Musselburgh Athletic boss Calvin Shand bemoaned his side’s performance as they suffered their first home defeat of the season and put it down to a “bad day at the office”.
Despite enjoying the better of a dull first half in which they went in to the interval ahead thanks to Ewan Ralton’s well-taken strike, poor defending and an inability to carve open promoted Dundonald Blubell cost them as they missed out on the chance to go up to fourth in the table, losing 2-1.
Shand had stated the importance of securing maximum points in their home games in the lead up to this fixture, but his threadbare squad were unable to produce the goods.
“It was disappointing to lose a home game in the manner that we did,” said former Hibs coach Shand.
“I thought we were the better team in the first half and we controlled the game without really creating much. The second half was probably as poor as we’ve been. They dominated the second half and probably deserved their win.
“We didn’t create much at all outwith the goal. Matti [King] had a good chance in the second half which he was unlucky with. That’s the disappointing thing, we’ve got so many creative players in forward areas.
“I felt we were comfortable at 1-0, obviously they scored really early on which changes the game a wee bit and after that we just didn’t get to grips with it. Too many boys were off it today.
“I had a wee bit of a go [in the dressing-room] but the boys are experienced enough to know when they’ve not performed. It was just a bad day at the office and it’s a case of dusting ourselves down for next week.”
Neither goalkeeper was tested in a drab opening period until home goalie Keiron Renton was picking the ball out of his net after 22 minutes, although visiting striker Paul Quinn was flagged for offside.
Burgh took the lead with their first opportunity on the half-hour mark as they broke swiftly on the counter-attack. Dundonald’s defence attempted to play the offside-trap, but Ralton timed his run perfectly to latch on to Matti King’s neat through ball and he composed himself before firing low past James Lennox.
The visitors were unlucky not to go into the break level as they conjured up two chances one after the other five minutes before half-time. Winger Ben Anthony was denied by Marty Lynch’s block, before Garry Cherrie cleared off the line from Scott Mayne’s volley which was set for the top corner.
Dundonald did grab their equaliser three minutes into the second half, however. Lewis McKenzie was given too much space by Burgh centre-backs David Dunn and Lynch on the edge of the box. The striker was able to turn freely and drill a shot past Renton and into the bottom corner at ease.
McKenzie then played in Gregg Meikle minutes later, the midfielder should have done better with his effort as he shot wide of the target.
Home striker King was unlucky to see his effort go wide after the impressive Sean Murphy found him with a ball over the top of the Bluebell defence.
That was the only chance the home side created in a lacklustre second half – their inability to hold the ball high up the pitch costing them as Dundonald bagged a deserved winner three minutes from time.
It was pinball in the home box as Scott Orrock and Quinn both had attempts blocked before the ball fell to the unmarked Meikle at the backpost and he swept home.
With John McManus suspended, Conor Thomson ill and Alistair Forster unsolvable due to work commitments, Shand’s lack of squad depth was exposed with just two substitutes named. He hopes to bolster his squad in the next few weeks.
He added: “We’ve been looking and treating [to bring players in]. The players that we’ve got have done great and we just want to try and strengthen a little bit, it’s just a difficult period to sign players. We’ll keep looking and see what we can get in, but the boys we’ve got are good enough to get us to where we need to be.”
Musselburgh Athletic: Renton, Davie, Lynch, Dunn, Moffat (Guiney), O’Kane, Murphy, Cherrie, Spowart, King, Ralton.
Dundonald Bluebell: Lennox, McDonald, Gray, Mayne, Rarity, Patrick, Meikle, Wallace, Quinn, McKenzie (Orrock), Anthony (Young).