St Andrews United.............2
This was a good result for United against a team who could have made better use of their chances, particularly in the second half.
The win took Saints up to second place in the East Region Premier League.
Both teams were tentative during first five minutes, with Bathgate making early moves in Saints’ half.
But it was the visitors who got the early breakthrough. A free kick was awarded 35 yards out near the left touchline – Sibanda released one of his ‘specials’ and Bathgate’s keeper, Watson, was caught out by the pace of it and failed to hold first time. Buchan nipped in to prod it past him for the opener.
Saints had a similar free kick seven minutes later but Sibanda’s fierce effort glanced off the head of a Bathgate midfielder, fell short and gathered by Watson.
It was Bathgate’s turn with a free kick in Saints’ half but ‘keeper Cargill held easily.
St Andrews had a penalty claim waved away, along with further chances for Buchan, Schiavone and Sibanda, while a chance volley by Bathgate’s Dalrymple went wide two minutes from the interval.
Nine minutes into the second half, Saints scored a well-worked goal.
Buchan chipped a ball forward to substitute Ireland and he played a great cut back to the feet of Sibanda, who hit it into the back of the net.
Bathgate were looking vulnerable at this time, with Ireland’s pace a major factor.
The home team, however, began to get more play on the break as Saints pushed for a third goal. In 60 minutes, a Bathgate break on the right saw a nice cross to an unmarked Dalrymple, who headed it past Cargill.
Dalrymple was proving Bathgate’s chief goal threat but Cargill pulled off a great save from him, while he was wide of the target with a couple of other chances.
Saints’ final effort came in 87 minutes when Ireland went close with a fine shot. An entertaining game, more so in the second half, saw a fair bit of open play from both teams.