Sporting Icapb had debutant keeper John Thomson to thank as they picked up a precious first point of the season against West Edinburgh United at Saughton.
After Kerr Young put West ahead, Thomson kept his side in the game as their opponents rained down effort upon effort on the Sporting goal. Building from the back, Sporting’s James Blythe picked up a goal, in what was also his first appearance, to give the basement side a 1-1 draw and overdue respite following a run of nine losses in the Edinburgh West league.
The game began with West edging their opponents on possession, but with each side having chances. After Connor Black went close with an effort from the right of the box for West, Sporting could have taken an early lead. Anthony Black made inroads down the left before he teed up Manuel Breuer to shoot from the edge of the box, but he curled his effort just over the bar.
Then, after patiently probing the Sporting defence, West opened the scoring from a set piece. Young took aim with a free-kick from 25 yards and the ball comfortably cleared the wall before nestling in the bottom right corner of the goal.
It was no less than the visitors deserved but, as the half drew to a close, Sporting finished with a flurry of chances, determined to avoid ten league defeats on the bounce. With ten minutes of the opening 45 to go, Breuer had a fantastic chance in front of goal when he seized onto Jack Hearn’s cross, only to head an effort wide of keeper Jacob Farr’s left-hand post.
Then, shortly after, Hearn tried an effort himself as he cut in from the right, but it was too easy for Farr as he made a comfortable save.
After the break, West came out hungry to extend their lead. The chances soon began to flow once more as substitute Michael Osborne, on at the break, tried his luck for West from distance, but Sporting’s Owen Black made a crucial block to divert the ball wide.
Callum Milligan then also went close for West as he intercepted a loose ball at the back before bearing down on goal. Thomson was equal to his effort, though, as he pulled off the first of a string of crucial saves for Sporting. West were really turning the screw in a bid for a second goal but again the Sporting man between the sticks was alert when it mattered. After a patient move involving Osborne and Young, Ryan Smith was played in one-on-one but Thomson stood up to the No.18 to make a crucial reaction save.
Knowing they could rely on their man in goals, Sporting suddenly pushed for an equaliser and they found it via the penalty spot.
Catalin Termure was tripped as he cut into the box from the left and a penalty was awarded by the referee without hesitation. Blythe took responsibility on his first outing for the club and he fired home a precious equaliser.
It was anyone’s game going into the final ten minutes with both Sporting and West coming close to finding a winner.
Substitute Jack Garvin came inches away from firing in a Sporting winner when he cut in and rifled the ball across goal, just past the right-hand post.
West sought an immediate response with the clock ticking down, but Sporting had Thomson to thank yet again as he kept out headers from Milligan and Young to seal a valuable point for his side.
Sporting Icapb: John Thomson, Anthony Black, Owen Black, Manuel Breuer, Jack Garvin, Jack Hearn, Davie Heaton, Edward Hulme, Keir Lewis, Eneko Salvatierra, George Shade, Stuart Shaw, Catalin Termure, Alex Athanasopoulos, James Blythe.
West Edinburgh United: Connor Black, Ross Cummings, Chris Deignon, Jacob Farr, Dale Heatlie, Callum Lewis, Grant Maitland, Marc McKeating, Callum Milligan, Michael Osborne, Garry Smith, Ryan Smith, Justin Thompson, Kerr Young, Robbie Mckenzie, Paul Ramsay.