Relegated Whitehill Welfare win for first time since September
Ian Little’s team, who were relagated just more than a fortnight ago, finally ended a winless run stretching back to last September by consigning the Students to an 11th-place finish in the sunshine at East Peffermill.
In truth, the Midlothian outfit fully merited all three points from an entertaining end-of-season contest against Dorian Ogunro’s side, many of whom will have turned their attentions towards a busy exam period.
The only goal arrived in the eighth minute as Scott Wright and Jordan Bain linked up, the latter steering a volley past keeper Mark Tait into the bottom corner. Midfielder Sean Lally almost doubled the lead after powering a header from Anthony Laing’s cross just wide of the far post after 16 minutes.
Jack Wright forced Tait into a finger-tip save moments later but the home side were reduced to ten men on the stroke of half-time after Mark Gair picked up two yellow cards in quick succession.
Lally prevented an equaliser with six minutes remaining, following a superb last-ditch goal-line clearance to secure only their second success of a largely forgettable campaign.
Several members of the University squad were playing their final games for the club before graduating and moving on to pastures new this summer.
Midfielder Ewan Ritchie, who has more then 100 competitive games for the students.
“Being part of the football club over the last two seasons has been a fantastic experience and joining that group of students has made my time at the University even more memorable,” stated the 23-year-old chemical engineering student.
“Playing for the firsts in such a competitive league is something I never thought I’d have done, so that has been a massive personal achievement.
“Dorian (Ogunro) and Dave (McMillan) deserve a huge amount of credit for the work they do. Their training sessions are brilliant, and I can’t speak highly enough of them.
“They’ve improved me a lot because of the coaching I’ve received since making the step up, I really didn’t think I would’ve progressed as much as I have.
“I think that is partly the reason why we continue to compete well at this level. We’re up against teams like East Kilbride and Kelty who have a lot of money in the bank and might be a level above us based on where they are in the table.
“But for us to stay in this league and continue that good work every season speaks volumes of the coaches and students who continuously put the time and effort in.”
Elsewhere, Spartans won the battle to finish in the top four after Dougie Samuel’s men defeated Cumbernauld Colts 6-2 at Ainslie Park.
The champions required a point to finish above local rivals Civil Service Strollers but with, a 15-goal swing already in their favour, they sealed an emphatic win to bring the curtain down on their domestic campaign.
A Blair Atkinson hat-trick, substitute Jason Stevens’ second-half double and one for Alan Brown cancelled out a brief response from Colts’ duo Sean Brown and Fraser Team.