League: East of Scotland League Conference C

Edinburgh United vs Blackburn United

Edinburgh United 0

Blackburn United 5 (Downie 50mins, 63mins & 80mins, Drummond 55mins, Campbell 90+1mins)

Blackburn travelled to Paties Road knowing that a win would bring with it EoSFL Premier League football next season, while any other result would mean that Preston Athletic would claim the remaining Tier 6 spot for season 2019/20. The hosts had all but put to the sword the hopes of Heriot Watt the previous week in a surprise 3-0 victory and they were keen to show that result was no fluke when, in the opening quarter, they held sway both in terms of possession and territory, although the only worthy chance carved out came when Auriemma hit the left byeline and cut a ball back for Swanson who was ultimately denied a clean strike at goal by the intervention of John Drummond. McKinlay then burst clear heading towards the interval only for Darren Mitchell to rush from his goal line and block the forwards resulting toe poke of a shot before Blackburn eventually threatened, Michael Browne sending a pass in front of Danny Campbell wide on the right but his square ball was just behind the arriving Richie Hutton, although there were loud claims that he had been impeded in going for the ball.

Four minutes after the resumption the capital side almost squeezed in front but for a brilliant double save from Mitchell, first denying a twenty yarder from Auriemma at full stretch before somehow quickly scrambling back to his feet to bravely block Conlon’s follow-up from point blank range. This was to herald the turning point in the match and not much more than a minute later Blackburn had grabbed the all-important opening goal, Laurie Devine turning Watson first one way and then another before clipping a ball across the six yard box which Darren DOWNIE controlled expertly and lifted past Dowie into the waiting net. Within five minutes the single goal lead was duly doubled when DRUMMOND rose highest at the back post to head home a Craig Young delivery. Mitchell was then the hero at the other end again, tipping over a net-bound Swanson header and this was the platform for Blackburn to score once more and make the game, the three points and Tier 6 football safe when a deep Campbell corner was headed back across goal by Drummond for James Mildren to nod goalward and although his effort was scrambled off the line DOWNIE was perfectly placed to head it back past a jumble of bodies and into the net. Now looking capable of scoring in every venture forward, Blackburn added a fourth ten minutes from time when young substitute Take Hirooka rolled a perfectly weighted pass inside the right full-back for DOWNIE to latch onto and lash past Dowie and the scoring was complete a minute into added time when Downie was put through on goal yet again and when his shot was half blocked it fell to CAMPBELL to apply the finishing touch. At the final whistle the second half performance deservedly saw the Blackburn players applauded from the park by the travelling support who had made up the majority of the Paties Road crowd.

Blackburn United line-up: Mitchell, Mildren, Drummond, Lawrie, Williamson, Browne, Hutton (Trialist – Landels 84), Young, Downie, Campbell, Trialist – L.Devine (Trialist – Hirooka 65mins)  Subs (not used): M.Campbell, McDowall, Sinnet

Edinburgh United line-up: Dowie, Watson, S.Murray, Spalding, Guiney, Conlon, Swanson, J.Murray, Robertson, McKinlay, Auriemma  Subs: Swinney, Kerr, May, Maughan, Ritchie, Brockie, Hutchison

Referee: Mr. Iain Gallacher

Att: 70


Blackburn United vs Preston Athletic

Blackburn United 4 (Downie 2mins (pen), 5mins & 66mins, Browne 83mins)

Preston Athletic 1 (M.McFarlane 79mins)

With the visitors currently sitting in the box seat for a top 5 finish and a guaranteed position in the Tier 6 EoSFL Premier League next season this was a must win game for United and when Laurie Devine was dumped on the seat of his pants barely a minute in Darren DOWNIE netted from the resultant penalty for the perfect start. Matters were better still when DOWNIE then struck a half volley past the outstretched hands of Findlay in the Preston goal from twenty or more yards to double the Blackburn lead barely three minutes later. In front of a crowd of over 300, boosted considerably by a large contingent of groundhoppers, United came close to going further ahead through first John Drummond and then captain Michael Browne but the advantage remained at two before very nearly becoming one just before the interval when Marty Lawrie somehow managed to anticipate Weldon’s header beating Darren Mitchell in the home goal to get his own head to it and clear the ball off the goal line. Athletic’s Walker then saw his free-kick hit woodwork as the half came to an end.

With the Panners claiming lots of possession in the early stages of the second half, Blackburn continued to look solid at the back and the prolific DOWNIE was able to cause consternation for the Preston defence every time he was on the ball and it was he who was to find the net again, pouncing for his hat-trick when taking advantage of some chaotic defending in the visiting six yard box after a Devine shot to calmly stroke the ball behind Findlay. Substitute Jack hit the left hand upright for Preston as they hunted for a way back into the game but when a Mitchell mistake at a corner-kick presented McFARLANE with just such a way it proved to be no more than a consolation when United sealed an emphatic win four minutes later with an excellent fourth, Richie Hutton getting onto the end of a precise move to lift a cross into the centre of the box where Michael BROWNE was on hand to thump a header past the exposed Findlay. The win means United now need victory at Edinburgh United in the final game of the season while hoping that St Andrews United fail to beat Linlithgow Rose and that Heriot-Watt take no more than three points from their remaining games against Edinburgh United and Camelon. Should this happen Tier 6 football will be secured for another season.

Blackburn United line-up: Mitchell, Lawrie, Drummond, Mildren, Browne, McLeod (Campbell 59), Trialist – Murphy, Young, Downie, L.Devine (Herriot 66), Hutton  Subs (not used): S.Devine, Bonnar, Gowans, Sinnet, Ure

Preston Athletic line-up: Findlay, Austin, Innes, M.McFarlane, McCrorie, Turkington, Grotlin, Archibald, Weldon, Jardine, Walker  Subs: L.McFarlane, Jack, Ndiweni, Reid, Pennycuick

Referee: Mr. Simon MacLean

Assistants: Mr. Nelson Silva & Mr. Francisco Fardiha

Att: 328


Blackburn United vs Linlithgow Rose

East of Scotland Football League Conference C – Saturday 23rd March 2019

Blackburn United             0

Linlithgow Rose                7             Coyne 7 (pen), 53 & 66, MacLennan 24, Ronald 35 & 88, Strickland 63

With an outside chance of the Conference C title and a place in the East of Scotland Championship play-off should table toppers Broxburn Athletic slip-up, the Rose arrived at the Purdie Worldwide Community Stadium looking to make an instant impact and were presented with the perfect opportunity to do just that within seven minutes of the start, James Mildren heading clear a long MacKinnon ball into his box only to see it land at the feet of Roddy MacLennan and when he was sent tumbling on the very edge of the eighteen yard box referee Mr. Brown hesitated only slightly before pointing to the penalty spot. From the kick the prolific COYNE made no mistake in beating Ian Ure in the United goal. Encamped now in the Blackburn half the visitors doubled their lead on twenty four minutes when a right to left pass found Roddy MacLENNAN in space to unleash a twenty yarder on the angle  across Ure and into the waiting net.   After half an hour it was almost three, Coyne spinning into a yard of room on the right corner of the box to lift a delicate effort goalwards that landed on the roof of the net. However, four minutes later, RONALD showed his team mate how it was done when, from similar position, he found the top left hand corner. Before the interval Coyne and Ronald linked for the latter to hit another angled shot which Ure saved.

The Rose started the second period just as they had the first—with a penalty, but this time Ure was equal to Coyne’s spot-kick and saved well. Moments later United had their first real effort at the Linlithgow goal but from Ewan Herriot’s cross Michael Browne saw his header saved by McKinven. Three minutes later the Prestonfield men did move four ahead, Gray sending a long ball forward that Herriot and Ure seemed to leave to each other, allowing COYNE to stick a toe between them and redirect the ball into an empty net. From a Craig Young corner at the other end that was only half cleared Ross Williamson showed a piece of deft chest control but his consequent half volley flew over McKinven’s crossbar and moments later the visitors found the net again, Coyne enjoying a fair few yards of room on the back post to square across the face of goal where STRICKLAND had the simplest of tasks to roll home from no more than a couple of yards. Blackburn were, by now, chasing shadows and a sixth goal arrived on sixty six minutes, a looping MacKinnon ball being challenged for in the air by several players before dropping kindly for COYNE to hook home for his hat-trick. Two minutes from time, and shortly after Stuart McLeod had hit the side netting for United, the scoring was complete when RONALD added his sides seventh of the afternoon.

Blackburn United line-up: Ure, Herriot, Lawrie, Mildren, (S.Devine 69) Drummond, Browne, Williamson (Gowans 75), Young, Downie, McLeod, Hutton (Trialist—L.Devine 57)   Subs (not used): Bonnar, Sinnet

Linlithgow Rose line-up: McKinven, Gray, MacKinnon, Thom, McKinlay, Smith, Ronald, Ru.MacLennan, Strickland, Coyne, Ro.MacLennan   Subs: Sloan, Shields, MacKenzie, Turnbull, Marley

Referee: Mr. Stephen Brown

Assistants: Mr. Michael Harte & Mr. James Taylor

Attendance: 242