The Burgh returned to East Shore Park following the previous week’s excitement of a League Cup victory over Fife neighbours Hill of Beath Hawthorn and then being pitted against Premier Division league leaders Linlithgow Rose. It was always going to be a tough game and one that the team needed to be cautious of.
Ciaran Mayne had the Burgh’s first chance in the 2nd minute heading wide, whilst Struan Grieve had two efforts in the 17th minute with Kellar Harris unfortunately being in the wrong place to block his team-mate’s effort with the rebound falling to the Burgh left-back whose looping header was tipped over the bar.
Sives had a good chance for Easthouses in the 19th minute when through on goal but David Chalmers was quickly out to save. At the other end Ruairidh McPhate went close with a cross-shot that deceived the visiting keeper and fizzed just wide of the far post.
It was a niggly game with a few robust challenges in. The visiting no.2 Smith picked up a yellow card in the 34th minute for a crunching tackle on McPhate by the touchline and then a few moments later picked up a needless second yellow, and therefore a red, for a deliberate handball by the half way line on the stroke of half time.
In between that, Andrew Cameron came to the Burgh’s rescue heading an effort off the line in a half that had few chances.
Manager Allan Moody and rolled the dice at half time bringing on returning-from-injury Cai Macdonald and Hamid Eddouss. The reward was almost instant as in the 48th minute Kellar Harris set on a run from the half way line, outpacing the trailing centre back captain of Easthouses (more of that pairing in a moment) and fired home past the approaching keeper to give Newburgh the lead. It was a smart finish as the Burgh no.11 had, maybe, too much time to think about what to do.
The referee was having a challenging afternoon and needed eyes in the back of his head as little spats were happening all over the park. Whilst dealing with an incident near the dugouts involving a disgruntled Easthouses fan unhappy with a throw-in decision, a cowardly off-the ball incident happened on the edge of the visitor’s penalty area. The visiting skipper decided to take this opportunity to rake his studs down Harris’s Achilles whilst the ref was pre-occupied elsewhere.
At full time, the view of Harris’s injury looked very nasty as he headed off to hospital for stitches which looks like will rule him out for a bit. That is the way the rest of the half finished off with tempers starting to fray with both sides picking up bookings in the final 10 minutes.
But the Burgh held on for the three points which increases daylight on the teams in the relegation places, who we are all still to play starting with Ormiston visiting next Saturday. It was a pleasing result, though, with another clean sheet in a game that Burgh would have potentially thrown away earlier in the season which is a mark of the progress being made. It wasn’t a pretty game that will live in the memories, but it was a banana skin avoided.