Musselburgh boss has headache ahead of semi-final

Craig Young scores from the spot for Broxburn.. Picture: Toby Williams
Craig Young scores from the spot for Broxburn.. Picture: Toby Williams
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Musselburgh Athletic boss Stevie McLeish rued his decision to rest several regulars ahead of the first leg of their Junior Cup semi-final against Linlithgow Rose, but he is adamant that Saturday’s result will have little bearing on events at Prestonfield this weekend.

Four changes were made from the side which lost for just the second time at home this season, with first-choice goalkeeper Ally Adams dropping to the bench along with Andrew Munro and Darren Smith, while winger Lewis Turner was suspended.

“Maybe I should’ve went with my strongest team, but hindsight is a wonderful thing and you do what you think is the right thing at the time and unfortunately we lost the game,” said a disappointed McLeish.

“We gave boys the opportunity to make a claim for a starting position [for the semi-final] and they didn’t really do themselves any justice, although I don’t think any of the boys who were probably guaranteed a starting position covered themselves in glory either.

“I don’t think we were great defensively – we were kind of unsettled and nobody is to blame for that bar me as I picked the team. I’m not concerned going into next week at all, if anything I’m more 
focused about how we are going to approach it and proof will be in the pudding come next Saturday.”

Broxburn were quick to test out Burgh keeper Murray Jackson early on as they sought their first home win of 2015. The 22-year-old, on loan from Spartans, made two excellent saves from Paul McQuade and Robert Manson efforts – the second a reflex stop from Manson’s volley, but he could not prevent left-back Craig Young from opening the scoring after 23 minutes.

Centre-back Robert Wilson tripped striker McQuade in the box and Young sent his penalty straight down the middle.

The visitors responded and levelled through striker Steven Thomson 13 minutes later when he lashed past keeper Gary Maley from inside the area. Musselburgh began to show glimpses of getting into their rhythm after the equaliser, however they were undone by an own goal just before the break.

Zander Miller’s cross into the area wasn’t dealt with and a mix-up involving Jackie Myles and Gary Hamilton resulted in the former sending the ball into his own net past the helpless Jackson.

Buoyed by regaining their lead, the hosts went in search of another after the interval, with Craig Scott a pivotal figure in the heart of their midfield. Striker Miller should’ve done better, but was perhaps off balance when he got on the end of Manson’s cross and couldn’t direct his attempt on target.

Burgh’s top goalscorer Jordyn Sheerin had been kept quiet by the Broxburn defence all afternoon until he was presented with a free shot at goal from the penalty spot on 58 minutes, which he duly dispatched.

Two minutes later and he was inches away from his 18th league goal of the season, but saw his effort from substitute Ewan Ralton’s cross rebound off the bar.

Almost instantly, Broxburn were back in front as Brian Fairburn’s strike from outside the area took a nick off defender Alex Christie’s head and looped over Jackson.

Burgh seemed deflated by the strike and their hosts didn’t ease up as they increased their lead to five with a further two goals inside the following seven minutes, with both coming from former Bo’ness youngster Miller.

The frontman converted 
Nicholas Locke’s delivery from close range after escaping his marker, before he broke through the middle at a canter and fired in low across Jackson.

Burgh substitute Munro reduced the deficit with five minutes remaining when he headed in Thomson’s free-kick from the right.

Broxburn manager Steve Pittman enjoyed the three points as his side moved level with Burgh in sixth place in the Super League table, he said:

“Our home record hasn’t been great and we’ve been at our worst here, but for 20-25 minutes of the second half we got the ball down, passed it about well and scored three goals.

“I wouldn’t say we the far better team, I think Musselburgh just had their mind on next week.”

Broxburn Athletic: Maley, Mampuya, Young, Rarity, Millar, Scott, Fairbairn (Munn), Manson (Cormack), Miller, McQuade (Gray), Locke.

Musselburgh Athletic: Jackson, Christie, Hamilton (Munro), Wilson, Russell (Martin), Davie (Ralton), Myles, Hunter, Beveridge, Thomson, Sheerin.