerous Borcz cut in from the left and McMahon did well to block the ball away for a corner. Mark McGovern came close to a goal to settle Watt nerves when he intercepted the ball, exchanged passes with Ross and sent a shot very narrowly past the post, but as the game neared its conclusion, the Watt players needed all their courage and resolve to keep out the eager Stirling attackers. Watt sent a shot on the turn just over the junction of bar and post close to the end and Andrew Downie was just unable to reach a dangerous low centre, but in the end the Watt held out to clinch the win.

University of Stirling:
Klijsen, Clare, C Downie, Mooney, Bremner, Watt, Whitefield (Lamond 65), Coates (Brown 58), Collins (A Downie 75), Borcz. Sub. not used: McKinlay

Heriot-Watt University:
McMahon, Craig, Barclay, Quinn, Diamantopoulos, Macher, Law (Hogg 60), Barker, Dowds, Lane (McGovern 75), Ross (Burt 84). Sub. not used: Boulstridge.

Referee: Mr. Jason Thomson

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Season 2017 – 2018: Match 28

Lowland & East of Scotland Development League Knock-Out Cup: Semi-final

30th April 2018

SPARTANS 2 HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY 0

To reach this Semi-final, the Watt turned in some sparkling performances, but unfortunately reserved their most inept showing of the season for this occasion. Even so, there were enough chances in the first half to have made the game safe – but things got much worse after the interval and Watt could easily have conceded before the home side eventually scored nine minutes from time. A second goal in the last minute resulting from an unsuccessful attempt to get the ball forward confirmed that it wasn’t the Watt’s night.

It could all have been so different. In the first minute of the game, Cammie Ross collected the ball on the right and left his pursuers behind, but when he shot from the edge of the penalty area, the ball went across goal, struck the post and rebounded into play. Inches the other way and it was a different game.

Five minutes later, Ross drove in another accurate shot, but Jordan Pettigrew in the Spartans goal managed to divert the ball over the bar; and as the Watt continued to dominate, a defender headed over his own crossbar after Jackson Barker’s pass had been sent into the danger area by Justin Hogg.

After this spell of pressure from Heriot-Watt, Spartans launched an attack on the right and Arron Singh made a run across the penalty box to meet the ball. Reece Craig was in close attendance and when Singh went down, opinion was divided along club lines on whether the result should have been a penalty kick or a caution. The referee awarded neither and play continued.

Barker looked likely to score when put through the inside-left channel, but as he tried to poke the ball past the left hand of Pettigrew, he lost purchase on the ball. Barker claimed that had resulted from a foul by the goalkeeper, but again there was no action from the referee. The resultant corner kick was swung to the far post, where Chris Lane set up Mark McGovern, but his shot was deflected for another corner. This one came to Ross at the far side of goal, but although he controlled the ball well and struck it cleanly, it went back across goal and past the post.

A fine ball by Lane picked out Ross on the right, but having knocked the ball past his marker, he was impeded by the defender; again there was no decision from the referee. Lane quickly set up Ross again, but this time, although he managed to get his shot away, the striker didn’t catch the ball as he wanted to and it went past the post.

Having seen the Watt have most of the play in the first half, we hoped for something similar in the second, but with conversion of some of the chances. We couldn’t have been more wrong. After half-time, the game changed completely and Spartans had most of the opportunities in the remainder of the match, albeit their finishing was no better than that of the Watt.

Ollie Heatherington came close with an early shot which just cleared the bar, but then the Watt defence began to make its own problems. A cross from the left was played back across goal by a defender and Douglas Crowe had a glaring opportunity, but delayed his shot and McMahon got across to make a fine save. Then a cross from the right reached central defender Josh Wishart, who for some reason was on the edge of the six-yard box, but he volleyed over the bar. Gabriel Hill’s cross reached Murray Hand, but his header was saved by McMahon, going to his right. Singh drove in a fierce shot from the edge of the area, but it passed just over the junction of post and bar.

Time was ebbing away and the Watt, whose shape had deteriorated, seemed unable to fashion a decent move up the pitch. There was another close call when Singh went through on McMahon but his shot slipped past the post, but eventually, with nine minutes left, another mistake in the visitors’ defence presented Spartans with the ball on the edge of the penalty area and when Singh was played in on the right, his low shot went across McMahon and in off the far post. This bookended the action rather neatly, as the position was quite similar to that from which Ross had struck the post at the beginning of the game, but of course in his case, the ball had come back into play.

Watt was a goal down with little time left to play, but couldn’t altogether shake the habit of building up from the back. Eventually, however, when it got to the last minute, it was all hands on deck and McMahon came up close to half-way to gather a throw-in and punt it forward. His first touch was a bit heavy, though, and Ollie Heatherington got to him before he could send the ball upfield. In the ensuing challenge, the ball sprung in favour of the striker, who continued to poke the ball inside the post from the edge of the area before the nearest defender could get to him. It confirmed the result, but in all honesty, the Watt didn’t look likely to equalise anyway.

Heriot-Watt University:
McMahon, Craig, Barclay, Quinn, Diamantopoulos, Macher (Burt 81), Hogg, Lane, Ross, Barker, McGovern (Law 68). Sub. not used: Boulstridge.

Spartans:
Pettigrew, Hosey, Hill, Wishart, Allan, Crowe, Hand, Laing, Heatherington, Hall, Singh (O’Neil 81). Subs. not used: Scott, Urquhart.

Referee: Mr. Danny MacKinnon

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Season 2017 – 2018: Match 27

Lowland & East of Scotland Development League

27th April 2018

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY 6 MID-ANNANDALE 0

Watt ran in five goals in the first half of this match to put themselves firmly in control, but at various times came close to conceding to a spirited Mid-Annandale side. Although young, the Lockerbie team became rather physical in the closing stages and were also keen to provoke the home players into some sort of reaction. Watt watchers were glad when the final whistle arrived without serious injury or disciplinary action.

A lively start saw action at both ends, with Chris Lane’s well-weighted pass enabling Anton Dowds to set up Justin Hogg for a shot which came back off the post and Mids’ left-back Darcy Ross trying his luck from distance but missing to Alex McMahon’s right.

Visiting goalkeeper Craig Murray did well to turn a shot from Dowds away for a corner after a defensive error had given him possession and from the corner, Chris Macher collected and sent in a cross which Lane headed narrowly past, but a minute later the Watt went ahead. Dowds’ strong run, outflanking the Mids’ defence on the left, ended with a firm, low centre which Lane met to ram the ball low into the net.

The response was a quick one, with Lee Taylor creating space to play the ball across the Watt box, but there were no takers and within a few minutes the Watt scored again. Good control and passing by Lane delivered the ball to Dowds, who moved off his marker and drove the ball firmly across Murray to the corner of goal.

Watt should have been three ahead a couple of minutes later, but when Dowds played the ball in to the danger area, Hogg fired past from close range. Dowds tested the visitors’ defence with another strong run from right to left, but Dean Cameron did well to stick with him and divert the shot for a corner.

The third goal arrived just before the half-hour, a excellent pass by Macher finding Dowds on the left to power away from Cameron and slip the ball past Murray. The fourth came just two minutes later and it was the pick of the bunch. A fine passing move, with the ball going forward, then back, then wide, ended by putting Dowds in possession inside the box and he squared for Lane to finish.

In thirty-four minutes, it was five, after another good spell of passing brought Lane into possession on the left. His first shot struck Murray, but he put away the rebound to complete his hat-trick.

Mid-Annandale came very close to grabbing a goal five minutes after this when a short back-pass failed to reach McMahon and Ion Athanassios Diamantopoulos got back to clear the shot off the line. Encouraged by this close thing, the visitors came forward again and Daniel Winter sent in a cross for Robson MacKay to shoot, but he missed the target to McMahon’s left.

Dowds headed a corner over the bar from close quarters in the closing minutes of the half, then Aiden Quinn went down with an injury and was replaced by Jackson Barker. Ronan Dowds replaced Macher before the start of the second half.

Barker made an energetic start to his contribution and when, five minutes after the restart, he burst into the penalty box and played the ball inside, Lane touched it back for Matthew Law to squeeze a shot through a narrow gap to put the Watt six ahead.

That made six goals within fifty minutes, but there were none in the remaining forty. With the frequent substitutions which are a common feature of Development League second halfs, the game lost momentum and there were fewer chances in front of goal. Cammie Ross came into the action and had a number of attempts without unduly troubling Murray, Ronan Dowds headed Ross’s cross over the bar from close range and Mark McGovern’s free kick struck the defensive wall, but perhaps the closest thing in the closing stages was when Jordan Harley’s shot was saved by the foot of McMahon. Winter had a shot in the last minute, but when it passed the post, Mids had to go home without the consolation of a goal.

Heriot-Watt University:
McMahon, Spence, Barclay (Boulstridge 64), Burt, Diamantopoulos (McGovern 54), Macher (R Dodds 45), Law, Lane (Ross 59), A Dowds, Quinn (Barker 44), Hogg. Sub. not used: Craig.

Mid-Annandale:
Murray, Smith (Trodden 67), Ross, Smith (Mitchell-Dell 50), Agnew (Cook 50), Jackson, Winter, Cameron, Harley, MacKay, Taylor (McCrudden 61). All subs. used.

Referee: Mr. Will Pare

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Season 2017 – 2018: Match 26

Lowland & East of Scotland Development League

23rd April 2018

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY 3 EDINBURGH CITY 0

Having lost to Cumbernauld Colts the previous Friday, it was important that the Watt Twenties didn’t let another game slip against one of the five championship rivals featuring in the late-season programme, so this was a very satisfying win against a strong-moving Edinburgh City side which has come surging up the League table since the turn of the year.

Mark McGovern was again missing, so Head Coach Banji Koya turned to Anton Dowds to partner Cammie Ross in attack, with Greig Boulstridge coming in to the starting line-up on the right side of midfield.

The first half was a battle, with tackles flying in, the referee regularly producing his yellow card and little room for constructive football. Dowds applied his pace and power to good effect and for City Calum Hall and Nathan Donnelly-Kay showed good touches, but the half was more notable for effort than for attempts on goal and there were no goals by the time we heard the half-time whistle. City would have felt they had edged the half in terms of possession and goal threat, despite Watt coming close when Harry Barclay combined with Dowds to set up a chance for Chris Lane in front of goal. Lane had a little time and used it to try to make sure, but his shot when it came was deflected over the bar.

That the second half was quite different from the first was largely attributable to an early goal for the Watt, which opened the game up and instilled a belief that had been lacking thus far. Chris Macher headed the ball down and Dowds burst on to it on the edge of the area to crash a forceful half-volley past Fraser Morton in the City goal.

Five minutes later the Watt added a second. Ross was hemmed in on the right and turned to find Reece Craig in support. Craig crossed first-time at head height and Chris Lane threw himself forward to power a header into the corner of the net.

The context of the game had changed and for the remainder of the match, the Watt created chances against an increasingly open-looking City defence, with the surprise perhaps being that only one more goal was scored. City had been full of running and endeavour in the first half, but the two quick goals seemed to have removed some of the fight from the team.

Ross almost created another goal five minutes after Watt’s second when he got to the ball ahead of Morton, who had come out to the side of his area. Ross played the ball back to Lane, who moved it inside to Jackson Barker, but the midfielder’s shot from twenty metres cleared the bar by a distance with the goalkeeper still trying to recover his ground.

Lane’s well-judged pass picked out the run of Hogg, but he reached the ball only slightly ahead of Morton and was unable to force the ball past him, having to settle for a corner-kick. Then, when Dowds was brought down in the centre of the pitch twenty-five metres out, Aidan Quinn’s free kick struck the defensive wall and rebounded into the air, but when Lane reached the ball to send a header towards goal, he found Morton well positioned to save.

Donnelly-Kay’s mazy run took him past a lot of home defenders, with several players with cautions declining to risk a challenge, but his shot from twenty metres missed the target.

Another golden opportunity to score a clinching goal was lost when Dowds profited from Harry Barclay’s accurate pass to outflank the right side of the City defence again, but when he squared the ball to Barker in front of goal, the shot struck the feet of Morton.

Barker, who had played with strapping on his knee, was withdrawn shortly after this, with Cameron Burt coming into the Heriot-Watt defence and Quinn moving into midfield and with ten minutes left to play, the Watt at last scored a third goal to make the victory secure. Lane, under pressure in a central area, managed to squeeze the ball out to Hogg on the right. Hogg’s first touch took him away from goal, but he flighted in a delicate little cross to the near post area and Ross, who had correctly read the intention, moved forward to glance a header past Morton.

Ronan Dowds replaced Ross and Matthew Law replaced Anton Dowds for the last few minutes of play, with Law almost scoring with his first touch when he reached a free kick played low into the box by Lane. Law got a foot to the ball to divert it towards goal, but Morton managed to get enough on the ball to take it behind.

Heriot-Watt University:
Reid, Craig, Barclay, Diamantopoulos, Quinn, Boulstridge (Hogg 45), Macher, Lane, Barker (Burt 75), A Dowds (Law 86), Ross (R Dowds 83). Sub. not used: McMahon.

Edinburgh City:
Morton, Day (White 73), McClung, Blaney, Begbie, Hall, Pullar (Mullen 22 [Rowell 83]), Henderson (Barfoot 53), Donnelly-Kay, Jack (Smith 49), Kennedy. Sub. not used: Fisher.

Referee: Mr. Mark Harris

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Season 2017 – 2018: Match 25

Lowland & East of Scotland Development League

20th April 2018

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY 1 CUMBERNAULD COLTS 2

With all five rivals for the Development League championship to play in their last seven fixtures, there was a reverse for the title-chasing Watt side in the first of these challenges, Cumbernauld Colts reversing the score from the game at Broadwood in late January.

With Mark McGovern missing, Cammie Ross was often isolated in attack as the close-pressing Colts denied the Watt midfielders the space to make their passes tell as effectively as usual, but there were chances for the home side, even before the visitors went ahead half-way through the first half. Ion Diamantopoulos rose at the near post to meet a corner kick but was unable to keep his header down and Ross exploited the wide areas to enable him to use his pace, but his curling shot had too much loft and cleared the crossbar.

Cumbernauld had started brightly but hadn’t been seen much as an attacking force for some time before a move down the left exposed a gap in the home defence. A pass inside found Callum Sheridan in space inside the penalty area and he sent a half-volley lob towards goal. Callum Reid was a little off his line and although the goalkeeper got a hand to the ball, he was unable to get the purchase needed to push it over