Burgh Move One Step Closer To Title

Haddington Athletic 0 Musselburgh Athletic 2

 

Report by Gordon Baird

Musselburgh took a step closer to being crowned McBookie.com East Premier League Champions when they comfortably saw off a lack lustre Haddington side in an entertaining game tonight. The League leaders controlled most of the game and scored two early goals and apart from a late rally never looked in danger of losing. Indeed, the margin of victory might have been far greater if not for some fine stops from the Haddington keeper.

For the second time in five days Haddington Athletic faced a huge match at Millfield. This time it was a derby with runaway league leaders Musselburgh Athletic. This was the third time the sides have locked horns this season: Haddington won a marathon penalty shootout after it finished goalless in the Fife and Lothians Cup back in October and the “honest toun” men took the league points at Olivebank in February, in a match closer than the final score line suggested.

The Millfield side are unbeaten at home in the league and Musselburgh have lost only once on the road in the league this season. Both sides are good form, Haddington defeating Tayport and Musselburgh overcoming Dunbar last Saturday. Haddington sit third in the table behind their visitors and on goal difference behind Fauldhouse United.

There was a good crowd in attendance to see the teams kick off on a spring like evening with a chilly wind blowing down the pitch. The visitors were straight on the offensive and King was nearly on the end of a Cherrie cross as early as the second minute. However, a minute later they took the lead. Former Haddington player MYLES fired in a shot from outside the box and it found its way into the far corner – Alysandratos in the home goal will feel he might have done better!

With 7 minutes played Musselburgh were again on the front foot. Murphy had a shot which Alysandratos turned away for a corner which the keeper did well to punch clear. There was 9 minutes played before Haddington registered a shot on goal and it was a Hamill free kick which went just wide.

With only 12 minutes played the visitors doubled their advantage. There was some good interplay between King and Donaldson on the left and with the Haddington defence claiming offside, MACDONALD steered his shot wide of Alysandratos.

The second goal seemed to sting the hone side into action and after 20 minutes Moffat gave Jones a shooting chance. His effort was going wide of the far post when Quinn slid in, but he couldn’t make contact with the ball.

Half way through the half King was nearly on the end of a through ball but Alysandratos just beat him to the ball as the players collided. With 25 minutes played Jones should have done better but shot wide from a good position.

With 29 minutes played Moffat leaped to flick a header from a corner goal wards but Davie did well to clear from under the bar. Burgh then had two efforts in a minute-  Alysandratos did well to grasp a Davie effort before Whyte sent a shot wide.

Haddington were much more in the game now and both Hill and Jones had efforts on goal. Just before the break MacDonald played in King but Alysandratos pulled off a good stop. The visitors went in two up at the break and were well worth their lead. Haddington were poor in the first 45 minutes and although they improved as the half wore on were very clearly second best.

Half Time: Haddington Athletic 0 Musselburgh Athletic 2

Neither side made any changes at the break, but Haddington were dealt a blow after 49 minutes when skipper Inglis went off injured to be replaced by Devlin.

Musselburgh started off when they left off and a King shot was fumbled by Alysandratos after it had gone through Hamill’s legs. Haddington’s first effort of the half was a dipping effort by Berry.

After 55 minutes Murphy played in King who looked to be upended by Alysandratos but, referee Snedden waved away their claims. Minutes later Cherrie was in but the keeper saved well and Cunningham completed the clearance. In their next attack Whyte was in but the goalkeeper did well to rush from his goal and deny him.

Haddington then withdrew Brown and introduced Cairney. Haddington were creating little in attack, but Quinn had a shot in 69 minutes. Davie then shot over for the visitors. After 75 minutes Whyte went off to be replaced by Moffat. King then had a header which the home keeper saved well.

Cunningham was now playing up front as Haddington chased the game and Moffat gave him a chance with 5 minutes left, but he shot wide. King then had yet another chance for Burgh but again Alysandratos made a good save. Haddington immediately went down the other end and Jones crossed for Moffat who volleyed his effort against the cross bar.

Haddington were now looking more dangerous than at any other time in the match and Cunningham brought out a great stop from Adams. With time running out substitute Moffat ran in on goal for the visitors – his audacious chip looked to have ended up in the back of the net, but it landed on top!

Apart from those last few efforts Haddington never looked likely to peg Musselburgh back and will be disappointed at their performance. Burgh did their job professionally and showed why they are well clear at the top of the division. Best for Haddington were the classy Hamill and Alysandratos. The visitors were solid all round with no failures.

Haddington make the trip to Kirriemuir to play the local Thistle on Saturday while Musselburgh visit Thornton Hibs in Fife.

 Haddington Athletic: Alysandratos, Brown, Hamill, Paterson, Cunningham, Inglis, Hill, Berry, Moffat, Quinn and Jones. Subs: Cairney, Cropley, Devlin, Quinn, Torrance, Cockburn.

Musselburgh Athletic: Adams, Lynch, Gray, Myles, Murphy, Cherrie, King, Davie, Donaldson, Whyte, MacDonald Subs: McManus, Moffat, Shand, Tufail.

Referee: Iain Snedden.

 

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