With a number of the squad unavailable Newburgh manager Scott Hudson selected two young trialists to take their places on the bench against West Calder. Ryan Hughes earned himself a place in the starting line up with Harris Lambert slotting back into the midfield.
West Calder have been a difficult team to break down this season having drawn 7 of their previous 12 league fixtures.
East Shore Park had seen a lot of rain over the previous few days and was wet and slippery and not really conducive to Newburgh’s normal slick passing game.
West Calder opened the scoring after only 4 minutes when a deft chip by Stanaird from 25 yards out caught the defence and ‘Burgh keeper Sutherland on their heels looping perfectly into the net.
Newburgh pressed for an equaliser and were putting a lot of pressure on the West Calder goal with Ryan Hughes pace causing the right back problems. A driving run from the Burgh striker resulted in a series of corners that resulted in the equalising goal. A front post flick lifted the ball over the defence to Scott Sutherland who made no mistake from 5 yards out powering a header into the open net to give the home side a deserved equalising goal with 24 minutes on the clock.
Newburgh could have taken the lead shortly after with the industrious Hughes picking the ball up again in a wide area to drive in on goal and smash a vicious left foot shot off the post, the ball broke to Robinson whose powerful strike from inside the box was well saved by Black in the West Calder goal.
Newburgh were in full flow as the half drew to an end with Sutherland, Lambert and Fraser all crafting individual chances none of which could be converted to give the ‘Burgh a lead at the break.
The second half was only 8 minutes old when the home side deservedly took a lead in the game and it was from a fantastic piece of team play. Sean MacBride intercepted a loose pass and moved the ball forward to Fraser Robinson who beat his man and slid and inch perfect pass up the right wing to Scott Sutherland who timed his run perfectly to get beyond the right back to the bye line. The ‘Burgh striker drove a perfect cross to his strike partner Ryan Hughes who side footed the ball past Black to give Newburgh a well-deserved lead.
Newburgh pressed on looking for a decisive third goal. The home side had the game by the scruff of the neck and were winning the fifty-fifty battles around the park. Kyle Fraser was withdrawn just after the hour with the fresh legs of Craig Robinson introducing a fresh impetus to the game as Newburgh pressed hard for a goal. Black in the West Calder goal was having a fine game and proved his worth several times keeping his side in the game.
With time running out Newburgh introduced triallists O’Rourke and Hastie with the tiring Sutherland and Hughes replaced.
As the game entered time added on West Calder forced a corner. Black came up from his goal and powered a strong header goalward that was cleared by Clark. The ball broke up the park and with Hastie and O’Rourke combined well almost putting the game out of reach but for a timely intervention by McLaren. The ball was pumped up the park once more as West Calder threw everything at Newburgh. Another corner was awarded as the clock ticked on with 4 minutes of time added on. The pressure paid off for the visitors. The corner was headed powerfully towards goal with Calum Sutherland pulling off a magnificent save pushing the ball on to his bar only for it to drop to McLaren who headed the ball into the net. As the re-start was taken the referee blew for time.
Scott Husdon spoke after the game “West Calder proved how difficult they are to beat, we needed a third goal as there is always the chance that they would nick an equaliser. Fair play to them they battled hard and didn’t give up. We will learn from this as a team. We had chances to put the game beyond them and but for some fantastic goalkeeping we would have taken all three points”.
Newburgh have a free week this Saturday with the game against Thornton Hibs cancelled as the Scottish Cup tie between Thornton and Renfrew takes precedence.