Pentland Thistle lifted themselves off the foot of the EADSAFA First Division table with a 4-3 home win over Liberton United at a wind-swept Saughton.
Pentland had to weather a storm in more ways than one in the first half. Playing into the wind, they found it difficult to build from the back and, aiming to take advantage, Liberton launched attack after attack on the Pentland goal.
Andrew Bowerbank was first to threaten for the away side after his goal-bound effort from the edge of the box was cleared off the line by Pentland midfielder Mark Hermiston, before David Bailey’s volley cracked off the bar from outside the box.
However, after showing little attacking intent, Pentland took the lead with their first shot on goal. A slack backpass to Liberton goalkeeper David Gorrie was pounced on by the alert Lewis Spence and the striker rounded Gorrie before putting the ball into the net.
Their lead was short-lived, though, as Liberton equalised from the penalty spot on the half-hour mark. James McNicol was tripped in the area and centre back David Strain stepped up to finish past Benny Muirhead.
The equaliser sparked life into Liberton, who looked hungry for a second goal. McNicol tried his luck from 25 yards with Muirhead producing a great diving save to tip it wide and he was denied again, this time by the post, after a shot from inside the box. Liberton found the goal they craved before half-time. Jaymy Wright cut in from the left inside the box and his right-foot shot outsmarted Muirhead, who could only get a hand on the effort.
Into the second half and Liberton should have been two goals to the good when Bailey was a given a free run at goal from his own half. In support was David Dickson – in a perfect position to simply slot the ball into the net – but instead of squaring to his team-mate for a tap-in he tried to round Muirhead but the goalie smothered at his feet. It was to be a costly error which Liberton would be left to rue as, with the wind behind them, Pentland equalised – in some style too. Mark Stevens’ 30-yard shot flew into the top corner with Gorrie helpless.
Chances came and went for both sides but Pentland always looked the most likely to score given the conditions were against Liberton and two quick-fire goals in the last ten minutes for the home side yielded their first three points of the season.
Substitute Alex Fowler intercepted midway inside the Liberton half and, with the wind behind him, he let rip, sending his shot looping over Gorrie to put Pentland ahead.
Liberton could have levelled things up when Bowerbank’s cross-cum-shot flashed across goal but no-one could get a touch onto it.
Pentland then made it four. Stuart McKay pierced through the centre of ac Liberton defence that couldn’t keep up with the striker and through on goal he showed great poise to lob Gorrie and give his side a crucial two-goal advantage with only five minutes remaining. A well-worked third goal gave Liberton hope. Centre-back Paddy Fee’s attempted shot from distance turned into an exquisite pass which found McNicol on the right wing and he drove a dangerous ball across goal which Kenneth Urey slid into the net but Pentland held on for an important victory.
Pentland Thistle: Benny Muirhead, Mark Stevens, Kris Lee, Liam Power, Michell Grassie, Ewen Brown, Stuart McKay, Mark Hermiston, Patrick McDermid, Imran Shah, Lewis Spence, Alex Fowler, Grant McDermid, Mark Chapman, Colm Henderson, Craig Martin.
Liberton United: David Gorrie, Bryan Clark, Paddy Fee, David Strain, James McNicol, Paul McQueenie, Andrew Bowerbank, David Bailey, Jaymy Wright, David Dickson, Darren Nicholson, James Neil, Jamie Wilson, Kenneth Urey, Bryan McLean.