Borders Select 0
Edinburgh and Lothian Select 1
BAFA CHALLENGE MATCH
ALAN CLARK reports from Netherdale 3G
LEITHEN Rovers boss Paul Graham feels the Border amateur select team can go from strength to strength after helping to lead the side to a credible performance in its first outing in 10 years.
Graham, co-manager of the regional representative team alongside Gala Rovers boss Steven Noble, saw the select squad push their Lothian and Edinburgh opponents all the way at Netherdale before succumbing to a late goal by the visitors’ Mikey Yuill.
But Graham took heart from the performance of the local players before a crowd of around 150 at the Galashiels ground and suggested that a rematch in Edinburgh, as well as further challenge matches against other associations, could be just around the corner. He told TheSouthern: “We were very pleased with how our lads performed and thought we deserved some kind of result on the back of that. For a first game, it’s a great platform to build on and hopefully we can progress and improve.
“The Lothian and Edinburgh team were a good side and punished us for some slack defending, but it was our only real mistake in the 90 minutes.”
The opening 10 minutes of the game was lit up by some frantic action, but without either side creating any clear-cut opportunities.
Graham and Noble in the Borders dugout must have drawn a sharp intake of breath after 11 minutes of play when home goalkeeper Chris Watson brought down visiting striker Yuill near the edge of the box. Instead of brandishing a red card and awarding a penalty, the referee adjudged a yellow card and a free-kick – which was then wasted – as sufficient punishment for Watson.
Langholm Legion midfielder Alistair Little came close shortly before half-time. Little chose to shoot from the right-hand side of the penalty area instead of cutting the ball back and subsequently saw his low effort flash narrowly wide of the target.
Grant Wilson, the Tweeddale Rovers striker, bundled the ball into the Lothian net soon after the restart but saw his effort ruled out for offside. The striker nipped in at the back post from a free-kick, controlled the ball and then stroked home, but his celebrations were short-lived as he spotted the raised flag of the assistant referee.
The Borders remained largely on top for the opening 20 minutes, but were then pinned back on a couple of occasions by the influential Lothian striker Yuill. The visiting forward saw one effort strike the upright and then found only the side-netting with a second effort. However, with four minutes left, he hit the back of the net, beating Borders substitute goalkeeper Craig Weir to register the only goal of the game.
The battling Borderers tried in vain to penetrate the visiting goal in the dying minutes, and the host team can feel hard done by as they matched the winners in every department for the majority of the match.
Borders Select squad: Chris Watson, Ben Maxwell, Ryan Grant, Campbell Forsyth, Colin Smith, Taylor Hope, Alistair Little, Grant Robinson, Dean McColm, Grant Wilson, Callum Jardine, Nick Rogers, Callum Hope, Stephen Swanston, Brian Lugton, Steven King.