Newburgh 2 Harthill Royal 1
Newburgh faced Harthill Royal for the second time this season. The match the East Region Cup at Gibbshill Park resulted in a 2 – 1 win for Harthill in a closely fought encounter.
Newburgh’s record at home this season has been excellent winning all three home fixtures so this was sure to be a close game.
Newburgh signed 3 new players in the week. Jack Hutchinson was secured on a delayed transfer from Abernethy U19’s who are now based at East Shore Park. Johnny Milton and John Hardiker joined from Kingdom Athletic.
Scott Hudson was delighted to add to his squad which has been light in recent weeks. “I am pleased that the partnership with Abernethy U19’s is starting to work with Jack joining us. He is a confident player who will fit in well with our squad. Johnny is someone who has been on my radar for some time having had him recommended to me by a couple of contact so it is great that he has chosen to join us. John will add experience to the squad having played in the professional game for so long down in England”.
The start to the game was delayed by 15 minutes with the Harthill bus getting caught in traffic. When the game did start Newburgh burst into life immediately.
Some slick passing in midfield between Lambert and Hutchinson freed up Fraser Robinson on the wide left. Some nice combination play with Kyle Fraser allowed him a run at the defence, his speed got him beyond the defender to slip the ball across the box to his brother Craig who smashed a shot beyond the Harthill keeper giving Newburgh the lead with only 1 minute on the clock.
Newburgh were playing well creating chances at will in the opening exchanges. Harthill were struggling to retain possession and were not threatening the Newburgh goal. Kyle Fraser was making a nuisance of himself with his ball retention giving Newburgh a foot hold up front.
With 20 minutes played Newburgh were keeping up the pressure on the Harthill goal. A corner was defended by the visitors with the ball being cleared from the penalty area. The ball broke to Fraser Robinson 20 yards from goal. The ‘Burgh forward struck a shot perfectly that flew straight in to the top corner. A contender for goal of the season.
Newburgh were rampant and could have added to their goal tally before the half hour but for some resilient defending and good goalkeeping from the visitors.
The second half saw a different Harthill side as they tried to claw their way back into the game. The ‘Burgh defence was coping well Hall on the left and Johal on the right were tucked in supporting MacBride and Clark who were calmly dealing with anything that the visitors threw at them. Debutant Hutchison was having an excellent debut with Lambert and Smart linking up well with the youngster. Smart always managed to be in the right place at the right time stopping the Harthill midfield from creating any fluidity.
Newburgh introduced fresh legs with Sean MacBride replacing the tiring Hutchison in midfield on the 72st minute. The youngster left the park to a rousing round of applause from the ‘Burgh supporters. With the game entering the last 15 minutes Milton replaced Lambert in the midfield shortly after with the final change shortly after, Hardiker replacing Clark.
Harthill grabbed their goal with 4 minutes to play when a hopeful long ball was latched on to by Baillie who slid the ball past Sutherland.
Newburgh saw out the remaining minutes comfortably with no further threat from the visitors.
Manager Scott Hudson spoke after the game “I am pleased that we have managed to extend our winning run at home and now we must add to this with picking up points on our travels”. On his three debutants “Jack was superb he fitted in well to the midfield, Johnny and John both add strength and depth to the squad and I am really positive about the contribution that all three will make in the squad”.
Newburgh have a break from league business next weekend with a trip to Lochgelly in the Fife & Lothians cup on the cards. Kick off at Gardiners Park is at 2:30pm.