Salvesen FC made it 15 wins from 15 in all competitions so far this season as they came out on top 2-1 against Shotts Thistle at Forrester High School.
It was a physical affair from the word go in the Lothian West clash. There was lots of battling as both teams fought to retain possession and create.
Salvesen gradually started to win the 50-50s and they looked to compose themselves on the ball. They really should have been ahead as Kyle Hay chased down a lofted ball from midfield in behind, to hit a shot under pressure over the Shotts crossbar with 15 minutes played.
Just 60 seconds later, Salvesen created another opening with an even clearer sight of goal. David Ross sneaked past the defence but his vicious close-range strike was well closed down by onrushing keeper Jordan Stevenson.
It had been all Salvesen midway through the half but their efforts hadn’t been fruitful, and so Shotts took full advantage to get ahead. Robbie Dunsmore hit a sumptuous strike from distance that flew through a gap in the Salvesen defence to nestle in the bottom right corner of the goal.
Shotts could have pushed on as the half progressed but their lead only lasted five minutes. Hay hit a free-kick into the Shotts box from the right and Greig Hogarth got up well to make it 1-1.
It became an end-to-end affair in the second half. The chances began to flow for and the first fell to Salvesen who came mighty close to going in front. James Davidson picked up a precision dinked pass by Michael Yuill and ran through on goal, but just as the striker was about to pull the trigger, Jamie Hallford made a brilliant sliding tackle.
It was then Shotts’ turn to go close as the game reached 65 minutes. Stuart Rogers found a pocket of space in the final third but Salvie goalie David Livie stood up well to make a fine save.
There was still plenty of time to go and after a brief spell with neither team really creating anything of note, Salvesen hit back once again to make it 2-1. After just missing the target from close range, Yuill drilled a left footed shot into the far right corner of the Shotts goal.
But, with 20 minutes remaining it was still a long way to go before Salvesen could celebrate yet another victory. And they briefly lost concentration and almost paid the price. Kevin Barr burst into the Salvesen box from the left but keeper Livie did well to save with his left leg at the near post.
Shotts continued to create chances as the time ticked down on the stopwatch. The chances kept coming and Salvesen got away with some slack defending as Mark Telfer sent a free header in the area narrowly over the crossbar.
Late on Salvesen had to ride out the storm as Shotts poured forward in numbers. The Lanarkshire side gave everything to grab a late equaliser but they were left disappointed as stubborn Salvesen saw off their fellow promotion rivals with a hard-fought win.
Manager Ryan Harding was over the moon with yet another win for his side.
“I’ve been delighted with the start so far this season and all the credit goes to the lads because that’s now a 100 per cent record from 15 games and we’ve played some tough teams so far,” he said.
Salvesen FC: Lotfi Barbirou, Jamie Butler, James Davidson, Matthew Duncan, Faron Gribben, Ryan Harding, Kyle Hay, Greig Hogarth, Stuart Johnston, David Livie, Murdo Manson, Craig Ross, David Ross, Jak Townsley, Shaun Young, Michael Yuill.
Shotts Thistle: Kevin Barr, Stephen Duffy, Robbie Dunsmore, Jonathan Eadon, David Gardner, Joe Gardner, Jamie Hallford, Paul Hughes, Sammy McLean, Stuart Rogers, Jordan Stevenson, Mark Telfer, John Walker, Richard Barr.