Newburgh returned to league action on Saturday welcoming Armadale Thistle to East Shore Park. Newburgh added new signing Sean Hastie to the match day squad. Sean, a product of the St Johnstone youth development squad, is a player Newburgh manager Scott Hudson has had his eye on for some time. “Sean came off the bench for us against West Calder and has trained with the squad for a few weeks. He is a young talent who is full of potential”.
In a fairly even first 15 minutes both teams were defending well with the majority of the play taking place in the midfield. Armadale opened the scoring through Leiper on the 17thminute with the central defender picking up the ball in the centre circle. Leiper drove forward shrugging off Fraser’s challenge before moving into the ‘Burgh 18 yard box and powering a driven shot past Sutherland to give the visitors the lead.
This lead was doubled just before the half hour. Armadale, who were now on the front foot, won a corner. A short corner that was not properly defended allowed the cross to come from a deeper angle catching out the Newburgh defence. Leiper flicked a header over Sutherland for McLachlan to head home unchallenged at the back post.
Newburgh lost the experienced Paul MacBride with 10 minutes to go to half time to a knee injury with Nicol coming on. A shuffle of the defence was needed with Skinner dropping into left back and Milton moving central beside Johal. Nicol took up his place in midfield.
The shuffle proved positive for Newburgh as they started to take the game to the visitors. The pace of Sutherland, Fraser and Robinson in the front line started to cause problems with Newburgh playing the better football in the last 15 minutes of the half. Ryan Smart was finding more space in midfield allowing him to drive forward. Newburgh grabbed the vital third goal of the game with 4 minutes to play in the first period. Some great work by Smart and Fraser Robinson combining allowed Craig Robinson to make space in the box to receive the ball and drive it low into the Armadale net.
The second half began as the first had ended with Newburgh pressing forward looking to grab the equalising goal. Scott Sutherland was proving a handful for Armadale with his strength and pace proving difficult to handle. The Armadale defence held fast and used their experience to keep the fluid ‘Burgh attack at bay.
With 20 minutes remaining Hudson introduced Ryan Hughes and Sean Hastie for Sean MacBride and Craig Robinson, both of whom had had excellent games. Hughes almost made an immediate impact with a vicious drive that just flew by the post. Newburgh continued to take the game to Armadale but with the forward momentum there were spaces being left at the back. Calum Sutherland in the ‘Burgh goal pulled of a series of fantastic saves to frustrate the visitors as they searched for their third goal.
Newburgh almost grabbed an equaliser on the 82nd minute. Hastie’s pace got him goal side of his defender with time to drive a well struck shot at goal, Leiper’s outstretched leg deflected the ball taking some of the pace off the shot allowing the Armadale keeper to fingertip the ball on to the bar and behind for a ‘Burgh corner. The corner was well defended and a quick break by Armadale found Rodger driving in on goal. Sutherland came out to narrow the angle but Rodger made no mistake passing the ball around the Burgh keeper into the net.
Newburgh continued to push but no second goal could be found.
Burgh manager Scott Hudson spoke after the game “Armadale are a vastly experienced side they are strong right across the park. It is bittersweet having lost to them but still find ourselves feeling unlucky not to have taken something from the game. We played really well from 30 minutes onwards and really took the game to them. We are still a fairly young team and every game we play we are improving. It has been a steep learning curve for a lot of the lads this season but I am happy that we are still moving in the right direction”.
Newburgh’s last game of 2018 in this Saturday away to Rosyth. Kick-off is at 13:30.
Newburgh v Armadale Thistle 081218
|December 8, 2018||1:30 pm||South Premier League||2018|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|