Game, set and match to Whitehill

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Whitehill Welfare 1

Edinburgh University 0

A thunderbolt shot from Aaron Sommerville midway through the second half earned Whitehill Welfare all three points against a resolute Edinburgh University side that had been reduced to ten men after only 30 minutes of play.

Sommerville’s strike was of the highest quality after a high ball from Jim Young arrived on the edge of the penalty box. “My goal was a bit weird,” explained Sommerville. “There was some head tennis in their penalty box between me and our centre half Willie Kidd. Then I brought the ball down on my chest and gained a yard on their big centre half and put my laces through it and luckily it went in.

“We were always expecting a tough game against the University who always sit in and make it difficult but we dug in well and they never really caused us too many problems. We could have taken some chances and made it easier for ourselves although we were pleased to get the win in the end.”

The opening 20 minutes of the game belonged to the students who tested the Whitehill defence with Callum Murray robbed as he sprinted into the penalty box then goalkeeper Darren Walker did well to tip a Cyrus Moosavi cross over the bar. Murray had a header comfortably held by Walker before Moosavi, in full flight, was well tackled by Kevin Moffat.

However, Whitehill gradually played themselves into the game and Wayne Sproule directed a header wide before the same player had a 20-yard shot held high up by Mark Tait. The University goalkeeper then had to rush from his penalty box to clear from Wayne McIntosh before Sommerville shot wide from a good position.

The game changed on the half-hour when the University’s Jack Beacher performed a petulant trip on John Hall in the middle of the park and was sent off.

The best chance of the first half fell to McIntosh who, after good work by Stevie Manson, shot wide from six yards. The second half started with Whitehill on the offensive and McIntosh had a good shot from 12 yards well saved by Tait then a Sommerville attempt was deflected for a corner.

The University’s best effort was a low corner from Mark Gair which took a deflection and was cleared off the goal-line by Moffat while at the other end a Moffat shot from 30 yards was only inches wide of the target.

Whitehill’s winner arrived in the 72nd minute when Young’s cross was airborne on the edge of the penalty box before the ball was controlled by Sommerville and smashed into the net from 14 yards.

Whitehill pushed forward to try to increase their advantage and Andrew Sinclair had a shot turned around the post by Tait then Louis Swanson hit the post before Manson was clean through but lobbed the ball high over the crossbar.

Rab Paget, the Whitehill boss, said: “Performance-wise we were not at our best. I thought that the University were absolutely fantastic and Douglas [Samuel, head coach] had them well organised and they gave us a game. To be honest I feel a wee bit sorry for them because they put a lot into the game but at the end of the day I am delighted we got the three points.

“We did not create an awful lot of chances but the chances we did create were not being taken by anyone until Sommerville lashed one in and there was a big sigh of relief around Ferguson Park. Our three substitutes changed the game with their injection of pace and their movement. The plan was to try to close the gap on Spartans which we have done.”

Douglas Samuel, the University head coach, said: “I have a mixture of a huge sense of pride but also frustration in that my players didn’t get something from the game. Their efforts and application along with their execution of our game plan meant that they deserved to take at least a point from the game.

“We played the second half with a 3-4-2 set up and it was important to keep two strikers up the park. We felt that we had the chance to create something on the counter attack and defensively our back four was magnificent.

“We restricted Whitehill to only a handful of chances which is no mean feat. Again we produced a good performance level and we just need to start putting the ball in the net.”

Whitehill Welfare: Walker, Hall, W Kidd, A Kidd, Moffat, McIntosh (Herd, 69), Sommerville, Robertson (Swanson, 76), Young, Manson, Sproule (Sinclair, 65). Subs: Bruce, Bonthrone.

Edinburgh University: Tait, Irvine (McMaster, 58), Main, Thomson, Vakalla, Ward, Gair, Murray (Ross, 58), Moosavi (Gray, 70), Craigen, Beacher. Subs: Chatterjee, Frain.