Whitehill Welfare striker Scott Gormley admitted the Rosewell club were fortunate to emerge with all three points from their clash with ten-man Civil Service Strollers.
Gormley netted a second-half brace for David Bingham’s men at Christie Gillies Park as Welfare bounced back from last weekend’s loss to arch-rivals Spartans.
However, the hosts, who had defender Joe Dingwall sent off for deliberate handball in the 25th minute – Dale O’Hara spurning the chance to put the visitors ahead from 12 yards – could count themselves desperately unlucky not to have taken something for their endeavours.
Gormley’s cushioned header ten minutes from time edged Welfare in front and the 36-year-old wrapped up the points with virtually the last kick of the game.
“We just weren’t at the races for some reason,” the veteran frontman bemoaned. “We just couldn’t get a hold of the game. We created chances but they just weren’t ending up in the back of the net. But it’s always good to score goals as that’s what I’m there to do. Civil are a decent side though and have done well since coming into the league but they maybe just need to start believing in themselves more.
“It was always going to be important to bounce back after last weekend’s defeat by Spartans, particularly with January being a tough month for us.”
In fact it was Gormley who was the first to catch a glimpse of Stuart Burnside’s goal after latching on to O’Hara’s defence-splitting pass, but his tame effort could only find the side netting.
The home side responded, though, and Ian Ballantyne neat’s one-two with Matty Cunningham ended in the former’s shot being tipped around the post by visiting No.1 Bryan Young.
Young was again called into action moments later to deny David Stewart, the winger having dispossessed Stevie Manson inside his own penalty box.
The game sprung into life midway through the first half as Charlie Denton rounded Burnside but his goal-bound shot was stopped in its tracks by Dingwall on the line. Referee Evan Cairns issued a straight red card to the defender but his blushes were spared by O’Hara who blasted the resulting spot kick over the bar.
If anything Dingwall’s dismissal seemed to drive the league’s newcomers on as Stewart volleyed wide from a Steven Froude cross.
Strollers continued to press and David Churchill was a whisker away from giving his side the lead ten minutes after the restart as his shot had beaten Young but not defender John Williams whose timely clearance kept it goalless.
Matty Cunningham once again shone in the heart of the hosts’ midfield and his dipping drive from 25 yards flew inches past the upright.
Gormley, however, was on hand to steer home Connor Brydon’s cross via the underside of the bar in the 80th minute and added a second with a neat finish on the stroke of full-time.
Welfare also ended the match a man short as Brydon was wrongly shown a yellow card for simulation before the teenager picked up a second booking for a late tackle on Craig Newall.
Strollers boss Alex Cunningham felt his side were on the wrong side of a few contentious decisions.
“It (Dingwall) was never a sending off,” he said. “They (the officials) made some crazy decisions and I think they were pretty hard on us if I’m being honest. I didn’t think we were under any real pressure despite having ten men and I expected more from them. But I’ve got to give a lot of credit to our boys.”
Civil Service Strollers: Burnside, Campbell, Dingwall, Newall, Turnbull, Cunningham, Stewart, Clapperton (Laird 74), Froude, Ballantyne, Churchill (Brown 80). Subs: Greenhill, Milven, Watson, Kidd.
Whitehill Welfare: Young, O’Hara, Williams, Manson, Dodds, Brydon, Chalmers, Osborne, Denton (Dowie 61), Gormley, Russell. Subs: Jardine, Robertson, Healy.