Newburgh faced their first trip south of the River Forth on Saturday in the East of Scotland cup round 2 to play Harthill Royal. Kyle Meaney and Sean MacBride returned to the squad alongside new signing Lee White, however several players were still unavailable for a variety of reasons.
Harthill started the game well with their experienced midfield imposing themselves on the game making Newburgh work hard to keep them at bay. Newburgh’s wide forwards, Hughes and Robinson were forced back to defend isolating White up front. When the ball did break to the ‘Burgh forward he struggled to make any impression on the game as he was surrounded by the home defence.
Newburgh gave away a cheap free kick 20 yards from goal on the left on the 12th minute. The floated cross was met at the back post by Gardner who headed the ball back across the face of the goal to Johnstone who passed the ball past Sutherland to give the home side a deserved lead.
Hart hill doubled their lead on the 20th minute. A corner was driven across the box which was dealt with by Hall who headed the ball clear. Harthill’s Steven Weir was just outside the box and picked up the ball with a superb first touch, allowing him space to rifle a shot low into the corner of the net giving Sutherland no chance.
Newburgh managed to get a hold of the game with Wright and Lambert imposing themselves on the game in the middle of the park. Robinson’s pace on the right was causing the home defence problems and with Hughes and White playing closer to each other the end of the first half was a far more positive affair for Newburgh.
Half time came a bad time for Newburgh as they were looking the more likely side to score the next goal. The half time team talk re-enforced this as Newburgh came out in the 2nd period looking like a different team to the one that started the first half.
Within minutes of the restart Craig Robinson broke down the left and latched on to a perfectly weighted pass from Wright. Robinsons pace got him goal side of McCulloch inside the 18 yard box and in on goal. Just as the Burgh wide man unleashed his shot the ball bobbled terribly and his attempt flew wide of the goal.
Newburgh’s pressure paid off on the 53rd minute with a goal from Lambert who had broken forward from midfield, a nice one two with White allowed Lambert to pick his spot and slot a right foot shot under Grier in the Harthill goal.
The goal rocked the home side and Newburgh’s pace continued to give them problems. Pressing the game higher up the park forced the home side to bypass their midfield and Newburgh’s defence marshalled by Clark was able to deal with their threat up front. The game ebbed and flowed with both sides creating chances. The best of the home sides came from set pieces where Newburgh’s threat continued to be the pace of their attack that.
With 10 minutes remaining Hudson swapped MacBride for Meaney changing formation in an effort to find the equalising goal and take the game to penalties. Harthill dug in and their experience showed as they played out the remainder of the game at their pace giving Newburgh little chance of grabbing the equaliser.
Manager Hudson was disappointed to have been knocked out of the cup but took some positives from the game. “We would obviously have liked to have progressed further than this in the competition but it just wasn’t to be this afternoon. Harthill’s start won them the game and their experience allowed them to hold us out as we pushed for the equaliser. I am happy that we managed to recover so well from the poor start, we were the better team in the second half as they tired and we were able to maintain the intensity on the park”.
It is back to league business this weekend as Newburgh travel over the Forth again to face current league leaders Pumpherston.
|September 1, 2018||2:30 pm||East Region Cup||2018 - 19|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|