St Andrews United: No sunshine at Leith Athletic for Saints in second consecutive league setback

For the first time ever under the management of Robbie Raeside, St Andrews United suffered a second consecutive league loss when they went down 1-0 at Leith Athletic on Saturday.
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Raeside’s men – who had been defeated 4-1 at Rosyth just three days earlier – crashed again and are now fourth in the East of Scotland League first division with 21 points from 10 games.

Captain Scott Reekie was missing from United’s defence for last Saturday’s inaugural trip to the recently redeveloped Meadowbank Stadium and other notable players such as Kyle Sneddon, Owen Andrew, Craig Simpson, James Collins and Lewis Sawers were not in the starting line-up either.

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That meant a makeshift 11 took to the field on a cold and windy afternoon in Scotland’s capital city and neither side played particularly well throughout the first half with goalmouth chances being few and far between.

Owen Andrew (wearing white) was one of the key men missing at Leith Athletic (Library pic courtesy of St Andrews United)Owen Andrew (wearing white) was one of the key men missing at Leith Athletic (Library pic courtesy of St Andrews United)
Owen Andrew (wearing white) was one of the key men missing at Leith Athletic (Library pic courtesy of St Andrews United)

Leith’s Kayne Paterson almost scored on ten minutes, going through one-on-one with Calum Brodie, but the away goalie managed to make himself big and tip the ball over from Paterson’s shot.

After a goalless opening 45 minutes, Saints began the second period as the stronger outfit having brought Reekie and Collins off the bench immediately after the break.

Ryan McManus forced Jamie Smith into making his first save of note. Ryan Dignan also tested Smith with a decent shot during the opening stages of the second half but the pattern of the game completely turned around on the hour mark when Ryan Roche was shown a red card for fouling Paterson as the last defender.

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The Leith Athletic players clearly gained in confidence thereafter and James Scobie opened the scoring for his side in the 71st minute when he converted a deflected cross from a position near the back post.

Raeside thus rung the changes by replacing Tom Milne, Reece Redpath and Dave Shields with Sneddon, Lewis Grant and Carter Kelly respectively but the visitors again huffed and puffed in search of an equaliser.

Alas, too many Saints were guilty of taking heavy touches and the rhythm of the game was badly disrupted by players from both teams committing niggling fouls. The hosts consequently held firm until the final whistle with no further scoring opportunities.