Lothian Thistle/Hutchison Vale 1
EOS Premier Division
John Slorance reports from Yarrow Park
IT HAS been a long time in coming, however it finally happened on Saturday at Yarrow Park.
After a mixed bag of poor performances, good performances and might-have-beens, Selkirk nailed their colours to the mast in recording their first league victory of the season. And what a deserved victory it was.
With regular keeper John Dodds missing and 16-year-old Bruce Connelly coming in as a replacement, the Souters rolled up their sleeves throughout this bottom-of-the-table clash and got their just rewards. Manager Mike McKinnon was thrilled with his side’s showing and told TheSouthern: “I am absolutely delighted – not so much for myself but for the players as they all worked so hard and showed great commitment.
“For a while we have been coming so near and yet so far from getting a win, but we managed to do it today and this was well deserved.
“Due to John Dodds having to pull out, we didn’t get off to the best of starts for the day, but young Bruce Connelly was an excellent replacement and can be proud of his display. The entire side was brilliant and I could not have asked for more.”
Matching the afternoon sunshine and the wind that gusted over the pitch, the game got off to a bright and breezy start and with just four minutes gone, Selkirk sailed into the lead. David Battle touched a long Michael Holness throw-in into the path of Jamie Gibson who drilled a shot out of the reach of visiting keeper Kevin Swain.
Lothian replied with a sweeping raid that saw Joe Murray break through, only to be grounded by a challenge from stand in keeper Connelly. The referee awarded a penalty, which seemed harsh as the Watson tumble had shades of a dive about it. Justice, however, was done when Watson fired wide from the spot.
After Connelly had saved well from Andy Sinclair, Lothian snatched an equaliser on the quarter-hour mark. Sinclair floated over a corner kick and the unmarked Connor Kane rose unchallenged to head home at the back post.
With the midfield working hard, Selkirk had the edge and Gibson came near to his second in shooting wide after a good run. Minutes later, the woodwork denied Lothian a goal when Omar Ali headed a Kane corner kick against the upright. Just on the interval, Connelly pulled off a superb save, tipping a Jamie Hawkins 25-yard drive over the bar.
With three minutes of the second period gone, Selkirk went ahead, courtesy of an own-goal, when a Lothian defender turned a corner kick past Swain in attempting to clear.
Selkirk kept up the good work and Holness beat Swain with a powerful, shot only to see his effort rebound off the post.
In the 72nd minute however, Selkirk struck again when Jonathan Watt thundered a Gibson pass into the net to end the scoring.
Talking of his Selkirk debut, rookie keeper Bruce Connelly said: “I have been on the bench for a while but never got a start until today. I got a text from manager Mike McKinnon in the morning telling me I was playing as John Dodds was unwell, so I didn’t have time to think about things.
“It was great to get a game for Selkirk and be in a winning team as well. My dad said he would give me £20 if Selkirk won, so it’s been a brilliant day for me.”
Selkirk: B. Connelly, L. Stephen, B. Milven, E. Pritchard, J. Inglis, J. Higgenbottom, M. Holness (J. Watt), D. Burdett (D. Boyne), J. Gibson, R. McManus, D. Battle.