East of Scotland play-offs: Wayne McIntosh wonder goal puts Penicuik one win from Lowland League
Wayne McIntosh downed Broxburn Athletic with a contender for goal of the season to boost Penicuik’s hopes of promotion to the Lowland League – and then set his sights on former club Bonnyrigg Rose.
The 34-year-old striker netted a second-half stunner in Saturday’s 3-2 win to get his team off to the perfect start in the first of the East of Scotland title play-off matches, and they now know a win at Bonnyrigg on Wednesday night will see them play in Scotland’s fifth tier next season – subject to achieving a licence.
It was a one-in-a-million effort from McIntosh, who has built his career in non-league football with his deadly prowess from inside the box, and he was particularly pleased it came in a match of such importance.
“The gaffer was saying at half-time to start getting shots away, so I took that on board, and it just opened nicely for me – I got the power right through it and I’m just delighted it went over the top of the goalie,” said McIntosh. “I had new boots on so I think that maybe did the business for me! Inside the box or outside the box, I’m there to score goals and that’s it, whether it’s a tap-in or not. It makes it a bit sweeter today, scoring a goal in that manner given what was a stake.
“It’s good going into Wednesday playing against my old team. I never played them in the cup game last week, the managers rested me. We’ll go there with great belief hoping that we can get a good result.”
It was all-square at the break after a fairly even first half in which Penicuik had the better chances. Left-back John Williams handed the home side the lead with his first goal for the club after 11 minutes, heading in Scott McCrory-Irving’s inviting free-kick into the unguarded net after goalkeeper Connor Wallace had come off his line.
Opposite number Gordon Donaldson then equalised for Broxburn as he fired in at the back post just minutes later.
McIntosh pulled off his wonder-strike just a minute after the interval as he cut in from the left and sent an unstoppable shot over the head of Wallace and into the top corner.
Broxburn barely had the chance to re-organise themselves before the home side were celebrating again, with Aaron Somerville picking his spot as he sent a terrific curler into the bottom corner past the outstretched Wallace.
Substitute striker Conor Kelly gave the Albyn Park men hope when he volleyed in with ten minutes remaining, but Penicuik saw the game out comfortably.
McIntosh says all the pressure will be on former club Bonnyrigg, where he enjoyed so much success during three seasons at New Dundas Park before moving to Penicuik last summer.
He continued: “The pressure is on Bonnyrigg now to come out and try and beat us. It won’t be strange for me playing against them.
“I have a few good pals up there, who will be friends for life, they are a good club, but I’m at Penicuik now and I’ll be working extra hard for Penicuik to make sure we try and get up to the Lowland League.
“If we go there and we win [then we know we will be champions]. The pressure is all on them and I think their pitch will suit us as well because we are a good passing team who like to get the ball down. Robbie [Horn, Bonnyrigg manager] will have them fired up and they’ve got good players who can hurt you.
“This group of players have been brilliant all year. When we’ve had to dig in, we’ve dug in to win games. It is good times up here, everybody is buzzing and happy. Things are happening at the ground and everyone has made me feel welcome.”
Visiting Athletic manager Brian McNaughton did not fell there was too much in it.
He said: “They played more football than us and we didn’t play as well as we could have. We might have had a penalty at the end, which I think it was going flying into the goals. I thought it was a fairly even game with them having more of the ball; they pass the ball more than we do.
“We just have to hope Penicuik get beat on Wednesday – by one goal and we would be absolutely delighted.”
Penicuik Athletic: Watt, Stevenson, Williams (Notman), Young, Page, Connolly, Somerville (Sampson), Jones, McIntosh, McCrory-Irving, Ponton.
Broxburn Athletic: Wallace, Locke, Donaldson, Purves, Townsley, Linton, Nimmo, Scott, Miller, Binnie (Kelly), Beasley (Ross).