Saturday 26th December 2020 – East of Scotland Premier League
Musselburgh Athletic 4 Blackburn United 2
C.Donaldson 44, Thomson 74, Campbell 15, MacLeod 90+3
Ballantyne 78, 90+1
Storm Bella arrived right on cue before kick-off, and it was Blackburn who won the toss and elected to play with the wind at their backs on a wet by playable Olivebank pitch.
With four minutes on the clock, Laurie Devine won the ball on the left and crossed into Danny Campbell but a defender nipped in before he could strike and knocked it out for a corner. From the corner Marc Smith has his shot blocked and cleared to safety. The opening goal came on the quarter hour mark when a loose ball from Brad Donaldson saw Danny Campbell nip in a head of John McManus and round keeper Paul Grant and fire the ball into the net.
It was Campbell again who produced the next chance as Blackburn took advantage of the wind, he pounced on another loose ball but this time his shot was gathered by Grant.
The lead should have been doubled on the 27 minute mark when Marty Lawrie slid in Devine on the left, he passed inside to Marley Redfern only eight yards out but he seemed to dither on the ball and Grant blocked his shot with his legs with the goal at Redfern’s mercy.
The first real chance for Burgh came on 35 minutes when Dean Ballantyne headed a Callum Donaldson cross wide, then at the other end, Marc Smith tried a shot from distance which slid past.
As time was running out in the first half, Burgh equalised when a Conor Thomson free-kick was well saved by Gavin King who pushed the low shot away but it was Calum Donaldson who was quickest to react to stab the loose ball into the net.
The teams swapped round with Blackburn now playing into the wind and rain, but four minutes after a restart there were claims for a penalty when Laurie Devine appeared to be barged over in the box but a corner was awarded, from the corner there were claims for a hand ball which were waved away.
Approaching the half hour mark a Nathan Evans effort flashed wide before Marc Smith again tried form distance, this time Grant easily gathered. Richie Hutton then fired in a cross cum shot from the right which Grant parried back out into the box but there was nobody there to pounce on the loose ball and it was cleared.
A second Burgh goal came out of nothing. A long Grant clearance eventually fell to Conor Thomson on the right edge of the area and he fired a curling shot past King into the far corner. Two quickly became three when after a Blackburn attack broke down the ball was launched upfield, Ballantyne was racing onto it and King appeared unsure whether to gather the ball on the edge of the box or clear it, he done neither and Ballantyne nipped in and rolled the ball into the net.
It was a fatal blow to a Blackburn side who had looked reasonably comfortable at 1-1. Into injury time and the lead was extended when an Evans angled shot was saved by King but the ball fell to Ballantyne who fired high into the net. Blackburn however hit back and grabbed a consolation when Stuart MacLeod stroked a free kick over the wall and over Grant high into the net, but it was too little too late.
A game which should have produced some much needed points ended in defeat.
Musselburgh Athletic: Paul Grant, Callum Donaldson, Jordan Orru, Jackie Myles (Liam Gregory 68), John McManus, Lloyd Fiddler (Liam Reid 37), Conor Thomson (Ethan Wynne 85), Bradley Whyte, Bradley Donaldson, Dean Ballantyne, Nathan Evans. Unused subs: Mathu King, Darren Downie, Ryan McGurk.
Blackburn United: Gavin King, Richard Hutton, Marty Lawrie, James Mildren, Michael Browne, Marc Smith (Jordan Devine 80), Danny Campbell (Stuart MacLeod 80), Justin Watson, Laurie Devine (Kyle McClung 85), Brian Ross (David Howe 73), Marley Redfern. Unused Subs: Craig Saunders.