Bellshill Athletic 2 Benburb 3
Report courtesy of Bens
The M8 motorway is gridlocked so we negotiate our way through the rush hour traffic across the M74 for this early midweek fixture on my very first visit to Rockburn Park. I`m co-piloting for Maisie so she doesn`t get lost and we arrive in plenty of time.
The set up is basic as it`s in its infancy and the pitch looks a bit bumpy, but at least it isn`t raining, I’m viewing from around the halfway line.
Hill kick off shooting away from the pavilion and win an early corner when A.Wright tracks back to close down on Robertson haring in on goal, Nichol sends the corner over from the near side and finds Simon in the box, but his header goes well over the bar.
A quickly taken free kick from the near side 25 yards out from Nichol through to Robertson in the box almost catches Bens defence flat, but Greer does well to get the tackle in and Bens clear the resulting corner.
Up the other end Livingston should have done better when Smith makes a hash of clearing his lines in the box and it falls nicely for the striker, but his curling shot goes inches past the near post.
Kane on the near side threads through to Smith in the box, but A.Wright gets a touch on it to concede the corner, Kane sends the corner in from the far side, Sommerville palms it on and A.Wright thumps it clear at the back post.
Blackwood on the far side lays on to K. Wright, he lays off for McCrone to fire a cross into the box where Livingston catches it sweetly on the half volley, but he can`t keep it down and it climbs over the bar.
A couple of minutes later Hill go in front when Nichol`s pass through the middle of a static Bens defence finds Brunton one on one with Sommerville and he gives the keeper no chance as he slots home, 1-0 (22).
An A.Wright throw-in from halfway on the far side finds K. Wright, he lays off inside to Blackwood who touches on for Gallacher, but he takes a touch too many and fires past the near post. Ngongo on the near side lays off to Livingston who threads a great ball through for Blackwood but his cross from inside the box on the near side is too high for McCrone and spins off the top of his head.
Livingston is booked (31) then there`s a quiet spell in proceedings before gaffer Paul Lovering is next to be booked (40) a minute later Greer sends a long ball to Livingston who knocks onto Gallacher racing in one on one with McGraw, but he drives his effort straight at the keepers legs.
Hill blew a great chance to go in at the interval two up when Chalmers tears into the box on the far side to cross to Robertson unmarked at the near post, but he sends his header wide from around 8 yards.
Half Time: Bellshill Athletic 1 Benburb 0
Quite an even start for the second spell with both teams pressing without much to show before Smith finds Brown on the near side at the edge of the box, but Sommerville takes his well struck shot at the near post.
Bens level the game when they are awarded a penalty when K. Wright takes a kick in the face from a high challenge in the box, Livingston steps up to calmly slam it past McGraw, 1-1 (51).
Gallagher tests McGraw with a 25 yard free kick, but the keeper reads it all the way, McCrone is then booked (59). Hill`s Howarth on the far side lays off to Kane to tuck inside to Nichol, he finds Simon on the far side who`s initial shot is charged down and Sommerville comfortably holds the rebound.
The game takes a turn in a seven minute spell when firstly Hill go down to ten men when Shaw gets a straight red for abusive language (63) four minutes later Bens take the lead when Greer on the halfway line finds Blackwood just outside the box, he lays off inside and the ball breaks kindly for Gallacher to race through and drive home over McGraw, 1-2 (67), then A. Wright rises unchallenged in the box to head home McCrone`s corner from the far side, 1-3 (69).
Bens freshen things up replacing K. Wright with Jarvie (70) then Soutar clears the danger when Nichol floats an inviting cross into the box, then Collinge does likewise with Kane`s near side corner. Hill bring on Simpson for Howarth and Bens replace Soutar and Livingston with Meechan and Metcalfe (78).
Kane on the far side lays off to Simpson who finds Brown in the box with time and space to slot home and its game on 2-3 (81).
A McCrone free kick from the far side finds Meechan, but his header goes wide of the near post. Bens mop up a Nichol corner from the near side then Sommerville is well positioned to hold a Nichol 25 yard free kick, Metcalfe picks up a late booking (92) and two minutes later its all over.
A great win for the troops tonight to put pressure on others below us, it was scrappy at times as the ball bobbled around but we got there in the end. M.o.T.M. tonight was a close call with a few nominations tied, but I’m giving it to Andy Wright, he was consistent at the back and topped a good performance off with a well taken goal, well done Andy.
On to Saturday when we welcome Lesmahagow to New Tinto Park for the first time, the Gow still have all to play for with a couple of games in hand whereas a win for Bens would all but consolidate our our place in this division, kick off 14.00.
Bellshill Athletic: McGraw, Chalmers, Howarth, Simon, Shaw, Brunton, Robertson, Smith, Brown, Nichol, Kane. Subs: Peat, McDonald, Simpson, Kulig, Grant(GK)
Benburb: Sommerville, Ngongo, A.Wright, Greer, Soutar, Collinge, McCrone, Gallacher, Livingston, Blackwood, K. Wright. Subs: Meechan, Metcalfe, P. Lovering, Jarvie.
Referee: Euan Birch.