Derek Hall's report from the game Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale v Musselburgh Athletic 9th March 2019

Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale v Musselburgh Athletic

Derek Hall was at the game on Saturday 9th March, this is his report on the game.

Cold and bright at Saughton Enclosure today but ultimately it was the bumpy, uneven surface and strong wind blowing straight down the pitch towards the dressing rooms which influenced proceedings most in this King Cup tie between Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale and Musselburgh Athletic. The away team started on the front foot with a couple of early efforts which came to nothing and it was 10 minutes before LTHV had a 20 yarder which sailed over the bar. After 16 minutes a dreadful goal kick from the away keeper went straight to an LTHV forward but an equally dreadful first touch saw the chance disappear. Then in 17 minutes M7 received the first yellow card of the game for a reckless tackle in midfield.

The game then entered a really poor period of play with nobody able to get control of the ball as the wind caused all sorts of problems and was only broken in 34 minutes with shot from about 35 yards from LTHV7 which went straight at the keeper and a minute later, LTHV9 turned well in the box but the shot was tame and easily saved. Finally in 40 minutes, the visitors broke the deadlock as a nice pass put the M9 into the box and he cut the ball across the face of the six yard area where the oncoming Nathan Evans rifled the ball into the far corner with the home side claiming in vain for offside. A minute later Musselburgh had muted claims for a penalty kick dismissed but the break saw Athletic maintain their slender 1-0 advantage.

LTHV has a good chance right at the start of the second period but the scuffed shot didn’t work the keeper. There then followed a sequence of three cautions in three minutes with two Musselburgh and one LTHV player finding their way into referee Jonathan Gall’s book. It was still somewhat poor stuff but in 61 minutes, Musselburgh had a great chance to give themselves some breathing space when Evans was put through one on one but as he struck his shot, the ball took a huge bobble on the dreadful surface and the shot sailed high and wide. After 64 minutes, M7 had to be carried from the field after making an excellent last ditch tackle to deny LTHV10 a run in on goal and five minutes later the home side fashioned their best chance of the game with a sweeping move down the left flank ending with a superb 25 yard drive being well tipped over by the Musselburgh keeper.

Evans has the ball in the net again after 76 minutes but was correctly chopped off for offside but after 83 minutes the same player finally made the tie safe when he was on hand to tap home after M17 had chased a lost cause and got to a long ball before the home keeper to set up the chance.

In the end a comfortable enough win for the away side who did just enough to see them into the next round in a forgettable game which was spoiled by a very strong wind and a poor playing surface. LTHV worked hard and were always in the game, but as the home side, they will be disappointed that they were unable to create more clear cut chances than the one or two they managed during the match.

Thanks Derek