Craigroyston assistant manager Gary Sutherland has challenged his players to remain at the summit of the Central Taxis Premier Division after a 2-1 win over Leith Athletic sent the St Mark’s Park side top for the first time this season.
Former Leith Athletic man Kyle Boggie struck the winner for Craigie to condemn his old club to defeat at St Mark’s Park and Sutherland cited his side’s effort and boss Tom Hendrie’s game-plan as key to earning victory.
“We totally dominated the game and it was a great team performance,” said Sutherland. “Our desire and workrate, as well as great organisation from the gaffer, paid off. We’re top of the league, so let’s see if we can stay there.”
Hosts Craigroyston spurned a handful of goalscoring chances before John Dunn converted the game’s opening goal. Robbie Mason struck at the other end seven minutes before the break to restore parity and Craigie’s fortunes plummeted further when Craig Anderson was withdrawn at half-time due to a shoulder injury.
Mark Hendrie and Craig Dickson combined late in the game to set up Boggie to net the third and decisive goal.
Leith boss Derek Riddel said: “I’m pretty disappointed at taking nothing from the game. We tried to play throughout but just couldn’t get the second goal.”
Kevin Twaddle, meanwhile, admitted his Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale side claimed a “victory we probably didn’t deserve” as they ensured top-tier title rivals Tynecastle left Saughton Enclosure empty-handed.
Connor McDonald opened the scoring for Lothian before Dean Cummings prodded home an equaliser. With Lothian creating little in the way of goalscoring opportunities, they were dealt a huge slice of luck in injury time as Chris Milligan’s effort took a heavy deflection and spun into the net.
Twaddle said: “It was a victory we probably didn’t deserve against a good Tynecastle side. But, the boys showed great character and sometimes you need that little bit of luck to win titles.”
Tynie boss Dougie Dalgleish reflected on the poor finishing and bad luck that befell his team. “We played really well, but need to convert the chances we create,” said Dalgleish. “The last-minute own goal was hard to take.”
Heriot-Watt University and Civil Service Strollers, who were both slumped at the foot of the table on seven points before the weekend, each upset the odds to grind out victories away from home. Three points for each side sees them remain joint-bottom of the league, but climb to within three points of third-bottom Leith Athletic.
An added bonus for Watt and Strollers was that their wins came against fellow bottom-half clubs, with the students defeating Coldstream – now just four points from the basement – 1-0 at Home Park and Strollers winning 2-0 at sixth-placed Spartans.
Standings: Craigroyston 26pts, Lothian Thistle HV 25pts, Stirling University 25pts, Tynecastle 22pts, Edinburgh University 20pts, Spartans 19pts, Coldstream 14pts, Leith Athletic 13pts, Heriot-Watt Uni 10pts, CS Strollers 10pts