Forth 4 Johnstone Burgh 4
Forth and Johnstone Burgh shared the spoils in an eight goal thriller at Kingshill Park this afternoon, with eight different players on the scoresheet. The Wanderers led 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2 but couldn’t kill off the visitors from Keanie Park and ultimately had to settle for a point. The Forth goals were scored by Tony Traynor, Kenny Wright from the penalty spot, Chris Gordon and Craig Crawford.
Forth made four changes from the team which lost to Maryhill last weekend with Ian Mathers,Allan Stevenson,Tony Traynor and Craig Crawford all starting.
Forth created the first chance in the 5th minute when good work from Craig Crawford in the midfield released Kenny Wright, but the striker flashed his shot across the goal and wide. The visitors responded when Fitzpatrick laid off a ball from the right into the path of William Stuart but again the resultant shot went wide. Jamie McKenzie then had to temporarily leave the field after a hefty challenge but resumed his position after treatment.
The play was flowing from end to end, as it did throughout the match, but it was the Wanderers who seized the initiative after 13 minutes. Crawford forced his way into the box and fed Wright whose shot was trundling towards the far corner of the net before Tony Traynor supplied the finishing touch from a couple of yards just ahead of a Burgh defender. Forth were on the front foot now and went further ahead a couple of minutes later from the penalty spot. Chris McGroarty fed Chris Gordon on the left and his cross was blocked by the arm of a Burgh defender and a spot kick awarded. Kenny Wright made no mistake from the spot beating Wilson low to his left.
Burgh reduced the deficit three minutes later when a powerful Fitzpatrick shot beat Hutchison high to his right although the keeper seemed to get a slight touch on the ball. Indeed, the Burgh number 10 was prominent throughout the match and had several chances to add to this goal. Marc Howson then replaced McKenzie who had been unable to shrug off his earlier injury. Conor Ramsay went close to equalising for the visitors when his clever chip just cleared the Forth crossbar.
Forth continued to press at every opportunity and a powerful Kenny Wright run released Chris Gordon who rounded keeper Wilson only to shoot into the side net from an acute angle. Craig Crawford then brought out a fine stop from Wilson down to his left from a rasping free kick. The third Forth goal was only delayed though and duly arrived in the 42nd minute. A free kick was launched into the box and Crawford challenged keeper Wilson who managed to punch clear but the ball was only cleared by the defence as far as Chris Gordon who dispatched an unstoppable shot into the top right hand corner.
As half time approached Burgh attempted to reduce the deficit but Wolencroft headed wide, Ramsay shot wide and Hutchison saved from Perrie to keep the score 3-1 to Forth at the interval.
Burgh began the second half in determined fashion and Cochrane shot just over before Fitzpatrick shot wide from a good position after Ian Mathers had mis-judged a cross from the right. Burgh then replaced Ramsay and Cochrane with Kelly and Dinnen, in what proved to be inspired substitutions, as they sought a way back into the game. Hutchison then pulled off a tremendous double stop from Fitzpatrick, conceding a corner in the process. Although the home keeper punched the ball clear, the ball was eventually played back in to the right of the box where Neil Dinnen had time and space to lob Hutchison and reduce the deficit on 65 minutes.
However, barely 5 minutes later the Wanderers had restored their two goal advantage when a quick ball out of defence found Kenny Wright just over the halfway line and his delightful flick released Craig Crawford and gave him a clear run in on goal. Crawford carried the ball forward before rounding the advancing keeper and slotting into the net, making it 4-2 to Forth with 20 minutes remaining.
At this stage no-one in the crowd would have bet against there being further goals and so it proved. Firstly, Forth were presented with a golden opportunity to kill off the game when keeper Wilson mis-kicked straight to Kenny Wright, but the Forth striker elected to shoot rather than take a touch and his shot flew over the bar. As Burgh chased the game, they were always susceptible to quick Forth breakaways but the referee enraged the home support with several contentious offside calls against Wright and Crawford in particular, as the home side did exactly that.
As the final 10 minutes dawned, Burgh stepped up the pace and were rewarded on 81 minutes when Martin McIntyre reduced the deficit. There looked little danger when he gathered the ball 25 yards out but his shot, aided by a slight deflection, flew past Hutchison and into the Forth net. The visitors now had the bit between their teeth and almost equalised a minute later when the ball was cleared from the Forth goal line. They were not to be denied however and levelled on 87 minutes when Grant Kelly swooped to score from close range despite the attentions of Stephen McQuade, who ended up with four stitches in his head for his troubles. As the game drew to a conclusion, a Chris McGroarty cross picked out Kenny Wright in the box and the striker controlled well on his chest only to shoot straight at keeper Wilson. Wright also netted in the final seconds but he was correctly adjudged to have been offside.
Overall, a fantastic spectacle for those in attendance and a great advertisement for the Juniors, with a draw probably being a fair result in the circumstances, although both sides will feel they could have snatched a victory.
Another cracker in prospect next week, when free-scoring Cambuslang visit Kingshill.
Further photos from the game can be viewed here.
‘Mon the Forth.
Forth team : Hutchison,Canning,S.McQuade,McKenzie(Howson),Mathers(C.McQuade),Stevenson(Storrie),
Burgh team : Wilson,Wolencroft(Ross),Chalmers,Stobo,Carson,Stuart,McIntyre,Perrie,Ramsay(Kelly),