Darren Smith lauds ten-man Dalkeith Thistle for smash-and-grab win at Lothian
Dalkeith Thistle co-manager Darren Smith hailed his spirited ten men for their smash-and-grab win as they emerged with an unlikely three points in Conference B.
The Jags left Saughton Enclosure after a successful heist, playing 65 minutes a man down as they were battered in the second half by Lothian Thistle, but somehow stole all three points thanks to youngster Blake Wales’ strike late on.
Lothian could rightly feel robbed having done everything but put the ball in the back of the net as they laid siege on Dalkeith in the second half, but Smith wasn’t in the mood for apologies.
“It was tough playing so long with ten men,” said Smith. “They had chances – I think they are in a false position, you see that, they are a decent team and we knew that before the game.
“Not many teams will come here and win. They are a lot better than some of the teams we have played this year and once they get their team together they will definitely pick up within the league.
“When you play so long with ten men on a heavy park, they are going to get chances, but at the same time I thought our boys done well and I actually thought we played better with ten men when we started to pass the ball.
“Credit to my boys for working so hard on a heavy park. Sometimes you don’t play well and you get a result, but I think on Saturday we dug in.
“With the weather before the game it was never going to be pretty, but both teams actually tried to pass when they could. It was all about hunger and desire, rolling the sleeves up and to be fair it is a massive result for us. It keeps us on the coat-tails of the teams above us.”
Dalkeith were already facing an uphill task with top goalscorer Paul Tansey sidelined after injuring himself in training, while midfielder Michael Hunter returned from a long lay-off.
They were dealt a further blow just 25 minutes in when left-back Craig Wojtowycz was shown a straight red for violent conduct. Lothian were already all on top at this point as they surged forward at will.
Dalkeith would have the best opportunity of the half, however, after ex-SPFL ref Craig Charleston awarded them a penalty on the half-hour mark for a shirt pull.
Wales stepped up and struck his spot-kick well, but home goalkeeper Kevin Swain is known for his success rate at stopping penalties and he saved brilliantly.
The hosts ramped it up a notch in the second period, with Sean Wringe leading the line after a long period on the sidelines.
It was team-mate Jamie Docherty who would force a fine save from Jags keeper James McQueen on the hour mark as he was forced to push over.
Wringe was then given a great opportunity to score, but he missed his headed attempt from Dylan Moore’s pinpoint cross.
James Hainey had the best chance for the home side. He was put through one-on-one with McQueen, but lifted his shot over the bar and wide with the net gaping.
Moore was shown a second-yellow card for Lothian with five minutes remaining for simulation, before the unthinkable happened as Dalkeith struck gold with a rare chance.
Lothian boss Raymond Carr lamented: “We had enough chances, but I think our mentality was all wrong. If we had taken half the chances we would have won the game comfortably.
“It’s about putting the ball in the net, and they worked hard, defended when they had to defend and got a result on the break.”
Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale: Swain, McGregor, O’Donnell, Begbie, Munro, Muir, Moore, Brown, Wringe (Smith), Hainey, Docherty.
Dalkeith Thistle: McQueen, McNeill, Lister, Connell, Janczyk, Wales, Hunter (Muir), Scott (Murray), Fairnie, McGlashan, Wojtowycz.