Danderhall Miners picked up a hard-earned three points with a 2-1 victory over Tollcross Thistle at Saughton 3G.
It was a stop-start opening to the league game with both sides taking time to settle. Tollcross looked to squeeze passes through the final line of the Hall defence but the visitors held firm. Meanwhile, up the other end, Hall initially struggled to pick a pass.
Hall were being well closed down in the final third by Tollcross and so had to try another approach. A route-one ball from the back picked out Hall’s Darren Flynn on the edge of the box and he held off his marker to get a shot away, but it was well held by keeper John Nisbet.
With that, the game began to open up and Tollcross then also made their first shot on target. Jason Bell whipped in a free-kick from the left that goalie Thomas Cordery had to be alert to grab.
Hall’s Darren Flynn broke the deadlock after 20 minutes with a peach of a goal. The striker fizzed a free-kick from 25 yards over the Tollcross wall and into the top left corner, to make it 1-0.
Tollcross were shellshocked but to their credit they carved out a response in spectacular style, ten minutes later. Sean Mossman picked up the ball in midfield before taking aim and his long-range strike flew high into the Hall goal, to make it 1-1.
The chances began to flow for both sides and with the game passing the half-hour mark, Hall were adamant they should have had a penalty. Flynn contested a ball forward with Steven Milne and he ended up on the deck, but the referee waved away the appeals. Scorer Flynn was injured in the challenge and was replaced James McInroy.
Hall started to control proceedings as the fixture edged towards the break. They couldn’t, however, make their possession count, and so the scores remained unchanged at the break.
With all to play for in the second half both Tollcross and Hal threw caution to the wind and pressed forward at every opportunity. McInroy raced on to a long ball by Cordery but from a tight angle his shot was easy for Nisbet in the Tollcross goal.
The opening eventually came for Tollcross as Scott Millar weaved in and out before sending a shot away from the left of the area, just marginally wide of the Hall goal.
The next goal was going to be crucial and it was Hall who bagged it with 15 minutes remaining. Mark Moncrieff’s dinked ball from midfield allowed Martin Hughes to chase down the ball, prodding past the onrushing Nisbet, to give his side the lead.
Tollcross made a triple substitution in a bid to change their fortunes as Ciaran Duffy, Jack Norman and Ethan Rathore entered the fray. It gave Tollcross another dimension in attack and they came close to getting level with five minutes to go. Stefan Hay received the ball from Duffy just outside the Hall box and he struck a stinging shot that Cordery dived low to his right to save.
Cordery was in the firing line once again, as Mossman looked to grab a goal as good as his first. He hit a rising shot with his right foot that the Hall keeper had to be on hand to palm over the crossbar. Tollcross continued to give it their all into the final stages and once more Cordery was in the way. Substitute Norman steered a shot at goal from the right of the area which was met by a fine reaction save by the keeper.
Tollcross Thistle: John Nisbet, Jason Bell, Steven Milne, Hamish Flett, Calum Roberts, Stewart Crozier, Scott Millar, Sean Mossman, Stuart Inglis, Stefan Hay, Michael Hornig, Jack Norman, Sean Mcgrouther, Graham Nisbet, Ciaran Duffy, Ethan Rathore
Danderhall Miners: Darren Anderson, Thomas Cordery, Derek Curran, Scott Dewar, Darren Flynn, Martin Hughes, James Laing, Grant McMillan, Mark Moncrieff, Richard Todd, James McInroy, Mark Brown, John Taylor