Penicuik Athletic were knocked out of the East of Scotland Cup by current East Super League champions Lochee United
after putting on a strong second half show. Ringing the changes after last week’s narrow win against Oakley, Penicuik
were looking to follow up previous away victories against Carnoustie and Lochgelly in this competition but were undone by
an on form striker in Phillip Hagan.
Scott Gibb recalled to Penicuik’s defence conceded a free kick on the edge of the penalty area in the fifth minute
but Hannah’s hard driven effort was blocked by the defensive wall and cleared. Lochee kept up the pressure and Abbott
who was involved in most of Lochee’s best moves throughout the game crossed to the far post where Hagan on his own at
the back post headed over the bar.
Penicuik were struggling to get any cohesion into their play but in the fifteenth minute Gallagher and Cameron combined
to set up McDonald whose parting shot sailed high and wide. Lochee keeper Ross’s kick outs from both hand and dead ball
were landing in the Penicuik penalty area, turning defence quickly into attack and Hagan and Middleton were quick to feed
off any scraps thrown up by the Penicuik defence. With nineteen minutes gone, Foster was penalised for a trip on Middleton
twenty yards out. This time HAGAN stepped up to curl the ball around the end of
the defensive wall to give the home side the lead despite Penicuik’s debutant goalkeeper David Livie getting a hand
to the ball.
Within two minutes, Penicuik were two goals behind. The visitor’s defence failed to cut out a cross from the
right wing and HAGAN rose to bury a pinpoint header past the luckless Livie. In
the thirtieth minute, Barr replaced the injured Ryrie as Penicuik tried hard to get back into the game. Penicuik almost conceded
a third but Livie pushed a back post header out for a fruitless corner. Half time came with no alteration to the score line
and it was a disappointed Penicuik side who trooped off the park.
Half Time: Lochee United 2 v 0 Penicuik Athletic.
Within a minute of the resumption, Lochee were awarded a contested corner kick but the early danger was cleared. The
home side made an enforced change with Watson replacing the injured Kirk. Penicuik were once again enjoying a spell of pressure
but could not find a way through a quick tackling and organised Lochee defence. All that changed in the fifty ninth minute
when a long pass from Gallagher was headed back across goal by Steel to BARR who fairly thumped the ball past the despairing
Ross in the home goal. Penicuik were straight back on the attack and almost scored in the next minute. Foster headed a Gallagher
corner kick across goal and Ross somehow smothered Cameron’s point blank header on the goal line. Penicuik’s next
attack saw Foster well placed but his goal bound effort was deflected over the bar for a corner kick. Ross managed to deflect
Gallagher’s corner kick out for another corner as Penicuik kept up the pressure.
An argument developed between Hannah and Ross and appeared to carry on as the home side appeared rattled. In the seventieth
minute, Cole replaced the injured Cameron. Milne who had begun to dictate in
midfield with Barr in the second half shot wide as Penicuik chased the equaliser. Penicuik’s backline were still being
tested by Ross’s clearing kicks and Middleton broke free but Livie saved his well placed shot.
With thirteen minutes left on the clock, Cowan made his first appearance of the season for Penicuik after a long spell
out following an ankle operation and immediately took up a place in central defence beside Craig Meikle. Brian Foster was
pushed up front and his presence seemed to unsettle the Lochee back-line. Steel hooked a Lynch throw in narrowly past the
post as Hannah kept up his argument with Ross. The home bench team were in a frenzy at the efforts of their team when with
nine minutes left the game was settled. Another long ball from Ross found its way to HAGAN
and the Lochee striker took a touch before shooting past Livie for his personal hat trick and his team’s third goal.
Penicuik went back on the attack but a series of corner kicks came to nothing as the visitors kept on plugging away
in a much improved second half performance. With two minutes to go, Hagan almost added a fourth but his shot slid narrowly
past the post. Cowan received the first and only yellow card of the afternoon after giving some unwanted advice to the match
official. Hagan’s clinical finishing proved to be the difference between the sides on the day as Penicuik discovered
that any slack play was likely to be severely punished.