Arthurlie Utd 2 v 1 Leith Athletic

It was a deeply disappointing weekend for Leith Athletic with a game that should have seen the team travelling back from Glasgow with three points in the bag turning into a potentially damaging loss in terms of league title aspirations.

The trip through to play Arthurlie United in the far flung reaches of Barrhead in the west of Glasgow represented a good chance to pick up some league points after a combination of cup matches and weather postponements had put the league campaign on hold.

But the anticipation that built up on the journey along the M8 quickly evaporated when Arthurlie took an early lead through a headed goal from a free-kick.

Jamie Lauder, playing in an unfamiliar right midfield role was quick to hold his hands up for failing to track the run of the home side’s no11 and his looped header beat Iain Gordon in Leith’s goal.

Leith showed good fight to get themselves back into the game midway through the first half when Andy Penman struck a great low shot in off the post from 20 yards.

Following the early scare there seemed at that point there would only be one winner with Leith dominating much of the possession and territorial advantage.

However, a failure to close down in midfield saw Arthurlie’s no6 fire a long ball over the head of Gary Young at right back and as the home side’s left winger looked to cut inside on goal the ball seemed to strike the Leith captain’s arm and the referee duly pointed to the spot.

It was a harsh decision in that the handball was entirely accidental but by the letter of the law a penalty was the correct decision and Leith found themselves behind again.

A minor tactical alteration saw Lauder moved to left midfield and come more into the game while Penman was moved to the right-side of midfield where he continued to provide a threat to the Arthurlie defence – although there no doubt the Arthurlie central defenders would have been glad to have him out of their hair. 

The second half represented Glasgow’s answer to the Alamo with Leith piling on the pressure and carving out several gilt-edged chances. However the normally deadly Dale McCall, who had shot wide when one on one with the keeper in the first half, squandered another great chance when he shot straight at the goalkeeper from eight yards.

It would be wrong to pinpoint McCall – who would usually have several mortgages riding on his shoulders when he gets a chance on goal – as the only culprit as Leith contrived to miss enough chances to win the game several times over.

The visitors were strangely denied a penalty when a goal-bound Lauder free-kick was handled by an Arthurlie defender in the wall but, despite the fact the original free-kick was no more than five or six yards outside the box, the referee decided the handball took place outside the box and awarded another free kick on the edge of the area. Lauder’s second effort missed by inches.

The game was perfectly summed up by Arthurlie no10 at the final whistle who told me: “We’ve lost games where we have absolutely hammered the other team as well.”

In truth, it was one of Leith’s better performances in recent weeks with good football played and plenty of chances created. But ultimately these chances were not converted and the performance was of no comfort heading back to Edinburgh empty handed.

Man of the match: Chris Beaton played well at sweeper but Leith’s best performer had to be Penman. After receiving some stick on e-mails last week he delivered his best performance of the season and capped it with a great goal. He was unhappy about being moved to right midfield following a good start to the match up front but continued to provide a threat throughout.

Dick of the day: This is a harsh award given his excellent goalscoring record for Leith but McCall will know that Filip Sebo’s gran could have tucked away the best two chances of the game.

Leith (4-4-2): Gordon, Young, Beaton, Wallace (Drago), Thom, Lauder, Connor, R Stewart, McAuley, Penman, McCall (Radzynski)

Next game: Saturday 23 Feb KO 1.30pm. Great chance to bounce back in a home match at Leith Links against the much fancied West Kilbride in the 6th round of the Scottish Cup. The winners play Lothian Thistle or Redhall Ams in the last 16.

One Response

  1. Hi David, I enjoyed reading your reports … good edgey stuff … could you email me please for a quick chat about some ideas please. Cheers, Euan

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