Whitehill Welfare received a much-needed morale boost as they edged out visitors Edinburgh City 3-1 at Ferguson Park – a scoreline, though, home manager Mike Lawson admitted flattered his side. With the game on a knife edge at 1-1 with just seven minutes remaining, the hosts fired two late strikes to condemn City to their fourth defeat of the campaign.
Lawson said in the aftermath: “3-1 certainly flatters us but we are delighted with the result considering the circumstances as we were down to the bare bones with several key players missing.
“I thought it was quite an even game and the guys that haven’t played much for us were tiring badly. We got a few breaks and, like every game of football, there are ups and downs and we could have quite easily lost the match.”
The Ferguson Park surface is in pristine condition, but both sides struggled to find their rhythm in the opening ten minutes with the long ball too often proving to be the wrong option.
However, the home side gradually started to assert some authority on their opponents as a terrific searching ball from Michael Bruce picked out team-mate Daniel Noon, but just as the big striker was about to pull the trigger, City’s Shaun Harrison got in a terrific block to divert the ball out for a corner.
City captain Dougie Gair then found space up the right touchline and his ball across the six-yard box wasn’t anticipated by City’s front pairing as the ball was eventually cleared from the Whitehill penalty area.
The opener arrived after 35 minutes and it was a cheap goal to concede from the visitors’ point of view. Darren McGlashan picked up on a loose ball played out from the City rearguard and he unselfishly laid the ball into the path of Aaron Somerville, who picked his spot and sent a low shot beyond Andrew Stobie and into the net from 16 yards.
However, almost instantaneously, Whitehill returned the favour. A ball up the left from Gair appeared to carry little threat, but striker Peter Stenhouse harried down his opponent and managed to outmuscle Bruce to the ball before the No. 9 had all the time to curl his shot across Ryan McGurk and into the far corner to pull his side level.
City appeared rejuvenated by their goal and ended the opening 45 the stronger, also coming closest just after the interval as Ian McFarland drove into the heart of the Whitehill box before his shot was well blocked by McGurk and, unfortunately for the lurking Stenhouse, his header came back off the left post.
The woodwork then denied the visitors once more as this time Mark McConnell crashed a left-footed drive off the crossbar with the Whitehill defence all at sea. However, the home side’s patience paid dividends as defender Gareth Thom expertly guided the ball into the net via the left post after Jordan Finnie’s corner after 83 minutes.
Noon should have made it three as he passed up a gilt-edged chance, but Andrew Kidd did wrap things up at the death with a well-taken effort which flew past Stobie from the edge of the area.
A dejected City manager Gary Jardine found it difficult to accept having failed to take at the very least a point from a match his team were on top for long spells, but commended his players’ overall work ethic and commitment. He said: “Whitehill were determined to stop the rot after losing two games in a row and we thought we just had to turn up. But we changed the formation after half an hour and I thought for 60 minutes we were the better side.
“I don’t want to be hard on my players as they gave it everything and we’ve just been unlucky.”
Whitehill Welfare: McGurk, McGlashan, Thom, Bruce, Noon, Sproule, Manson, Kidd, McLaughlin (Finnie 78), Somerville, Martin (Shearer 75). Subs: Hall, Young, Dolan.
Edinburgh City: Stobie, Caddow, Donaldson, Harrison, Paterson, McFarland (Torrance 64), Devlin, Gair, Stenhouse, Vanson (Wilson 80), McConnell (Guthrie 78). Sub: Bain.