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.
Tuesday 13th October 2020 – East of Scotland Premier League
Blackburn United 1 Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale 4
McLeod 27 Cummings 48, Cunningham 66, Browne OG 74, Wringe 83
Our first ever competitive match with out visitors from the west side of Edinburgh, and with four changes to the starting XI, it started off at a frantic pace with the ball moving quickly from end to end. The first real chance arrived after eight minutes when Stuart McLeod slung in a corner which Michael Browne met but his header was deflected wide for another corner which came to nothing. It was McLeod again shortly afterwards who combined well with Kriss Goss before the latter let off a shot which was comfortably gathered by Dean Beveridge in the Thistle goal.
Thistle showed for the first time on the 11 minute mark when an effort by Liam Kelly was gathered by Craig Saunders. Sean Cumming then tested Saunders from inside the box but his effort was turned away well by the keeper before an offside flag was raised.
Play was still raging from end to end and the opening goal eventually arrived on 27 minutes when a poor clearance by Beveridge was pounced on by Goss who took the ball wide around the keeper and it looked as though the change was lost, but he kept his composure under increasing pressure from defenders and played the ball across goal for McLeod to stab home at the far post.
On the 34 minute mark, Blackburn almost went two ahead when Goss fired in a free kick around the wall which rattled off the crossbar and behind for a goal kick. A minute later Swanson and Goss combined only for Swanson to drag his shot wide. McLeod then have another opportunity on the left to increase the lead but shot into the side netting. The final real chance of the half saw a ball over the top of the defence fall to Dylan Moore but he pulled his shot wide from a tight angle.
The second half begun and it was the visitors who grabbed hold of the game right from the start. A cross into the Blackburn area fell to Michael Deland and his shot was brilliantly clawed away by Saunders and cleared. However moments later Sean Wringe found space on the right, crossed into Sean Cumming who couldn’t miss from close range.
Thistle were dominating possession and it came as no surprise they took the lead on 66 minutes when Alex Cunningham evaded several tackles through the middle of defence and slotted the ball past Saunders. Blackburn’s first real chance of the half came on 70 minutes when a McLeod cross was met by Goss but his header was held by Beveridge.
The killer third came on 74 minutes when an angled shot across Saunders deflected off Browne and into the net. A fourth was added on 83 minutes when a long clearance from Beveridge found Wringe who held off Watson and headed the bouncing ball over the advancing Saunders and into the net. There was time for Laurie Devine to have a final effort by Beveridge held his shot.
Another game that started well and could have seen a greater lead at half time, but which completely fell apart in the second period.
Blackburn Utd: Craig Saunders, Justin Watson, Reece Boyle (Laurie Devine 70), Michael Browne, James Mildren, Dominic Kane, Kieran Swanson, Stuart McLeod, Kriss Goss, David Howe, Richard Hutton (Alexander 80) Unused subs: McLung, J.Devine, Gavin King.
LTHV: Dean Beveridge, Dylan Moore (Scott Donald 76), Michael Deland, Sean Lally, Alex Cunningham, Sean Cumming (Louis Signorini 76), Darren Smith, Sean Wringe, Liam Kelly (David Ross 65), Niall Doherty, Thomas Penker (Iain Laver 45). Unused subs: Paul Craford, Neil Smeaton, Jamie Henderson.
Saturday 10th October 2020 – East of Scotland Premier League
Blackburn United 0 Jeanfield Swifts 6
McLeish 32, 52, 53p Dodd 23, 31
A sunny day greeted the delayed start to the new season, which sadly (or perhaps luckily) was played behind closed doors due to continuing Government restrictions.
Blackburn started on the front foot and pinned the visitors back and Darren Dalrymple sliced a good opportunity past in only the second minute, a minute later Marley Redfern cut in from the right before shooting over from the edge of the area. On 17 minutes the opener should have came for the home side, a run down the right wing by Kieran Swanson saw him swing in a cross that found Jason Watson, returning on loan from Livingston, unmarked at the back post but he volleyed over with the net gaping.
The first real threat from Jeanfield came five minutes later when Saunders dealt comfortably with a shot from Connor McLaren, but as so often happens the visitors took the lead a minute later against the run of play when a long ball out of defence found Chris Dodd in the clear and he finished well past Saunders. Blackburn forced a number of corners which came to nothing before the game turned on its head.
On the half hour mark a quickly taken free-kick saw No.11 shoot over from the edge of the area but the second came soon after. Dodd took a corner short to Chris McLeish, who then played it back to Dodd who had outwitted McLeod and he curled a shot into the far corner of Saunders net from a tight angle. No more than a minute later McLeish got on the end of a cross into the box and glanced a header past Saunders to make it three and the momentum has swung.
At half time Ritchie Hutton replaced to struggling Dalrymple but it made little difference as seven minutes after the restart and audacious lob from sub Paul Simpson from distance rattled off the bar and bounced out to McLeish who had the easiest task of rolling the ball into the empty net and any thought of a comeback had gone. A minute later saw a rash challenge inside the box and McLeish completed his hattrick from the spot.
The scoring was completed on 77 minutes when Mark Smith was unmarked from a corner to head home. There was even time for Blackburn to miss a penalty awarded for handball with seven minutes later, but Mark Mitchell got down well to turn away David Taylors spot kick.
A game that started so promisingly had turned alarmingly into a heavy home defeat against a slick Swifts outfit who will be a force this season. Tuesday’s game against Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale can’t come quick enough.
Blackburn Utd: Craig Saunders, Kieran Swanson (Lewis Alexander 63), Reece Boyle, John Drummond, Michael Browne, Stuart McLeod (David Taylor 69), Marley Redfern (Jordan Devine 63), Dominic Kane, Laurie Devine (David Howe 63), Justin Watson, Darren Dalrymple (Richard Hutton 46). Unused subs: James Mildren, Gavin King.
Jeanfield Swifts: Mark Mitchell, Jamie Reid, Aaron Whitehead, Jake Dolzanski, Connor McLaren (Paul Simpson 46), Fraser Smith, Chris McLeish (Mark Smith 58), Gary Fergus (Jamie MacKenzie 57), Chris Dodd (Regan McLaren 58), Chris Scott, Scott Smith (Kieran Stewart 74). Unused subs: Fraser Cumming.