Penicuik Athletic 4
Broxburn Athletic 0
PENICUIK powered into the Premier Division title race – they’re up to third behind Oakley and Tayport – after beating a Broxburn side that lost a goal after 35 seconds, finished the game with ten men and also had manager Steve Pittman sent off.
“It was one of those days, a bad day at the office,” declared Pittman after seeing his side brought back to earth with a bang following a 7-1 hammering of Ballingry the previous weekend.
Boosted by their own win at Newtongrange seven days earlier, Penicuik got off to the perfect start as they opened the scoring with the first attack of the game. Mark Smith’s right-wing cross hit off a Broxburn defender and fell perfectly for ex-Musselburgh man Jerry Draper, who nodded the ball past Lee Irvine-Holliday.
John Jeffrey and Sean Martin both sent headers inches wide at the other end as Broxburn responded to that early setback with a spell of excellent attacking football. But, marshalled by the experienced duo of Craig Meikle and Ally Reid, the Penicuik defence held firm.
Meikle scored the second in the 20th minute, the big defender getting on the end of a Mike McDermott corner to power in a header that was just over the line before Irvine-Holliday gathered the ball. Keith Barr, who was impressive in the Penicuik engine room alongside James McPartlin, almost caught out the Broxburn goalkeeper with a long-range shot before Broxburn started the second-half with another spurt.
During that, Meikle was fortunate not to deflect a shot into his own net before Craig Young brought the first of three excellent second-half saves from William Bald in the home goal.
But any hopes the visitors had of repeating the comeback when the sides met in the League Cup earlier in the season went down the drain in the 55th minute.
Chris Roxburgh, who was outstanding throughout for Penicuik in the final third along with Dean Knight, ran at Steven Kaszlinski in the box and was certainly caught by the Broxburn defender. Kaszlinski felt it had been more of a case of Roxburgh running into him but referee Duncan Smith pointed to the spot and Barr made no mistake to make it 3-0.
With 12 minutes to go, Kaszlinski was then shown a straight red for showing his studs in a challenge on McPartlin before Roxburgh rounded off a profitable afternoon for Penicuik when he added a fourth with three minutes to go.
Pittman, who had already been warned by Smith for saying something in the first half, allowed his frustration to boil over after an incident in the dying seconds. He was furious that Bald had gone unpunished for a challenge on Gary Miller and the nasty-looking stud mark on the substitute’s leg as he was carried into the dressing-room after the final whistle certainly seemed to suggest that Pittman had a case.
“The goals we lost were bad ones,” said the Broxburn boss. “But, after going behind in the first minute, I thought we came into the game really well.
“Even after going 2-0 behind before half-time, I didn’t think the game was finished and I told my players that at half-time. We were actually confident at the start of the second-half and were having another good spell until we lost the penalty.
“I thought the sending-off was harsh, in fact, I didn’t even think it was a booking. As for the challenge from their keeper at the end, he’s left a hole in our player’s leg and I can’t believe how he’s not seen that.
“We played good football at times but it was just one of those days when everything seemed to go against us and it’s added up to a bad day at the office.”
For Penicuik, who have a perfect blend of youth and experience, it was an excellent day’s work. Joint-manager Bryan Ryrie said: “It was a good win for us. To get off to a start like that helps breed confidence throughout the team.
“The two boys up front (Roxburgh and Smith) hadn’t played together before but they were tremendous, as was Dean Knight, who has great feet and is a constant threat to teams.
“Earlier in the season things were going against us so hopefully we’re starting to get a few breaks now.”
With Oakley being held at home by Newtongrange, Penicuik have closed the gap on the leaders to six points.
Penicuik Athletic: Bald, Cunnison, McDermott, Meikle, Reid, McPartlin, Knight, Barr, Roxburgh, Smith (O’Reilly 69), Draper (Martin 85). Subs: Brigain, Thomson, Gallagher, Ritchie, Haldane.
Broxburn Athletic: Irvine-Holliday, Rycroft, Gibson (Miller 55), Cairns, Kaszlinski, Martindale (Millar 46), Martin (Swanson 46), Morrison, Pittman, Jeffrey, Young. Subs: Purves, Fairweather, Malley.
Referee: D Smith.