Date : 3rd February 2024
Opposition : Armadale Thistle
Venue : Away
Scorers : None
Booked : Christian Temple, Ross Aitchison, Miguel Kamgna
Sent Off : None
Attendance : 152
Referee : Richard Macartney
Team Lineup :
Rhys Bloomfield (c)
Miguel Kamgna on for Sam Straughan 54 mins
Jay Atkinson on for Rhys Bloomfield 77 mins
Match Report :
In the end, this was a comfortable if not comprehensive win for second in the table Armadale though Tweedmouth left a very blustery Volunteer Park still pondering how they failed to get on the score sheet. A major reason was the performance of home keeper Andrew Murphy who played his part in a well organised team which was that bit sharper and clinical in their play. On four or five occasions, Murphy defied Rangers when an away goal looked imminent.
His first stop came after just two minutes when he dived to turn away a strong drive from Craig Bell. He did even better ten minutes later. Rangers captain Rhys Bloomfield got round the cover on the right flank to aim for goal. Murphy dealt with this shot and then, whilst still on the ground and with the ball loose, also denied Bell when he ran in for the kill.
Tweedmouth were already a goal down by this stage. Defender Tomas Murphy joined the advance up the left with Kameron Jackson claiming what looked like a wind assisted goal. A favourable bounce of the ball on the plastic pitch helped Craig Baillie through the middle towards goal but Ryan Dunn came out promptly to turn his shot away for a corner.
Thistle’s second goal came via the same route as their opener. Josh Gillespie had already fired across goal from the left and even though Dunn managed to get a hand to the ball was on target in the 20th minute.
Soon afterwards, in a rare show of fallibility, keeper Murphy could not keep hold of a long, high free kick from Craig Heath. Ross Aitchison whipped the ball across to Sam Straughan but from close in, he launched it over the bar.
Armadale also showed how to defend in numbers succeeding in forcing on loan Richard Tambwe to have a crack from 30 yards after Tweedmouth got nothing from an almighty scramble inside the home penalty area. It was a similar story nearer the break, this time Aitchison having a go from further out.
Armadale needed just two minutes of the second half to further increase their lead. A corner ball from the right landed at the feet of Jack Sayers, in the clear at the far post, who promptly planted it into the net.
On 65 minutes, the ‘Dale’ punished some sloppy outfield Tweedmouth play by sending one of their characteristic long wide balls to Jackson who, with Dunn well off his line, spotted his chance to deliver into what was effectively an empty net.
Bloomfield got past men to flash a shot just wide from the edge of the box. Inside it, following the involvement of Christian Temple and Bell, Jay Atkinson was poised to notch a consolation but as with Tambwe’s earlier longer range effort, Murphy’s fist proved as effective as Tyson Fury’s as he instinctively punched the ball to safety.
Despite some late home pressure, there would be no fifth goal. Dunn fisted a Gillespie corner skywards before Evan Smith stepped in to block Chris Aikamhenze’s bid to make his mark from just a few yards from the line. Dunn was taken by surprise but was still able to save Kris Kelly’s snapshot after a quickly taken free kick and also held the final kick of the game from Jayden Fairley.
The teams are due to meet again at Shielfield next Saturday, February 10th, (kick off 2:30 p.m.) in a game postponed from last month.