East of Scotland League: Penicuik strengthen squad and their grip on top spot

Penicuik Athletic manager Steve McLeish has bolstered his squad for the title run-in and was delighted to get back to winning ways ahead of next week’s crunch match against Tranent.

Sunday, 9th January 2022, 6:44 pm
Updated Sunday, 9th January 2022, 10:44 pm
Penicuik's Lumbert Kateleza celebrates one of his two late goals from the bench
Penicuik's Lumbert Kateleza celebrates one of his two late goals from the bench

The East of Scotland Premier Division leaders concluded the signing of midfielder Matty Combe from Tynecastle on the morning of Saturday’s 5-1 derby victory at Whitehill Welfare, and he made his debut by coming off the bench ten minutes from time.

“He’ll be a good player for this club,” said McLeish, who has tapped into his contacts at former club Tynecastle since leaving them for Penicuik in September.

“It’s not about guys going out the way, it’s about guys coming in to help us, strengthen us and make us a stronger squad.”

Fellow sub Lumbert Kateleza scored two goals in the final six minutes at Ferguson Park, underlining the variety of options available to manager McLeish.

Ryan Weir headed Whitehill in front after two minutes, but Cammy Dawson equalised on the half hour and went on to grab a double. Kateleza scored in the final six minutes, after Scott McCrory-Irving had also found the net.

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The victory moves Penicuik four points clear of Linlithgow Rose and eight ahead of Tranent, who have a game in hand and travel to Penicuik next weekend.

“We know all about Tranent and they know all about us,” added McLeish.

“We’ve had two games already this season and I’m sure this will be the same. It will be a good contest.

“They’ll be hurting from their draw at Musselburgh. We were hurting from two draws on the bounce, but we have bounced back and next week is set up quite nicely.”

Elsewhere, Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale pulled off an impressive 2-1 home win over Broxburn Athletic thanks to goals from Errol Douglas and Niall Kemp.

Craigroyston, bottom of First Division Conference A, have put out an appeal for new players after being hammered 11-2 at home to Dunipace.

With Haddington Athetic’s match postponed, Leith Athletic jumped to the top on goal difference after a Cammy Stewart equaliser earned a 1-1 draw at Edinburgh United, who went in front through Kyle Scott.

Haddington have two games in hand.

Mikey Hamilton, Byron Archibald and Jonny Grotlin all scored doubles in Preston Athletic’s 8-0 win over Hawick in Conference B. Another clean sheet means they have conceded the fewest goals – just four in 14 games – in the the East of Scotland’s four divisions.

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