In a five-goal thriller that remained nailbiting to the end at Saughton’s 3G pitch on Sunday, Lothian Athletic progressed into the Fifth round of the Scottish Cup 3-2 although Lochore Castle ran them close.
The crowds gathered for a match that was rearranged a total of seven times due to the adverse weather conditions throughout December and January – but the wait was worthwhile.
Lothian Athletic came out of the traps with a bang in this and were a goal up inside ten minutes thanks to the agility and quick feet of Daniel Scott.
Robert McKenzie pressed the defence into a bad mistake right on the by-line and as he skipped his way into the box he was taken out as if playing at Murrayfield.
The resulting penalty was expertly saved by ’keeper O’Hare but the rebound fell to Scott who slotted home from five yards.
Lothian controlled the match for the first 20 minutes with some excellent passing down the wings and constant pressure on the Lochore defence.
The equalising goal was completely against the run of play. Kevin Celentane, Lochore’s No. 9, took up the ball on the halfway line and drove at the defence, skipping past two defenders before shooting from outside the box. Goalkeeper David Gorrie couldn’t keep hold of the ball and it landed straight at the feet of David Morris who tapped it into the empty net.
At half time, the frustration from letting the lead slip was all over boss David Aitchison’s face and he let his Lothian team know all about it.
“We did what we hoped to do in the early part of the half by passing the ball quickly and getting in their faces but we took our eye of the ball for a second and it was 1-1,” said Aitchison.
“By our standards that goal was a sloppy mistake and should never have been scored.
“However, our midfield in the second half took the game by the scruff of the neck and I felt we controlled the game with a fair amount of ease.”
The second half was very similar to the first with wave after wave of attacks from Lothian Athletic and it would surely have been a cricket score had it not been for the Lochore ’keeper. On the hour mark the second goal did eventually come thanks to a miss-hit cross from Jason Heeps. Heeps started the move with a throw-in on the half way line before receiving it back instantaneously. His resulting first-time cross into the box was left by everyone and ended up in the back of the net.
The game was sewn up ten minutes from time when Lothian Athletic’s McKenzie drove down the left wing before cutting into the box to square the ball for his strike partner Mason to dispatch into the empty net.
“That’s our first defeat this year and we should have played a lot better,” said Lochore’s manager Wayne Grewar.
“But you know you haven’t played well when your ’keeper is the man of the match. Even though the second goal was a mistake on our part, the third was a real killer and the game was over after that went in.”
Lochore did, however, manage to narrow the score to 3-2 in the dying minutes when a scrambled ball in the six-yard box ended up in the back of the net thanks to the toe-poking prowess of winger Morris.
Brian Haldane swung in a corner to the back post and as the defender went to clear the ball, it hit off an attacker straight to Morris to poke in from two yards out.
Aitchison was understandably happy his team are through to the next round of the cup although he’ll be keen to iron out mistakes which might have cost his side dear.
“I felt we played really well, knocking the ball about and in control of the game. I thought we were the better team and really let in two silly goals. A scrappy game but overall happy with the performance.”
Lothian Athletic: David Gorrie, Andrew Smith, Hugh Meenan, Kevin Courtney, James Reid, Jason Heeps, Daniel Scott, Jamie McKenzie, Robert McKenzie, Scott Mason, Dean Scott. Subs: Dean Scott, Brian Bird, Mani Glasgow, Grant Courtney.
Lochore Castle: James O’Hare, Stewart Luke, Brian Haldane, Lee Copland, Tom Duncan, John Devine, Drew Hargreave, Robert McCrae, Kevin Celentane, Lee Whitherspoon, David Morris. Subs: Craig McDonald, Wayne Morris, Craig Moon, Kevin Luke, William Campbell.
Referee: Tom McDonald.