Blackburn United 2 (Lawrie 15mins & 52mins)
Broxburn Athletic 4 (Allum 27mins, Greenhill 38mins, Ross 48mins & 83mins)
The first local league derby of the Premier League season kicked-off in bright sunshine and it was the visitors who exerted some early pressure without unduly troubling Craig Saunders in the United goal while Andy McQuillan and Danny Campbell were beginning to look troublesome at the other end with more limited possession. With fifteen minutes on the clock and the play beginning to find itself more in the Broxburn half that the home one, United found the breakthrough when McQuillan controlled the ball with a wonderful first touch and slipped it to Campbell whose shot was blocked out as far as Richie Hutton whose subsequent run into the left of the box was brought to an end by a clumsy tackle. From the resultant penalty Marty LAWRIE slammed the ball home off the underside of the crossbar. Minutes later the Albyn Park men were almost level but, from Gillen’s cross Binnie’s point-blank header was quite brilliantly pushed onto the bar by Saunders. However, the equaliser was only delayed by another ten minutes and when Ross’s corner was won in the air by Wright all sorts of consternation in the heart of the Blackburn defence ended when ALLUM popped up to bundle the ball over the line. With United then forced into an early attacking change when Campbell went off injured, as the visitors had been defensively moments earlier when Harrison replaced Townsley, Broxburn took advantage when a Gillen cross from the right evaded everyone bar GREENHILL whose half-volley crept past Saunders despite the big ‘keeper almost stopping it with a strong hand. Right on forty five minutes McQuillan found himself clear on goal with only Wallace to beat but the visitors No.1 made himself big enough to block his shot before, a minute into added time, Dominic Kane hit a powerful half-volley that Wallace saved at full stretch.
Athletic were quickly out of the traps after the interval and eased further ahead when ROSS hit a cross in from wide on the right that perhaps caught on the wind but certainly deceived Saunders in the home goal, looping over his head and finding a spot in high in the net behind him. At the other end, Laurie Devine darted in off the right and weaved his way past several tackles on his way into the box only to be impeded as he lifted his parting shot over the top. After consulting with his assistant, referee Mr. MacLean pointed to the spot and LAWRIE converted another immaculate effort to reduce the leeway back to one. Ten minutes later it really could have been all-square again when Davide Howe and Richie Hutton linked for a cross to the back post where an unmarked McQuillan couldn’t quite get any contact on it with the goal gaping. Substitute Keiran Sweeney then got in on the right thanks to a Devine pass but Wallace held his shot. The visitors too were posing a threat and Tait was unlucky to see his curling effort whizz narrowly over. On the eighty minute mark Lennon Smith played a one-two with Howe to hit an effort just wide but it was at the other end that the sixth an final goal of a keenly contested derby arrived, Greenhill and Binnie linking to put ROSS through and he made no mistake, angling a cracker home from around twelve yards out on the right. With just four minutes remaining what had been a competitive but fair game boiled over when Donaldson went in wildly on Smith in front of the Blackburn dugout and when the youngster reacted furiously a melee of players had to be separated and when order had been restored both me were shown the red car, as was Townsley for racing from the Broxburn dugout to become involved. In the sixth minute of added time yet more controversy was visited on the afternoon when Ross went down on the edge of the box with what appeared to be little if any contact and the referee somehow contrived to flash a second yellow card at a mystified Lawrie despite his and others protestations including, it seemed, Ross himself.
Blackburn United line-up: Saunders, Sayers, Lawrie, Mildren (Browne 46), Millar, Kane (McClung 71), Devine (Smith 75), Howe, McQuillan (Ferris 71), Campbell (Sweeney 35), Hutton Subs (not used): Fleming, King
Dundonald Bluebell line-up: Wallace, Gillen, Donaldson, Wright, Townsley, Nicol, Newall, Greenhill, Allum, Binnie, Ross Subs: Harrison, Hutchison, Cowley, Barker, Tait, Ireland, Donoghue
Referee: Mr. Simon MacLean
Assistants: Mr. Cameron Doyle & Ms. Emmanuelle Hingant