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.
Saturday 19th December 2020 – East of Scotland Premier League
Tranent Juniors 3 Blackburn United 1
Lander 33, Paterson 70, Thomson 72 Watson 49
Blackburn travelled to unbeaten league leaders Tranent looking to cause an upset and put some much needed points on the board. Tranent however, had other ideas and right from the start pushed Blackburn back. Ricky Miller, once a Burnie player a long time ago, headed over in the opening minutes from a corner and then Dean Whitson let fly from distance which was beaten away by Gavin King.
Blackburn found it difficult to get a foot hold in the game and attacks were few and far between. On 24 minutes Adam Watson crossed to Kyle Lander but his header rebounded off the bar. A few minutes later there was a bit of a stramash in the box when a Whitson effort from a corner was cleared off the line, a second attempt was blocked by King and third attempt was deflected wide as Blackburn defended desperately. King then held a Kayne Paterson effort before inevitable to opener came on 33 minutes, when a cross by Adam Watson was knocked goalwards by Rhys Craigie, but took a deflection into the path of Kyle Lander who rolled the ball into the net.
Blackburn started to edge their way into the game but Dominic Kane limped off just before the half time whistle brought an end to a torrid first half.
The second half got underway with Blackburn looking to create more problems for Tranent and they did that with only four minutes gone. Marley Redfern was sent clear on the left, he cut inside into the box where he was brought down by Ricky Miller and the referee quickly pointed to the spot. Justin Watson stepped up to level the scores.
On the hour mark Blackburn should have taken the lead, a Hutton long ball was flicked on by Brian Ross which sent Laurie Devine clear, however Alasdair Adams done well to block his attempt and also gathered Ross’s follow up. Five minutes later an almost identical chance was again created, Laurie Devine again finding himself free behind the Tranent rear guard after running onto a Redfern through ball however the ball seemed to get caught under his feet after he rounded Adams, he laid the ball back to Watson but his first time shot was beaten away by Adams.
Those missed chances were punished on 70 minutes when a cross into the box seemed to take a slight deflection which deceived Drummond and fell into the path of Paterson who tapped it home from close range with their first real chance of the second half, then two minutes later Steven Thomson on the right combined with Watson inside the box before firing a shot goalwards which Drummond half blocked which sent the ball towards the far corner of King’s net.
Tranent then had time to miss a penalty with nine minutes remaining when Paterson’s spot kick was well saved by King, after Drummond had bundled over Moffat.
Tranent: Alasdair Adams, Ciaran McKenzie (Lewis Hawkins 72), Aaran Ponton, Richard Miller, Dean Whitson, Steven Thomson, Adam Watson, Sean Murphy, Kayne Paterson, Rhys Craigie, Kyle Lander (Owen Renton 80). Unused subs: Jack Chesser, Gary Hamilton, Ben Reilly, Ian Moffat.
Blackburn United: Gavin King, Richard Hutton, Kyle McClung, James Mildren, John Drummond, Michael Browne, Dominic Kane (Brian Ross 44), Justin Watson (Paddy Queen 80), Laurie Devine, Danny Campbell, Marley Redfern. Unused subs: Marc Smith, David Howe, Jordan Devine, Craig Saunders.
Saturday 12th December 2020 – Scottish Cup Second Preliminary Round
Blackburn United 1 Civil Service Strollers 1 (AET, CSS won 4-2 pens)
Redfern 44 Moffat 53
A piece of history was made at the Purdie Worldwide Community Stadium as it hosted the first ever Scottish Cup tie in Blackburn, with the winners moving into the First Round draw to be played on Boxing Day. Last seasons debut in the competition away to Hill of Beath resulted in captain Michael Browne being sent off, meaning he was unavailable for todays game.
The first chance of the match came on ten minutes when from a throw in, Dominico Gibson ran onto the ball but John Drummond blocked his effort in the act of shooting and the ball went out for a fruitless corner. The same player again tried his luck a few minutes later but dragged his shot wide. On twenty minutes Blackburn carved out their first chance when Richie Hutton directed a throw-in on the right to Danny Campbell inside the box, his effort from a tight angle was held by Lewis Budinauckas the young on-loan Rangers keeper.
Just past the half hour, Marley Redfern sent in a cross towards the near post looking for Laurie Devine, however the covering defender just got his head to it to send it out for a corner. Jordan Hopkinson then tried his luck at the other end but flashed his shot wide.
With time running out in the first half, a moment of brilliance lit-up the game. Marley Redfern collected the ball inside his own half on the left, before going on a run past several defenders before cutting inside and unleashing an unstoppable shot past Budinauckas into the roof of the net. A moment of brilliance from the on-loan Hamilton Accies youngster to send Blackburn in at the break.
Strollers made a change at half time looking to get back into the game and with eight minutes gone they done just that. A free-kick on the left into the near post was met by Jonathan Moffat to bullet a header past King into the bottom corner of the net to draw the sides level.
After that bright start from the visitors the game became cagey, with neither side wanting to lose what could provide to be a decisive second goal. On 69 minutes Connor Young flashed a shot wide, then a few minutes later Laurie Devine went down in the Strollers box but was shown the yellow card instead of a penalty by referee MacDonald.
With ten minutes remaining it was Young again who had an effort for the visitors, this time well saved by King, then Marley Redfern slid a ball into Laurie Devine whose curling shot crept past the far post.
The game moved into extra-time, with few incidents of note. A Connor Young effort drifted past and then strong penalty claims from Blackburn were waved away after Jordan Devine appeared to be bundled over in the box. With time running out a Jordan Devine header from a Redfern cross went over the bar.
The game therefore needed to be settled on the lottery of penalty kicks, Martin Lawrie converted the first, but Brian Ross sent his effort over the bar and then David Howe’s effort was saved. Despite Laurie Devine converting his kick it was left to Dominico Gibson to covert Strollers fourth penalty to win the tie and progress to the first round.
Blackburn United: Gavin King, Richard Hutton, Martin Lawrie, John Drummond, James Mildren ©, Stuart MacLeod (Jordan Devine 101), Danny Campbell (David Howe 85), Marc Smith (Dominic Kane 68), Laurie Devine, Brian Ross, Marley Redfern. Unused subs: Matthew Kinross, Justin Watson, Paddy Queen, Craig Saunders.
Civil Service Strollers: Lewis Budinauckas, Kyle Fee, Euan Bauld, Jonathan Moffat (Ross Guthrie 104), Matthew Cunningham (David Churchill 104), Mark McConnell, Alieu Faye, Jordan Hopkinson (Connor Young 62), Matthew Shaw (Andrew Johnston 46), Craig Newall, Dominico Gibson. Unused subs: Ross Young, Lewis Duffy, Fraser Napier.