Penicuik boss left satisfied after side are held at home

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Penicuik Athletic 0

Newtongrange Star 0

Penicuik player/manager Craig Meikle declared himself happy with a point as his side were held.

The result keeps the home side top of the Premier League and Meikle insisted: “This was always going to be one of our biggest games of the season and to come away without losing and keeping a clean sheet was a huge bonus for us.

“It was a typical Junior game of football played at 100 miles an hour.”

The game started at a frantic pace with Newtongrange pressing hard for an opener. They had the home defence on the back foot from the start and, after five minutes, Kevin Donnelly headed just over the bar from a Chris King corner.

Gradually, though, the Penicuik central defensive partnership of Meikle and the experienced Ally Reid settled and kept openings at a minimum.

Blair Tolmie did have a header from another Chris King free-kick but it too flew over.

The game was needing a goal, and it almost came after 55 minutes.

The ball dropped to Grant Meaney some 30 yards out on the left wing and he thundered the ball towards the top corner only for it to scorch the bar on its way over.

Penicuik then had a strong penalty claim turned down for handball in the box before they were awarded a free-kick 35 yards out. Sub Conor Thomson stepped up and rifled a shot off the crossbar.

Newtongrange introduced sub John McDonald and he brought fresh legs and ideas to their efforts.

As the game drew to a close, it was Newtongrange’s turn to strike the woodwork.

A clearance fell to Mel Graham on the right and he stepped forward to unleash a thunderbolt, easily beating the keeper but it too came crashing back off the bar.

Newtongrange manager Alan Miller thought his side did enough to win, saying: “It was a tight game but I felt we had enough possession to win. We had to be careful because Penicuik are very dangerous on the break. But I’m happy with the performance considering we had to almost bring in a brand new side since we came here only seven months ago.

“We’re gradually building a good squad for next season and it’s looking good for then. This game was a good test for us because Penicuik are a resilient side who fight hard.”

Penicuik boss Meikle added: “A draw was about right. We had a bad start because they pushed forward.

“It took us 20 minutes to settle but when we did we had as much of the game as Newtongrange. I think both defences cancelled each other out. Keeping a clean sheet was a bonus because we have ambitions here.

“We know where we would like to play but there’s a long way to go before we will get there. This point is a step towards that goal.”

Penicuik Athletic: Bald, Cunnison, McDermott, Meikle, Reid, Gay, Brigain (Draper), Barr, Roxburgh, O’Reilly (Smith), Knight (Thomson). Subs: Ryrie, Killin, McPartlin, Haldane.

Newtongrange Star: Amos, Swaney, Forbes, Donnelly, Tolmie, Meaney (McDonald), Graham, Gillon, Forster (Hutchison, Beattie), King, Cherrie. Subs: Turner, McManus, Dunbar, O’Connor.