Penicuik Athletic 4 (Somerville 1min & 43mins, Jones 72mins & 86mins)
Blackburn United 2 (Campbell 8mins & 10mins)
Last season’s Conference A winners got off to the perfect start at a sunny Penicuik Park when, in the games first attacking moment, Stewart found space on the left to pull a ball back into the stride of SOMERVILLE who lifted a first time effort from the edge of the area high past Darren Mitchell and into the top left hand corner. For United, Danny Campbell then had a snap shot into the side netting and Andy McQuillan sent a header just over before the scores were quickly brought back to parity when CAMPBELL cut in off the right and curled a terrific effort from the corner of the eighteen yard box over the head of the beaten Swain in the home goal. Barely a further two minutes had elapsed when CAMPBELL all but matched his earlier stunning effort with another cracker, this time controlling a loose ball some twenty or more yards out and rifling an unstoppable shot beyond Swain to put Blackburn ahead. On the quarter hour mark the hosts were very nearly level after a Mitchell clearance from a Martin Lawrie pass back fell kindly for Stewart but the ‘keeper made up for his error by tipping the resultant shot over the crossbar before Ponton beat the offside trap but was off target with his effort. Before thirty minutes had passed United were forced into a reshuffle when Richie Hutton limped off to be replaced by Laurie Devine and the youngster was quickly into the action when setting up Dominic Kane for a pop at goal that flew narrowly past the left hand upright. From a quickly taken throw-in McCrory Irving was next to try his luck for the Cuikie but Mitchell was alert enough to touch his shot past. Two minutes from the interval though and the hosts did pull themselves back level when, from the second of two successive Baptie corners, SOMERVILLE got across his man on the near post to flash a header inside the post that Mitchell just couldn’t quite get to.
Blackburn began the second half with the second of two enforced changes, Craig Young replacing the injured Devine and he helped set up the first chance of the half with a ball that put McQuillan in behind the Penicuik back line for a shot on the run that Swain seemed to push past the post, although the referee didn’t agree and awarded a disputed gaol kick. At the other end McCrory-Irving fired over the top from twenty yards and Somerville, in search of his hat trick, saw a half blocked effort held by Mitchell. However, it was the home ‘keeper who was to be severely tested and come up with the answers when, after substitute Take Hirooka had been fouled in the act of shooting, Young hammered a free-kick from twenty five yards that the big stopper somehow managed to claw away. From the resultant corner the ball wasn’t properly cleared but the almighty scramble that ensued couldn’t see a United player take advantage. With the game still very much in the balance Penicuik then came close themselves, Stewart executing a spectacular overhead kick that flew over the junction of right hand post and bar. However, the hosts next attack brought much greater reward when JONES broke through a challenge twenty yards from goal to half hit a shot that broke back to him off Michael Browne and when he took aim with his second attempt it fairly flew past the diving Mitchell and into the waiting net. Two minutes later Tansey almost added a fourth for his side but dragged his shot past. With six or so minutes remaining Blackburn almost dragged themselves back on terms when Young’s free-kick arrived in the box for James Mildren to connect with a diving header that Swain saved but couldn’t hold, although he was relieved that no one in United colours was on hand to tap the rebound in. Four minutes from time Penicuik put the outcome of the game beyond doubt when JONES controlled a throw-in on the edge of the penalty box before clipping a perfect right footer high past Mitchell who might just have got a fingertip to it but couldn’t quite keep out.
Blackburn United line-up: Mitchell, Welsh, Lawrie, Browne, Mildren, Kane, Hutton (L.Devine 27) (Young 46), MacLeod, McQuillan, Campbell (Hirooka 61), McDowall Subs (not used): S.Devine, Mackay, Trialist – Robertson, Clements
Penicuik Athletic line-up: Swain, O’Donnell, Baptie, Page, Connolly, Somerville, Williams, McCrory-Irving, Ponton, Stewart, Stevenson Subs: Watt, Young, Caddow, Jones, Watson, Tansey, Sampson
Referee: Mr. Alex Shepherd
Assistants: Mr. Blair White & Mr. Stuart Robertson