Sizzling soccer to finish the season as Watt hold Camelon in high-scoring game

With his usual attacking options unavailable, Watt Head Coach Banji Koya turned to Reserve team captain Dan Potter on Saturday and played him up front for his first East of Scotland start against the formidable Camelon Juniors in the final East of Scotland League game of the season at Riccarton’s John Brydson Arena.  And how Dan responded, with a goal and an assist as Watt played out a 3 – 3 draw with their ex-Junior Superleague opponents.

The game started very badly for the Watt, with Alan Docherty and Connor McMullan giving the visitors a two-goal lead in the first five minutes of the game, but before half-time Potter’s pinpoint cross gave Ryan Higgins a chance to bring Watt back in touch with a header; then the stand-in striker scored the equaliser himself, driving in a left-foot shot after good work from Todd Teviotdale.

Dan went off injured soon after and made way for another player to make a name for himself.  After Alan Sneddon had put Camelon back in front, it was Dan’s replacement, Ronan Dowds, who gave the Watt a point from this strength-sapping game, sending a fierce drive past goalkeeper Michael Watson from Harry Barclay‘s superb pass.

After a spell in which the Reserves were going really well, the lads have found things tough in the last couple of weeks.  Puzzlingly, there’s still no result on the LEAFA website for the game against Edinburgh Star on the Saturday before last (13th April), but last Monday’s game against Linlithgow Rose brought a 1 – 0 defeat and Saturday’s Logan Cup Semi-final against Tollcross Thistle was a bridge too far for the Watt side.

The trouble with beating the top of the second tier in the Quarter-final is that you’re apt to run into a really good side in the Semi.  Thistle is top of the Premier Division for a reason and they were simply too good for the Watt team.  Heriot-Watt held out until eight minutes from half-time, but when Tollcross opened the scoring, the Watt cohesion disintegrated and the second half was one-way traffic, producing a final score of 8 – 0.

The Watt lads will console themselves with the thought that they won’t meet a side of that quality again this season.  Perhaps next time they can have their good run in one of the cups that isn’t open to every team in the LEAFA structure!

The Reserves’ difficult run continued tonight with another 1 – 0 defeat in their home game against Carluke Hearts.   The Watt will try to end its barren spell in front of goal on Saturday, but it’s another tough match – the return fixture with Linlithgow Rose (Linlithgow Sports Centre Xcite, kick-off 1.15).  On Monday, it’s back to the John Brydson for a home game against Mill AFC (kick-off 6.45).  When those games have been played, there will be only one more match for the Watt in this LEAFA season.

With this Friday’s fixture against Whitehill Welfare called off, the Under-20s will return to action at home to Cumbernauld Colts the following week (3rd of May) after a four-week hiatus.  An away match against Dunipace is due the following week (10th of May), leaving just the Whitehill game to be fitted in.

Posted on April 24, 2019 at 4:01 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Posted on April 14, 2019 at 9:13 pm

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on April 8, 2019 at 1:56 pm

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