League: East of Scotland Premier League

Newtongrange Star vs Blackburn United

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Sauchie Juniors vs Blackburn United

Sauchie 3 (Dolan 6mins, Turnbull 13mins, McCaughie 41mins)
Blackburn United 0

United travelled to a venue where they haven’t been particularly successful over the years and, due to injury and suspension, fielded two debutants in the shape of midfielder Justin Watson and full-back Alan Higgins, with attacking midfielder Nathan Donnelly-Kay making his first start of the season. Unsurprisingly, the unfamiliar line-up coughed up an opportunity to their hosts within sixty seconds when goalkeeper Jonny Clements had to be quick from his line to spread himself well and deny McCaughie. At the other end Dominic Kane was unfortunate to see his glancing header from a Calum McDowall corner cleared off the line by Turnbull. However, three minutes later Sauchie were in front, a long ball forward eventually finding DOLAN racing clear and he made no mistake in picking his spot behind Clements. Back came United though and clever footwork by David Taylor allowed him to pull a ball back into McDowall’s path but his curler was easily enough held by Young in the home goal. However, the Beechwood Park men were further in front only ninety seconds later when an innocuous looking free-kick was awarded some thirty yards from goal and when TURNBULL’S effort from the dead ball somehow found its way through the United wall Clements wasn’t able to prevent it finding the net. Three chances in quick succession then came and went for Blackburn when first Donnelly-Kay and David Howe linked for Danny Campbell to drag his shot past the post and then when Campbell and Donnelly-Kay swapped passes to set-up Howe for a pop at goal that Young saved before, from a McDowall corner, Watson was desperately unlucky to see his effort clip the left hand post. Clements then kept Sauchie from stretching their lead by blocking Dawson’s shot with his feet before, in an end to end first half, McDowall’s free-kick hit the top of the crossbar on its way over. Four minutes from the break though and the hosts did move three ahead, Dawson hitting the bye-line on the right and cutting the ball back for the unmarked McCAUGHIE to thump past Clements despite the ‘keeper getting fingertips to it.

The second period was devoid of clear cut chances by comparison to the first half, although quick feet from Howe helped set up Watson for a shot that was saved before Finlayson’s effort at the other end was blocked by Clements and McCaughie’s follow-up was cleared off the line by Higgins. With quarter on an hour remaining and the game limping towards a conclusion there was one last opportunity and it came the way of the hosts, substitute Mooney outstripping Martin Lawrie on the run but sending his shot past the left hand upright.

Blackburn United line-up: Clements, Higgins, Lawrie, Browne, Taylor, Kane, Donnelly-Kay (Smith 63), Watson, Campbell, Howe (L.Devine 73), McDowall (Welsh 89) Subs (not used): Young, McLeod, Mbewe

Sauchie line-up: Young, Houston, Turnbull, Wright, Tully, White, Dawson, Davidson, Dolan, Finlayson, McCaughie Subs: Magregor, Sharp, McKeown, McTaggart, Langton, Mooney, Cummings

Referee: Mr. Andrew Craven

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Blackburn United vs Newtongrange Star

Blackburn United 1 (Campbell 69mins, pen)
Newtongrange Star 4 (Paterson 20mins & 63mins, Thomson 54mins, Hume 81mins)

Despite the impressive 1-0 victory at league leaders Bo’ness United the previous week United went looking for their fourth win in five league games in front of their smallest competitive crowd of the season and in dull, dreich conditions that necessitated the Purdie Worldwide Community Stadium floodlights being on from the start James Mildren had to be alert to clear a dangerous delivery from Porteous in the opening few minutes. At the other end Blackburn then came mighty close to finding the net but when David Taylor brought Calum McDowall’s corner kick under control and clipped an outside of the right boot shot towards the top corner Cherrie was there to clear off his own line. However, three minutes later it was the visitors who were in front when a Nelson corner from the right was missed by United ‘keeper Darren Mitchell to leave PATERSON with a free header into an empty net. Dominic Kane almost responded quickly but his dipping half volley from distance was wide of the target before McDowall and Richie Hutton carved out a great chance for Danny Campbell but, after taking a touch to steady himself, the striker couldn’t squeeze the ball past Mack from plumb in front of goal. Seven minutes from the interval a raking move down the Blackburn right involving Campbell and Kane ended when McDowall darted into the box to get onto the latter’s cross but he couldn’t quite find the accuracy necessary to beat Mack.

Nine minutes into the second half calamity befell United when Marty Lawrie missed a tackle in midfield to expose the Blackburn right flank and then, when the backtracking Taylor took a tumble, Paterson took full advantage to cleverly advance on goal, draw Mitchell and roll a square ball into the path of the supporting THOMSON who stroked his shot into the waiting net. Thomson then had a pop from long range that Mitchell did brilliantly to tip onto his crossbar as the Star sensed frailty in the United rearguard and their sense was proven correct just minutes later when a terrific reverse pass released PATERSON on the right of the area and he clipped an effort across Mitchell and into the bottom left hand corner. With just over twenty minutes remaining Blackburn momentarily got back into the game when Hutton was fouled in the box for CAMPBELL to slam home the resultant penalty but despite McDowall coming close to reducing the arrears further with a free-kick that crept just over it was the New Victoria Park men who finished on the front foot, a Paterson half-volley landing on the roof of the net before, with just nine minutes left, HUME found himself free inside the six yard box to head a cross from the left behind a badly exposed Mitchell.

Blackburn United line-up: Mitchell, Welsh (Mbewe 71), Lawrie, Mildren, Taylor, Browne, McDowall, Young (Donnelly-Kay 59), Campbell, Kane, Hutton (Cowan 79) Subs (not used): Anderson, McIntosh, S.Devine, Morajda

Newtongrange Star line-up: Mack, Swaney, Christie, Cherrie, Nelson, Paterson, Porteous, Hume, Thomson, Reid, Jamieson Subs: Smith, McIntosh, Hastie, Tait, Bracks, Dyet, Gillon

Referee: Mr. George Calder
Assistants: Mr. Cameron Doyle & Mr. Jordan Kelly

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Bo’ness United vs Blackburn United

Bo’ness United 0
Blackburn United 1 (Campbell 8mins)

Blackburn made the relatively short trip to league leaders Bo’ness United for the first league clash between the sides for more than thirty years and were presented with a glorious early chance to open the scoring which Danny CAMPBELL duly took, capitalising on a misjudged pass back and a goalkeeper trying to play a bit of football outside his box to nick possession and advance into the right of the area before calmly slotting the ball into the bottom corner of the waiting net, despite the desperate attempts of Hunter to block his effort on the line. Spurred on by this unexpected set back, the Newtown Park men threatened an equaliser little more than ten minutes later when David Taylor didn’t get his header back to Jonny Clements quite right and the ‘keeper had to be swift of foot to reach the ball and scramble it clear into midfield and some thirty yards from his goal where Comrie was waiting to attempt a lob which drifted past the right hand post. On the half hour Keast was the next player to have a noteworthy attempt for the hosts but his pop from a tightening angle on the right of the box was well saved by the feet of Clements and a resolute Blackburn rear guard held out comfortably enough until the half time whistle.

Straight after the resumption Bo’ness were awarded a free-kick some twenty yards out that Comrie curled round the defensive wall but Clements was well positioned to hold it and when the same player clipped a cross in from the left moments later Marty Lawrie got enough on it with his head to prevent Ritchie having a simple tap in, the striker only able to sky his shot well over. Blackburn, too, were an attacking threat as the hour mark approached and when Calum McDowall took Lawrie’s throw-in on the left and whipped it onto the back post Richie Hutton was desperately unlucky to see his bullet header clawed away brilliantly by Murphy in the home goal. Bo’ness were becoming ever more frantic in their search for an equaliser though and Hunter headed a corner from the right over the top before John Drummond half cleared a teasing delivery into the box meaning Clements had to be smart to save Henderson’s follow-up shot. At the other end Hutton’s pace took him momentarily clear but his run was brought to an abrupt end by a foul that resulted in a free-kick that Craig Young got past the wall but straight into the hands of Murphy. The hosts then had a free-kick of their own, an indirect award inside the penalty area that they couldn’t get through a defiant Blackburn wall. In another quick break to the other end Campbell and McDowall linked for the latter to pull the ball back to young substitute David Howe but he fired his effort over the bar from just inside the area when a little more composure might just have increased the Blackburn lead. With nine minutes remaining Bo’ness were presented with the perfect opportunity to pull the scores level when Ritchie was bundled over inside the box amidst a blur of legs but the resultant penalty award was cracked against the right hand post by Stevenson before being launched clear. In time added on and in another lightening break Blackburn substitute Laurie Devine was put through on goal but couldn’t squeeze his shot past Murphy and moments later referee Mr. Jordan Curran blew the whistle on what was the hosts first league defeat of the season.

Blackburn United line-up: Clements, Mildren, Lawrie, Drummond, Taylor, Kane (Young 57), McDowall, Browne, Campbell (L.Devine 89), McLeod (Howe 51), Hutton Subs (not-used): Thomas, Mbewe, S.Devine, Mitchell

Bo’ness United: Murphy, Jacobs, Hunter, Comrie, Keast, Gemmell, Ritchie, Grant, R.Campbell, Stevenson, McKenzie Subs: Syme, Snowdon, Morgan, Henderson, Adamson

Referee: Mr. Jordan Curran
Assistants: Mr. William McAleese & Mr. Ken Boyd

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