Broxburn Athletic 3 Blackburn United 0

Scottish Cup Preliminary Round – Saturday 27th August 2022

Broxburn Athletic                    3          Brass 18, Churchill 83, Binnie 87        

Blackburn United                    0

Report by Callum Cardon, West Lothian Courier

Broxburn Athletic seal Scottish Cup first round place after win over Blackburn United. A late double helped give the Brox a 3-0 win in the competition’s first West Lothian derby in nearly 100 years.

Broxburn Athletic claimed the West Lothian bragging rights and booked a Scottish Cup first round place in the process as they defeated Blackburn United 3-0 at Albyn Park.

A crowd of over 300 witnessed the first West Lothian derby in the competition since 1926 as the two sides battled it out in the Preliminary Round.

Gary Brass opened the scoring with a fine header on 18 minutes before an inspired display by United keeper Jakub Welna kept the visitors in the tie. He was unable to prevent a late double, though, as David Churchill’s sumptuous half-volley double Athletic’s lead eight minutes from time with Greg Binnie rounding off the scoring four minutes later.

The victory was certainly deserved but it could well have been a different story had Athletic keeper Josh Blair seen red for handling outside the box midway through the second half. The officials waved away Blackburn’s protests and that seemed to spark a change in momentum after the away side had threatened a leveller.

The contest started off slowly with Richie Hutton for United and Broxburn’s Ross Nimmo trying their luck from distance before the deadlock was broken.  Brass was able to leap the highest at the back post to thunder a header into the net from a Josh Jeffries whipped free-kick.

As was the case in the league game between the two sides earlier in the month, Athletic enjoyed much of the play in the first half with Craig Henderson and Jeffries in particular looking a threat every time they got the ball in space. Both players would go close to doubling the advantage with Welna denying the former twice while producing a terrific save to tip a Jeffries 25-yard effort over the bar.

In that league clash, United were a changed team after the break and came back to claim a draw and following a Welna save from a Ross Nimmo curling strike early in the second half, it seemed that may repeat itself as Blackburn enjoyed their best spell of the game.

Danny Campbell saw a deflected effort hit the side-netting while Daryl Meikle was denied by Blair before the contentious handball decision not given in United’s favour. From that passage of play, Campbell went close to levelling but saw his effort save.

Hutton was then agonisingly inches away from turning a Marcus Miller header that went back across goal into the net as United piled on the pressure with the game ticking into the final 20 minutes.

Having weathered that storm, Athletic grew back into the clash and were able to make the most of Blackburn flinging men forward. Binnie headed wide from close range before Welna produced an impressive diving save to deny Gordon Donaldson as he flicked a Nimmo free-kick towards goal.

The Brox finally gave themselves some breathing space when Churchill latched onto a Jordan Orru throw-in at the left-hand corner of the box and pinged an inch-perfect half-volley across goal and into the net after kissing the inside of the post.

Binnie wrapped up proceedings by slamming home from close range minutes later before Welna denied Liam Gray a fourth for Broxburn that would unquestionably have been harsh on the resilient visitors.

Broxburn Athletic: Josh Blair, Craig Newall, Gordon Donaldson, Daniel Nimmo, Ross Nimmo, Greg Binnie (Liam Gray 88), Jordan Orru, Gary Brass, Josh Jeffries (Bradley Donaldson 85), David Greenhill, Craig Henderson (David Churchill 76). Unused subs: Shaun Donoghue.

Blackburn United: Jakub Welna, James Mildren, Kyle McClung (Sam Thomas 85), John Binnie, Marcus Millar, Dominic Kane (Fraser Cormack 76), Calum Heath (Danny Campbell 46), Daryl Meikle, Laurie Devine, Scott Richards (Michael Gould 76), Richard Hutton (Craig Baillie 85). Unused subs: David Howe, Adam Forrest, Gavin King, Craig Saunders.

Referee: Ross Clark       Assistants: Ross Donaldson, Niamh Westwood