Lothian Thistle HV 2 - 0 Heriot-Watt University
The game burst into life early in the second half when Ross Elliot fired home a 35-yard ree-kick to set Lothian Thistle up for a 2-0 win over Heriot-Watt in the Central Taxis Premier Division.
Elliot’s wind-assisted effort from wide on the left went straight into the top corner over the out-stretched arms of the Heriot-Watt goalkeeper, Craig Saunders.
“To be fair, I was just trying to put the ball into an area and luckily it went in,” admitted a smiling Elliot. “Kevin [Twaddle, assistant manager] has been on at me to strike through the ball and that has resulted in me scoring a few goals recently. Overall, I thought that we did really well and pressed Heriot-Watt who are a good passing team.
“We were delighted to get all three points and there is a good atmosphere in the dressing room with Grant [Carnie, manager] and Kevin on at us to keep winning. I’m certainly enjoying my football at Lothian Thistle.” Heriot-Watt should have taken the lead in only the second minute when Michael Connor was put through by Jamie Forsyth but the striker failed to beat Kevin Swain who made a good stop with his feet.
Lothian steadied themselves and Adam Perry, Kevin Lee and Paul Crawford all tested Saunders in the students’ goals. Elliot also had a good shot on the turn which flew narrowly over the bar while at the other end Forsyth headed wide from inside the six-yard box. The first half ended with a Matt Costello header being palmed over the bar by Saunders.
The second period began with Elliot hitting the outside of the post before his angular 35-yard free-kick evaded everyone to nestle in the far corner of the net. Elliot also showed his defensive qualities when he robbed Michael Webster on the edge of his own penalty box before, almost immediately at the other end, he sent a left foot shot narrowly wide of the target.
The students missed two golden opportunities to equalise when substitute Chris Donnelly side-footed the ball wide from a good position then the same player lifted a shot over the bar from close range.
And Lothian sealed their victory two minutes from time when Alan McDonaugh twisted and turned to set up trialist John MacDonald who calmly slipped the ball into the unguarded net from ten yards.
Lothian’s manager Carnie said: “I thought that we finished the game how we started with our great work-rate, our passing and our movement although we just could not get that opening goal. We dominated the game and although I don’t think that Ross meant that free kick to go into the back of the net, we deserved it.
“The boys are doing really well and listening and that’s all Kevin and me can ask of them. We are getting our points across and we are starting to play as a team. It stems from Kevin Swain, our goalkeeper, all the way through as a complete unit. Heriot Watt are a good side and not many teams will beat them so that was a very good result for us.”
Michael Renwick, the Heriot-Watt head coach, said: “I feel as if I am repeating myself because it was another game in which the opposition have taken their chances and we haven’t. We had clear, clear opportunities and missed them. We can talk all we want about how good we are between the two penalty boxes but it’s inside the two boxes that count and Lothian Thistle were more clinical than we were even with the less chances they created.
“It’s very frustrating to concede two goals which could have been avoided. I have to give Lothian Thistle credit for taking their chances that arose and we have not. That is a concern for us.”
Lothian Thistle HV: Swain, Lee, MacDonald, Costello, Wilkes, Crawford, Anderson, Connolly (Hawkins 76), Perry (Handley 61), Elliot, Dignan (McDonaugh 68). Subs: Kane, Ali.
Heriot Watt University: Saunders, Muhsin, Lawrenson, Forbes, Paterson, R Napier, Forsyth (Watson 82), Burke (B Napier 69), Connor (Donnelly 65), Ewing, Webster. Sub: Myatt.
Referee: Jonathan Bell