Whitehill Welfare assistant manager Stevie Adams admitted his side enjoyed a slice of luck but ultimately deserved the points as they inflicted Edinburgh City’s first home league defeat in well over a year.
Sean Martin’s second-half opener was adjudged to have crossed the line before Ross Allum equalised for City. Kevin Keane restored Welfare’s lead before late goals from Sean Wringe and Jack Jardine ensured a stunning 4-1 win for Grant Carnie’s men.
Adams conceded that he didn’t think Martin’s shot had crossed the line but was delighted with the second-half display. “To be honest, I didn’t think it was in,” he said. “At first I thought it was close to being offside and from where I was it didn’t look anywhere near in. To be fair to the assistant, she was right up with it and gave it immediately. We’ve not really had much luck this season but I thought we still had enough to get the three points.
“We said to the boys at half-time that we’ve only won one second half all season. We’ve been doing well in first halves but leaving it in the changing room at half-time so it was a case of taking it on to the park.”
Whitehill’s Connar Easton was the first of the two goalkeepers to be tested during a scrappy opening, throwing himself to his left to palm away Allum’s early free kick. City skipper Dougie Gair then saw his first-time drive deflect wickedly off John Williams, which fortunately for the visitors, flew over the bar with Easton wrong footed. Williams again intervened to prevent Allum’s goal-bound volley going in following John Dunn’s scooped delivery.
The deadlock was broken by the visitors just four minutes after the restart in controversial circumstances. Martin’s powerful volley crashed off the underside of the crossbar and was adjudged to have bounced over the line before coming back out by the stand-side assistant – a decision the City players vehemently protested.
The champions were fired up, perhaps due to feeling a sense of injustice and squared things up on 64 minutes. A short corner between Mark McConnell and Ortega Deniran was brilliantly worked to Chris McKee at the edge of the area. The defender’s clipped delivery was met by Allum eight yards out, who nodded over the on-rushing Easton.
Wringe should have restored Welfare’s lead after Jamie Devlin’s lofted pass put him in on goal. The striker did well to bring the ball down but proceeded to lift his attempted lob well over. But Keane succeeded where Wringe failed just moments later. His cross-shot sailed over Amos before clipping the bar and nestling in the net, with the home side having no cause for complaint to the assistant this time.
If anything, Whitehill looked more likely to add to their lead than the hosts did to equalise, and they duly did to seal the points with four minutes left. Substitute Craig Anderson showed good feet before dissecting the City defence with a through ball to Wringe who slotted home. There was even time for the Midlothian side to add some gloss to the scoreline as Jardine sent a wonderful free kick sailing into the top corner in stoppage time.
Gary Jardine admitted his team weren’t at the races but took nothing away from Whitehill.
“I wouldn’t say 4-1 was a reflection on the game but I wouldn’t deny that Whitehill deserved to win,” he said. “I thought the referee had a great view of their first goal and didn’t give it but the assistant referee’s looking across.”
Edinburgh City: Amos, McAteer, Donaldson, McKee, Dunn, McFarland (Osborne 80), McConnell, Gair, Allum, Muhsin (Deniran 62), MacDonald (Caddow 69).
Whitehill Welfare: Easton, Nisbet, Keane, Murray, Williams, McGlashan, Muir (Jardine 87), Connolly (Anderson 80), Wringe, Martin, Devlin (Manson 84).