Gowfers are top in basement battle

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Armadale Thistle 1,

Carnoustie Panmure 2

Last Saturday, Carnoustie Panmure, were back on the road, heading this time for Volunteer Park, and a meeting with fellow strugglers Armadale Thistle, in the McBookie.com East Superleague.

Not for the first time this season, manager Alan McSkimming found himself without several key players, with Luke McGeehan back home on Easter leave, as was Daniel Neath, while Cammie Robertson and Kev Cumming were also unavailable.

At first it was thought that spare keeper, Chris Macpherson would also be absent, but despite travelling home overnight from France, and not exactly feeling at his best, he agreed to go on the bench, where he was joined by Mike McIlravey, Ryan Roche and Josh Allardyce, the other spare keeper.

For most of the first half, play took place in mid-field with both defences stifling out each other’s forwards and real chances were few and far between, although the Gowfers did have what was the best chance, after some 30 minutes, when Simpson fed the ball through to Buggins, but he put his shot narrowly over the top.

Five minutes later Simpson was again the provider, with a good ball through to Millar, but he pulled his shot and the ball went just wide of Swinbourne’s left-hand post. Right on the whistle, the Gowfers produced what was, until then, the best move of the match, which involved Cook, Simpson, Black and Scott, who played the ball through to Smith, but this was brought to a halt, with the raising of the linesman’s flag, signalling offside.

Half-time: Armadale Thistle 0, Carnoustie Panmure 0.

During the second half, the Gowfers, with the wind at their backs, were well on top, but just couldn’t break through the resolute Armadale defence. In 67 minutes, the Gowfers were forced to make their first change after Ferrie suffered a pulled hamstring and Macpherson had to go on in his place.

Three minutes later, Bews fed a great ball through to Robertson, but much to the Gowfers’ annoyance this was flagged offside, despite at least two of the Thistle players clearly playing him on.

In 75 minutes Bews left the pitch and was replaced by McIlravey, who began to have an immediate effect, with several penetrating runs at the homesters’ defence.

Five minutes later, the Gowfers went very close to opening their account, after Cook played a long ball, over the Thistle defence, to McIlravey, who took it forward then drilled in a low shot, but Swinbourne got down to make a great save and keep the tie goal less.

In 86 minutes, the Gowfers did, at last, make the breakthrough, after a great run down the left, by McIlravey, who took the ball to the byeline, then cut it back to SCOTT, who slammed it home, giving the keeper no chance. In football, it is often said, that you are at your most vulnerable just after you’ve scored and so it proved in this game, as, right from the restart, play surged into the Gowfers’ box and the homesters won a corner. When the ball came over there was a bit of a scramble in the goalmouth before the ball was cleared away, but amazingly the home side were awarded a free-kick just outside the box. Thomson took the kick and picked out FEENEY, who levelled the tie with a great finish.

A minute later the Gowfers made a second change, with Roche replacing Bews. With 90 minutes showing on the watch, the Gowfers took a well deserved lead after a Simpson corner, from out on the left, found MILLAR, who rose to bullet an unstoppable header, past the despairing Swinbourne, into the corner of the net. Play continued after the restart and there were fully six minutes of stoppage time played before the referee at last brought the tie to a close and so signalled a very valuable win and three points to the Gowfers.

Teams:

Carnoustie Panmure – Ferrie, Cook, Black, Buggins, Millar, Roberts, Robertson, Bews, Scott, Simpson, Smith. Substitutes – McIlravey, Roche, Macpherson (GK), Allardyce (GK).Placings

McBookie.com East Superleague

Fixture

Tomorrow (Saturday), after last week’s successful trip to Armadale, the Gowfers are back on home turf, opening the gates this time to last season’s Champions, Bo’ness United, for a game in the McBookie.com East Superleague.

The West Lothian Side are again going very well and currently lie on the third rung of the league ladder, with 12 wins, four draws and just three defeats in their 19 games played, having scored 39 goals and conceding 14 in the process. When the sides met back on January 31, the Midlothians side won 1-0 and, given last week’s great result at Armadale, Alan McSkimming’s men will be looking to gain revenge for that narrow defeat. Action at Laing Park tomorrow gets underway at 2.30 p.m.

First midweek fixture

Tuesday April 21 sees the Gowfers involved in their first midweek fixture, when they play host to local rivals, and fellow basement battlers, Lochee United. With both sides being in the bottom three of the table, this is another of these “six pointers”, and the Gowfers will be hoping for a repeat of the scoreline when the pair met in the very first game of the season, which they won 2-1 at Thomson Park. Kick-off is scheduled for 6.45 p.m.

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