League: East of Scotland Premier League

Blackburn United vs Camelon Juniors

Blackburn United 1 (Mildren 19mins)
Camelon 1 (Boubekri 49mins)

United hosted top half of the table Camelon having already beaten them in the reverse fixture earlier in the season and came agonisingly close in the opening minutes when Danny Campbell made ground on the left and fired a delivery across the face of goal which found Stuart McLeod in glorious position only six yards out but he somehow managed to lift his effort over the crossbar. McLeod then worked his way in off the left hand side and onto a Richie Hutton pass but his angled shot was held at the second attempt by Shaw in the visiting goal. However, only two minutes later and Blackburn’s early pressure was eventually rewarded, Calum McDowall flighting in a corner from the left that arrived amongst a sea of bodies milling in and around the six yard area from where James MILDREN was able to turn it beyond a wrong footed Shaw to open the scoring. McKenzie then had a pop from distance for the Mariners that Craig Saunders held comfortably before Morrison hit a half volley from the right angle of the box that flew over. Right on half time United were forced into a change when Campbell hobbled off to be replaced by Laurie Devine, the youngster having scored twice the previous evening for the U20s in a Lowland League game at home to Bonnyrigg Rose that had had to be abandoned due to fog in the 70th minute.

Four minutes after the resumption Camelon were level when McKenzie strode in from the left to hit a shot goalwards that BOUBEKRI may just have got the merest of touches to as it sneaked past Saunders on the way into the bottom corner of his net. Three minutes later Donald Morrison hit the byeline and picked out his namesake David but his side footed effort was too high. United too then came close when a David Howe free-kick from around twenty yards out was pushed away from his goal by Shaw who was then quick from his line not once but twice in the space of ten minutes to thwart a darting Devine whose pace had beaten the visitors offside trap. Offside was to thwart John Drummond though when he thought he had given United the lead again after a piece of fine chest control and a neat finish had beaten Shaw only for the referee’s whistle to silence the celebrations. Ten minutes from time McKenzie tried one from all of twenty five yards but Saunders tipped the shot over for a fruitless corner to ensure that the spoils were shared on a bitterly cold day.

Blackburn United line-up: Saunders, Welsh, Lawrie, Mildren, Drummond, McLeod (McClung 85), McDowall, Kane, Campbell (L.Devine 44), Howe, Hutton. Subs: Gunn, Young, Mitchell, Clements

Camelon line-up: Shaw, Gillespie, B.Sneddon, Do.Morrison, Skinner, Kay, McMullan, Da.Morrison, A.Sneddon, Boubekri, McKenzie Subs: Daramola, Langton, Kane, McCroary, McKay

Referee: Mr. Iain Snedden
Assistants: Mr. Konrad Spalony & Mr. Callum Wallace

vs

Blackburn United vs Sauchie Juniors

Blackburn United 0
Sauchie 2 (Donaldson 28mins, Finlayson 53mins)
Match Abandoned – 61mins

A bitterly cold wind welcomed the players on an afternoon when all other Premier Division games had been postponed thanks to Storm Ellen and it was the visitors who settled earliest, Jordan Watson clearing a looping cross only as far as Sharp on the edge of the box but he sent his half volley narrowly over the top. Sixty seconds later Donaldson latched onto a loose ball eighteen yards out but his shot flew past the left hand upright. Just beyond the twenty minute mark United themselves then came agonisingly close to opening the scoring when Calum McDowall sent Danny Campbell clear on the right and when his cross arrived in the middle, Wright stooped to rattle his defensive header against his own post. Fortunately for the centre-half the ball cannoned straight back to his ‘keeper who flopped on it gratefully. Richie Hutton then tested Dolan with a pop from more than twenty yards that the Sauchie ‘keeper pushed past the post. From the resultant corner the ball was cleared to the edge of the area where Marc Smith was waiting but his shot sailed over. The opening goal, though, arrived at the other end four minutes later when Finlayson got free on the right to lift a ball into the box and although Michael Browne got his boot to it the ball came off his heel to spin awkwardly into the air and onto the back post where DONALSON was lurking to give Craig Saunders no chance with a half volley from no more than six yards. By now the snow was beginning to fall and as it increased in intensity players from both sides, as well as the match officials, seemed to be struggling to deal with what was becoming blizzard like conditions and Hutton required treatment after slipping and picking up an injury. Before the break Saunders went down to gather a routine effort that slipped from his grasp thanks to the snow but he was able to recover before Donaldson could take advantage and the last chance of the half came for Blackburn when Watson danced past several tackles before sliding a pass into McDowall but his shot cum cross took a deflection and went wide of goal.

In the swirling snow United officials cleared the lines at the interval to ensure the game could resume, although both the referee and his assistants had taken a long hard look at the deteriorating surface conditions during those fifteen minutes. The game, however, did restart and David Howe barrelled in off the right hand side to hit and effort at goal that Dolan was equal to, the ball spinning from his slippery grasp before he could claim it at the second attempt. For Sauchie, Comrie hit a terrific effort from distance that struck Saunders right hand post in forty nine minutes. By now, referee Mr. Lee had stopped play on a couple of occasions to speak with both captains and both managers and was clearly concerned with the danger being posed by the underfoot conditions, but play continued and from a corner-kick in fifty three minutes the visitors lead was doubled, FINLAYSON getting the freedom of the six yard area to head past Saunders. However, that was to be the last real action as the referee brought the captains together one last time just after Blackburn centre-half John Drummond had slipped and fell when losing his footing in pursuit of an overhit through ball and abandoned the game, a decision not entirely welcomed by the men from Sauchie but probably the correct one nonetheless.

Blackburn United line-up: Saunders, Watson, McClung (Lawrie 57), Browne, Drummond, Smith, McDowall, Kane, Campbell, Howe, Hutton Subs (not used): Queen, L.Devine, Mildren, Welsh, McLeod, Clements

Sauchie line-up: Dolan, Houston, Syme, Wright, Cross, Sharp, McCaughie, Comrie, Crawford, Donaldson, Finlayson Subs: Young, S.Dolan, Dawson, McTaggart, Bryson, Cummins, Cameron

Referee: Mr. Ryan Lee
Assistants: Mr. Andrew McGachan & Mr. Owen Roberts

vs

Newtongrange Star vs Blackburn United

vs

Dunbar United vs Blackburn United

Dunbar United 0
Blackburn United 0

After moving off the foot of the table with last week’s 1-0 victory over Penicuik Athletic, Blackburn travelled to the east coast knowing victory would haul them above their hosts and out of the relegation zone all together and on a bitterly cold afternoon and in the teeth of a developing gale both sides struggled to produce any sort of accomplished football, although Danny Campbell was perhaps a wee bit unlucky to see his glancing header from a Richie Hutton delivery sneak wide of the Dunbar goal inside the opening ten minutes. Four minutes later David Howe zipped in an effort from some twenty yards or more that took a nick off the toe of a defenders boot and that was just enough to see the ball fly over the top. At the other end Ballantyne’s half-hit shot was saved by Craig Saunders but when it fell for Tait his turn and hit wasn’t enough to get the ball past the big ‘keeper. The same two players were again denied by Saunders not too long thereafter, Tait hitting a shot that was saved as was Ballantyne’s follow-up. Before the interval a Justin Watson delivery from the Blackburn right found Campbell but his pop at goal was deflected past.

With the wind an ever present factor and the rain making frequent appearances too, the second period became a bit of a war of attrition with the hosts having the bulk of the play but with Blackburn perhaps looking just that little bit more threatening and when a long ball by Saunders allowed Campbell to head on and into the path of Hutton his lay-off to Calum McDowall was hit past the right hand post with the substitute not quite making the contact he would have hoped for. Just after the hour mark a spell of Blackburn pressure ended when the Seasiders broke quickly, McLaren getting in on the right but firing his shot too high before the same player had another opportunity seven minutes from time but found Saunders was comfortable enough in saving his effort.

Blackburn United line-up: Saunders, Welsh (McDowall 35), McClung, Browne, Drummond (Mildren 84), Smith, Hutton (Queen 60), Kane, Campbell, Howe, Watson Subs (not used): L.Devine, McIntosh, Gunn, Mitchell, Clements

Dunbar United line-up: Laing, McFarlane, Peden, Szemis, Harley, McTernan, Neave, S.Tait, McLaren, Handling, Ballantyne Subs: Cropley, McCraw, Ingram, K.Tait, Fiddler, Johnstone

Referee: Mr. Alex Shepherd
Assistants: Mr. Boise Allan & Mr. Warren Chadwick

vs

Blackburn United vs Penicuik Athletic

Blackburn United 1 (Campbell 41mins)
Penicuik Athletic 0

United were almost in trouble inside the opening minute when only a perfectly timed, last gasp tackle from John Drummond prevented Somerville from pulling the trigger in front of goal with only Craig Saunders to beat. At the other end, Kieran Welsh sent Danny Campbell in on the right but after he’d tricked his way past O’Donnell his drilled ball across the face of goal went begging. The visitors, too, saw a tempting ball into the six yard box find no takers when McCrory-Irving wriggled into space on the right before whipping in a delivery that came to naught. Just beyond the half-hour mark David Howe made some room to clip in a twenty yarder that Watt in the Cuikie goal held before, two minutes later, Penicuik also came close, O’Donnell pulling a ball back for Tansey whose shot flew across the face of goal and narrowly past. With just four minutes until the interval Blackburn then made the breakthrough, Saunders sending a long, penetrating ball forward from the edge of his box to release Danny CAMPBELL in behind Connolly and, as Watt advanced from his goal line, the striker coolly lifted the ball over the big ‘keepers head and into the waiting net.

Seven minutes after the resumption a deep free-kick found Young to head back across goal to Tansey but his header was brilliantly saved by Saunders before, moments later, Somerville’s cross from the right was again met by the head of Tansey but his effort this time was too high, as was Connolly’s header from Somerville’s knock-down just beyond the hour. Midway through the half and with the visitors piling forward O’Donnell hit a twenty-five yarder that Saunders saved before pouncing gratefully on the ball as it rolled loose. With Penicuik’s attempts at an equaliser becoming ever more desperate United were able to break quickly with ten minutes remaining but when Campbell intelligently held up play on the right of the area waiting for support his eventual lay-off was rattled against the base of the left hand upright by substitute Laurie Devine. Devine himself then showed wonderful skill on the break to set up Marc Smith with a cut-back that the youngster drilled goalwards only for it to be cleared off the line and bundled away, but only as far as Richie Hutton who had a pop at goal from the left angle of the area that was deflected past for a fruitless corner.

Blackburn United line-up: Saunders, Welsh, McClung, Browne, Drummond, Smith, Queen (L.Devine 62), Kane (McLeod 78), Campbell, Howe, Hutton Subs (not-used): Mildren, McIntosh, Gunn, Lawrie, Mitchell

Penicuik Athletic line-up: Watt, O’Donnell, Young, Page, Connolly, Jones, Somerville, Tansey, McCrory-Irving, Ponton, Forbes Subs: Baptie, Kateleza, Wilson, Devlin, Stevenson

Referee: Mr. Alastair Grieve
Assistants: Mr. Chris Ashley & Mr. Michael Harte

vs

Blackburn United vs Bo’ness United

Blackburn United 0
Bo’ness United 4 (Comrie 29mins, OG 41mins, Stevenson 57mins, Ritchie 65mins)

As the only team to have beaten the league leaders so far this season, Blackburn were looking to do the double over the men from Newtown Park but the early pressure was all the visitors with Ritchie going closest when his header forced Darren Mitchell into a routine save. However, before the half hour mark was reached the title favourites were in front when young Kyle McClung lost possession at a throw in and COMRIE took full advantage to clip a shot into the bottom right hand corner from the edge of the box. A sweeping left to right pass then set up Morgan for a half volley that rattled Mitchell’s left hand upright and the same player then directed another pop at goal just past the right hand post as the visitors continued to press. When the second Bo’ness goal did arrive it had a mighty touch of good fortune about it though, Jacobs delivering from the left and when Comrie’s mishit shot arrived in the six yard box it ricocheted against the unsuspecting Michael Browne and flew into his own net. Just before the break David Taylor found Calum McDowall who, in turn, fed the ball to Danny Campbell but his eventual shot was saved by Murphy in the BU’s goal.

Early in the second half Ross Campbell picked out Ritchie who lifted a shot goalwards that Mitchell did brilliantly to tip over the top but a little more than sixty seconds later the visitors moved three ahead, Comrie slipping in STEVENSON on the right to draw Mitchell and roll a shot behind him despite the ‘keeper getting the faintest of touches to it. Midway through the half a bullet header from RITCHIE at a Nimmo corner made it four for Bo’ness and with the game convincingly won and the tempo markedly disappearing the Newtown Park men ran the clock down in comfortable fashion to claim all three points.

Blackburn United line-up: Mitchell, Watson, McClung (Gunn 46), Mildren, Browne, Taylor, Queen (Welsh 77), Smith (Hutton 65), Campbell, Howe, McDowall Subs (not used): L.Devine, Anderson, McIntosh, Saunders

Bo’ness United line-up: Murphy, Jacobs, Macgregor, Hunter, Comrie, Morgan, Nimmo, Ritchie, Grant, Campbell, Stevenson Subs: Snowdon, Keast, Donnelly, Faulds, McKenzie, Anderson, Adamson

Referee: Mr. C.Newman
Assistants: Mr. A.Brown & Mr. C.Doyle

vs

Broxburn Athletic vs Blackburn United

Broxburn Athletic 3 (Kelly 30mins, Donaldson 39mins, Scott 61mins)
Blackburn United 1 (Howe 74mins)

Left-back Kyle McClung was the latest Livingston FC loanee to make his United debut and a couple of early tackles allowed him to settle comfortably enough as Blackburn made a bright start, although the hosts were the side to create the first real chance when Gibson’s near post header from a Ross cross was just too high. On nineteen minutes United had a loud and sustained penalty appeal turned down when Calum McDowall took advantage of some real hesitancy by Gibson on the edge of his own area to nick the ball away from him only for the big centre half to take a rash and clumsy kick at him as he attempted to remedy the situation. Somehow referee Mr. Snedden saw little wrong with the big No.4’s swinging boot and when the action switched to the other end Nimmo’s spin and hit from all of twenty two yards flew past the right hand post. However, just two minutes later Broxburn were ahead, a corner from the right only being half cleared for KELLY to seize on the opportunity and blast high past Mitchell from around fifteen yards. Things then went from bad to worse for Blackburn less than ten minutes later when Scott’s corner found DONALDSON inside the six yard box and he had the freedom to stoop and direct an unchallenged header past Mitchell.

United changed the injured Marc Smith for David Howe at the outset of the second half and managed to grab the momentum early, McDowall swinging in a delivery from the right that captain Michael Browne rose to get his head to only for it to slam against the face of the crossbar. Soon thereafter Broxburn too came close, Ross bursting through two challenges only to be checked by Marty Lawrie which was enough to help Mitchell block the resultant shot. However, two minutes later the home lead was doubled, Broxburn breaking quickly from a poorly executed Blackburn corner which allowed Nimmo to switch play quickly from right to left where SCOTT was on hand to thump a twenty yarder past Mitchell. Only the fingertips of Wallace then prevented United getting back into it quickly, the home ‘keeper diving to touch HOWE’S shot away after he had linked well with Richie Hutton and McClung. The young midfielder, though, did drag his side back into the match moments later when he took fellow substitute Stuart McLeod’s pass and curled a beauty past Wallace from the edge of the area. Indeed, just three minutes later Howe came close again but a similar effort from the right of the eighteen yard box was deflected past for a fruitless corner. David Taylor then headed a Justin Watson cross into the hands of Wallace as United continued to press but another goal wasn’t forthcoming, although Danny Campbell will feel he might have done better than volley over from good position in added time.

Blackburn United line-up: Mitchell, Mildren (McLeod 59), McClung, Lawrie, Browne, Smith (Howe 46), Hutton (Queen 69), Taylor, Campbell, Watson, McDowall Subs (not-used): Donnelly-Kay, Welsh, Gunn, Saunders

Broxburn Athletic line-up: Wallace, Grant, Donaldson, Gibson, Townsley, Grant, Nimmo, Scott, Kelly, Locke, Ross Subs: Beesley, Richards, Gillen, Linton, Hamilton, Donoghue

Referee: Mr. I.Snedden
Assistants: Mr. K.Spalony & Mr.R.Gordon

vs

Linlithgow Rose vs Blackburn United

Linlithgow Rose 4 (Hare 25mins, Allum 63mins, Ronald 73mins, Ro.Maclennan 77mins)
Blackburn United 1 (Hutton 88mins)

United gave a debut to young Livingston FC loanee John Queen but it was the hosts who had the better of the opening exchanges, Strickland seeing a shot from distance tipped past by Darren Mitchell before ex-Blackburn man Allison, also a debutant, headed Ronald’s corner just over the top. On the seventeen minute mark United too came close when home ‘keeper Wilson fumbled an overhit Danny Campbell cross and was lucky to see it only land on the roof of his net. Ruari Maclennan was the next Rose man to try his luck but when his effort emerged through a sea of legs Mitchell did well to react quickly and block. However, only a moment or so later Linlithgow took advantage of some poor defending to force their way in front, HARE pouncing on a weak Michael Browne clearance to break into the right of the area and drill a shot across the face of goal and in at the bottom left hand corner.

The second half sprung to life six minutes in when Campbell was desperately unlucky to see his twenty yarder clatter off the face of the crossbar after neat work between him and Calum McDowall had created the chance and the hosts almost took advantage of their good fortune moments later when David Taylor was caught out in the middle of the park to allow Maclennan a run and shot that Mitchell saved and when the ball broke back for Strickland Marty Lawrie was on hand to clear his follow-up effort off the line. However, just ten minutes more had passed before the Rose found the net again, a long ball forward finding ALLUM sprinting clear and he made no mistake in picking his spot behind Mitchell. Mitchell then held a Strickland pop from a Ronald pass before Blackburn coughed up cheap possession again and were punished once more, RONALD getting in on the left to beat Mitchell with a low effort. Three minutes later the difference was four when substitute Roddy MACLENNAN completed the scoring for the hosts after finding time and space to guide a shot home, although Blackburn did manage to finish the game strongly and were rewarded when Richie HUTTON made ground on the left in the final minute to draw Wilson from his line and slide the ball behind him from a tightening angle.

Blackburn United line-up: Mitchell, Mildren, Lawrie (Gunn 85), Taylor, Browne, Smith, McDowall, Watson, Campbell, Howe (Donnelly-Kay 74), Queen (Hutton 68) Subs (not-used): Young, McIntosh, Welsh, Saunders

Linlithgow Rose line-up: Wilson, Gray, Meikle, Allison, McGowan, Hare, Ronald, Ru.Maclennan, Strickland, Allum, Scullion Subs: Dar.Smith, McKinven, Ro.Maclennan, Thom, Hutchison, Slaven, Dan.Smith

Referee: Mr.S.Luke
Assistants: Mr. W.McAleese & Mr.J.Kelly

vs

Blackburn United vs Crossgates Primrose

Blackburn United 0
Crossgates Primrose 2 (Lawrie 31mins, Galloway 60mins)

Chances fell at both ends inside the first fifteen minutes when first Justin Watson’s half volley was safely gathered by the Crossgates keeper and then at the other end where Lawrie fizzed a twenty-five yard free-kick over Darren Mitchell’s bar. Just before the half hour mark Watson tried another pop at goal but his speculative effort from around twenty-five yards out was gathered by Mooney in the Primrose goal. However, within a minute the visitors were ahead, LAWRIE finding more accuracy with another free-kick, curling one around the defensive wall and in off the far post. Before the interval a Danny Campbell first time shot from a Marc Smith corner flew narrowly past.

Aitken opened the second period for Crossgates by collecting a pass on the right side of area and firing an angled shot just over before the same player created the opportunity to double the visitors lead, again collecting the ball wide on the right and clipping in a cross that fell kindly enough for GALLOWAY to pick his spot behind Mitchell easily enough. Seven minutes from time Aitken was once more the Primrose creative force but his cross from the right was fired over by the unmarked Lawrie.

Blackburn United line-up: Mitchell, Welsh (Young 72), Mildren, Taylor, Lawrie, Browne, Watson, McLeod (Donnelly-Kay 65), Campbell, Howe (L.Devine 75), Smith Subs (not-used): Gunn, McIntosh, Kane

Crossgates Primrose line-up: Mooney, Nutt, Wilkie, Deas, O’Neill, Moffat, Aitken, Forbes, Lawrie, Galloway, Cowie Subs: L.Sawers, R.Sawers, Brand, Gilmour

Referee: Mr. A.Grieve
Assistants: Mr. K.Gallacher & Mr. C.Doyle

vs