PATHHEAD AFC edged out league opponents Hermiston Vale 4-2 on a windswept afternoon at Sighthill.
After the scores were level at half-time, three second-half goals from Darren Irvine, John Ray and Stephen Fraser gave the Midlothian side their second league win of the season.
In difficult conditions, Hermiston began brightly, causing the opposition problems early on. The hosts almost took the lead in the fifth minute when, after receiving a cross-field ball in the area, Paul Suddaby almost brought the ball down before trying to volley the ball in on the turn. It had the power but not the accuracy and the ball sailed wide.
Hermiston seemed desperate to make an early breakthrough and came close again soon after. Dale Horribine drilled the ball across the area towards Jamie Horton. Sliding in at the back post, Horton made contact with it but couldn’t generate enough power to beat Daren Gough in the Pathhead goal.
Against the run of play, Pathhead went ahead in the 20th minute through Irvine. A lovely ball whipped in from John Ray found the striker and he glanced a header into the far corner of the goal. To their credit, Hermiston refused to feel sorry for themselves and immediately fought back to make it 1-1. A free kick into the box was met by Suddaby and he headed home to level things up.
Before the break, both sides pressed forward in search of the game’s third goal and Hermiston probably should have gone in ahead at the interval. With ten minutes of the first half left, a low corner was drilled into the penalty area and Horton, snatching at the chance eight yards out, managed to put the ball over. It was a crucial miss in the context of the game.
Pathhead came out fighting after the break and it didn’t take long before they were 2-1 up. With the wind in their favour, the visitors hit Hermiston on the counter, with Darren Irvine scoring his second of the match with a cool finish from nine yards out.
For long periods, the wind picked up and neither side could take control of proceedings meaning the ball got bogged down a lot in midfield.
It looked like the match was going to fizzle out, but the final ten minutes provided three quick-fire goals. Just after Gough denied Hermiston’s Andrew Morris with a good diving save, the visitors put the game to bed with a third goal through John Ray. A long ball into the area, helped by the wind, wasn’t anticipated by the home defence and Ray smashed it in from 12 yards.
Minutes later, Pathhead grabbed a fourth through Stephen Fraser. A long ball over the top found the No.11 and he did well to anticipate the bounce before heading over the onrushing goalie.
To their credit, Hermiston didn’t stop trying despite the odds being stacked against them. In the final minutes of added time they pulled back a consolation goal to make it 4-2. A pinpoint through ball from Jamie Laing found Suddaby who sprinted away from his marker before smashing in his second of the afternoon.
It was a solid second-half performance from Pathhead who took their chances and defended resolutely as well. They celebrate their 65th anniversary as a club this season.
Hermiston Vale: Michael Elder, William Hall, Dale Horribine, Jamie Horton, Jamie Laing, Robert Large, Andrew Morris, Derek Paterson, Alan Rutherford, Grant Smith, Darren Suddaby, Paul Suddaby, Craig Thomson, Paul Adamson, Allan McRitchie.
Pathhead AFC: Greg Thompson, Thomas Taylor, Christopher Thomas, Darren Borthwick, Daren Gough, Robert Graham, John Ray, Guy Lonie, Paul Mercer, Grant Skinner, Gordon Kolossy, Darren Irvine, Stephen Fraser, Steven Cormack.