Too big a hill to climb

Saturday 17th October 2020  –   East of Scotland Premier League

Hill of Beath Hawthorn                 2             Blackburn United                        1

Kirby 15, Kellichan 35p                                OG 54

With Marty Lawrie re-signing and the return of Kyle McLung to the club, the backline was once again re-shuffled to stem the leak of goals.

Blackburn carved out the first chance of the game after 8 minutes when Stuart McLeod robbed Russell Grierson on the left and bore down on goal by Stuart Hall blocked the resulting shot. Moments later and a lonf ball out from the back deceived Browne and Lawrie  and fell to Joe Kinninmonth but Craig Saunders pulled off an excellent block to deny the midfielder.

On the quarter hour mark a loose ball from Laurie Devine saw Ryan Connelly played in on the left wing near the bye line, he squared to Daniel Watt who in turn flicked the ball along the six yard box to the waiting Joseph Kirby who slammed the ball home from close range.  Jake Mitchell then had a chance to double the lead from a Lyle Kellichan corner but he headed over. Approaching the half hour mark there was a little relief for the visitors when Laurie Devine found himself clear on the right, and he fired in a low cross to the back post to the unmarked McLeod who was inches away from connecting for a certain equaliser.

Play moved up the other end and Scott Gibson let go with a 25 yard piledriver which Saunders got down brilliantly to turn round the post.  However the second came on 35 minuyes after a rash challenge by Kyle McLung saw a penalty awarded which Kellichan converted.  There was still time for chances for Blackburn before the half ended when, after a Kane shot was blocked from a corner, Mildren turned and let fly from the edge of the area which drifter just wide.  This was quickly followed by Devine doing well on the right and crossing onto the box for Watson to tamely shoot at Hall who gathered.

Again it was Blackburn to show on the resumption when a McLeod turn and shot was tipped over the bar by Hall, from the resulting corner Browne headed over from close range. Up the other end, Kinninmonth dragged a shot wide.  On 54 minutes Blackburn got one back rather fortuitously when Goss flicked on from a long clearance only for, I think, Russell Grierson to take a wild sliced swipe at it from all off 15 yards and deceive Hall.

Just after the hour mark Lewis Alexander replaced Richie Hutton and almost immediately he had a go from 25 yards which Hall gathered, up the other end another sub Calum Adamson got on the end of a pass from Kirby but Saunders turned his shot behind. Play was moving back and forth and Goss then almost countered with a turn and shot which flew over.

With 13 minutes left it was Adamson again with a chance to seal the game but Saunders gathered the attempt, Gibson then had a header which the visiting keeper comfortable held.  Blackburn went looking for an equaliser with 5 minutes remaining, first a Goss free-kick was tipped over by Hall, then Jordan Devine got on the end of a Swanson pass only to shoot over. In the last minute David Howe got on the end of a clearance from a corner and his pile driver was brilliantly tipped over by Hall.  Hill of Beath saw out time up the other end to claim all three points.

Hill of Beath: Stuart Hall, Russell Grierson, Lyle Kellichan, Jake Mitchell, Michael Watt, Shaun Leishman, Joe Kinninmonth (Brandon Luke 62), Scott Gibson, Daniel Watt, Joseph Kirby, Ryan Connelly (Calum Adamson 62).  Unused subs: Rory Marshall, Rory Harrower, Kearyn Hicks, Jason Finlay, Declan Morgan.

Blackburn United: Craig Saunders, James Mildren, Kyle McLung (Reece Boyle 81), Martin Lawrie, Michael Browne, Domini Kane, Laurie Devine (Kieran Swanson 81), Justin Watson (David Howe 74), Kriss Goss, Stuart McLeod (Jordan Devine 81), Richard Hutton (Lewis Alexander 62).  Unused subs: Finlay Anderson, Gavin King.