Home cup match played on 02 March 2024.
Kicked off at 2:30 PM

New manager Andy Healy’s first game in charge of Newburgh came with a difficult challenge of First Division Preston Athletic to East Shore Park in the League Cup.

If there was any need to for the new man to see the size of the job at hand, it only took 41 seconds to see it as Burgh continued their dismal theme of conceding an early goal as a throw in deep into the box evaded everyone before bouncing up and being met by Weekes who nodded over Joe Russell to give the visitors the lead.

Debutant from Dundonald Bluebell 20s, Kierren Ritchie had Burgh’s first chance dragging a free kick wide of goal in the 3rd minute.

But the Burgh struggled to clear their lines and in the 18th minute Currie rattled the woodwork at the far post from a corner on the left. It was brief respite as moments later Preston added their 2nd following another corner, this time on the right, Burgh didn’t clear the danger and Preston were able to seemingly flick it around the six-yard box with Currie laying it off to Weekes to net his second goal of the game.

Weekes was gunning for his hat-trick and curled an effort around the post moments before Preston added their third on 27 minutes. Another throw-in caused issues and Briggs flicked onto McIntosh to run onto and slot home past Russell.

Preston, to their credit, continued to press the Burgh defence deep and both Briggs and Gillan went close with efforts from the edge of the area.

As the second half started, Preston beat the offside trap sending Briggs through one-on-one on Russell. As he attempted to round the keeper, Russell was adjudged to have brought down the Preston striker. The referee, perhaps, showed a bit of leniency by awarding the penalty and just a yellow card for the keeper with Briggs electing to deny his team-mate a hat-trick and sent the keeper the wrong way to make it 4-0.

Russell was kept busy and pulled off a couple of excellent saves from Briggs on 56 minutes and McFarlane’s driving run on 64 minutes. Weekes then missed another chance to net his third when he shot wide of the far post.

The Preston keeper was having a relatively quiet afternoon but kept his concentration as he held onto Ronan Hall’s low shot on 71 minutes.

In the 80th minute, it was Burgh’s chance to intercept a Preston throw and Lewis Stevenson latched onto the loose ball to send a beautiful inch-perfect pass to Mitchell Sharp to run onto just inside the penalty area but Sharp’s effort was blocked by the diving challenge of Donaldson to divert for a corner.

From the result set-piece, the ball wasn’t cleared by Preston and the ball fell to Jowitt who poked goalwards and was met by Stevenson slid in to finish at the far post. Preston initially appealed for offside but there was a defender on the goal-line playing Stevo on.

It was a disappointing result for a Burgh side low on confidence, but the blessing – if you choose to see it that way – is that two Cup games in a row (the second this Saturday) gives the manager a chance to study and learn more about his players before a League game comes around on March 16th.

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