Greg Page is quickly getting used to that winning feeling with Penicuik Athletic after a tough beginning to the East of Scotland campaign with former club Tynecastle.
The commanding centre half, signed from Tynie last month alongside Dean Crabbe, produced another assured performance as Penicuik brushed aside Broxburn Athletic 3-1 to book their place in the fourth round of the Football Nation Qualifying Cup – his third victory since joining the club.
“It’s brilliant. I had a hard time earlier on in the season but I’m just delighted to be back playing and winning every week,” said 20-year-old Page. “I was out injured for a wee while and then it was hard to get back in, but it’s good here. I am really enjoying it. It makes a change when you aren’t conceding goals. It makes it easier playing alongside Dawson [Darrell Young] and [Ryan] Baptie, and players like that. I’ve slotted in well and hopefully I’ll keep my place.
“After I spoke to Kevin [Milne, manager] and Tony [Begg, assistant manager] I was really excited to come here.
“Broxburn have been doing well, but we knew what we needed to do. It was good to get the win and get through to the next round. We could’ve scored a lot more – if we had taken our chances it would’ve been a lot more comfortable.”
Penicuik were without both of their top goalscorers in Wayne McIntosh and Aaron Somerville, with Kyle Sampson handed a rare start alongside Lumbert Kateleza up front. It meant the home side were just able to list two substitutes.
Sampson was lively while Kateleza showed their was no reason for Milne to stress without his top two, as he bagged the opener on 21 minutes. The little striker produced an instinctive finish from close range after Broxburn goalkeeper Connor Wallace failed to hold a shot. He made it two eight minutes later, converting Baptie’s free-kick as he prodded into the net from six yards out. Kateleza thought he had secured his hat-trick on 36 minutes when he headed in another Baptie free-kick only to be denied by far ide assistant referee Boise Allan’s flag.
If Broxburn were hoping to force their way back into the tie in the second half, they were given an almighty task as Arran Ponton headed in just two minutes after the restart.
The visitors improved considerably, with striker Conor Kelly just inches away from pulling a goal back as he hit the base of the post on 64 minutes.
Kelly did pull a goal back on 85 minutes, but by then it was too late.
Broxburn boss Brian McNaughton feels a lack of numbers is costing his side at the moment.
He said: “We didn’t play very well in the first half. I thought Penicuik deserved their victory. It was two set-plays again that we lost goals from. We seem to lose goals pretty regularly from set plays.
“It’s a case of if you are fit just now you are playing, because we are short on bodies just now. We are not having the opportunity to make the changes that we would like to.
“I always think your team is as strong as your bench is and right now we don’t have a strong bench.”
Penicuik boss Milne hailed his players for their performance with his squad also down to the bare bones.
He said: “We only had one fully-fit sub – our other sub is still carrying a little bit of an injury. It was always in the back of my mind at the start of the game, but we got through it. The players on the pitch were brilliant.
“As a team, we were solid and still tried to play the way we like to play. Lumbo has been brilliant. He hasn’t scored as many as he would like to, but he’s so creative and he brings other players into the game.”
Penicuik Athletic: Cordery, Sproule (Caddow), Baptie, Young, Page, Connolly, McCrory-Irving, Jones, Sampson, Kateleza, Ponton.
Broxburn Athletic: Wallace, Gilles, Donaldson, Harrison, Townsley, Linton, Nimmo (Richards), Scott (Donoghue), Kelly, Locke, Binnie.