Forth 0 Blantyre Vics 2
Two goals in four first half minutes saw Blantyre Vics maintain their unbeaten start to their league campaign with a deserved 2-0 victory over Forth Wanderers at KingshillPark. The Vics defence, well marshalled by captain Terry Hewitt, had a fairly comfortable afternoon and keeper Paul Burns was equal to whatever the Wanderers could throw at him, making two notable saves just prior to half time.
The game started slowly and it took fully 12 minutes for a shot on target to be registered,Vics keeper Burns easily saving a Chris McGroarty free kick after Tony Traynor had been fouled just outside the box. Traynor then blocked a clearance from Hanlon resulting in the Vics full back conceding a needless corner. The corner came to nothing however and the Vics broke quickly through Craig Smith, whose cross had to be pushed clear by JC Hutchison in the Forth goal. Smith actually had the ball in the Wanderers net on 20 minutes after a Hanlon free kick was headed on to him, but the referee adjudged the Vics striker to be marginally offside.
Undeterred, Blantyre took the lead on 22 minutes when a long ball from Hanlon was misjudged by the Forth defence and Craig Smith nipped in to round keeper Hutchison and slide the ball into the empty net. A soft goal for the Wanderers to lose and worse was to follow four minutes later. Hutchison initially saved well from the impressive Alan Christie at the expense of a corner, but the Forth keeper was unable to reach the in swinging corner from Christie and the ball was deemed to have crossed the line before being headed clear by Kieron Colgan on the back post.
The hosts battled hard to get back into the game and enjoyed a period of dominance during the final 15 minutes of the half. An excellent Colgan cross found John Watson in space in the area but the midfielder elected to take a touch before firing the ball across goal, allowing it to be cleared for a corner. Jordan Smith was next to come close for Forth, directing a header from a McGroarty corner wide, although the slightest of touches from Burns in the Vics goal as the ball came across probably made the difference. Burns then pulled off two tremendous stops just prior to the half time whistle. Firstly, he got down to his left to push away a netbound flick from Chris Lennon after good work down the left by Dean McLean and then he touched over a dipping header from Keiron Colgan from just under his crossbar to preserve his side’s two goal advantage at the interval.
The second half began with the Vics on the front foot and Hutchison had to look lively to fist away a dangerous cross in the opening minutes. Forth gradually fought their way back into the game but the Vics defence stood resolute, a dangerous cross from Chris Lennon being cleared for a corner. Vics keeper Burns then expertly cut out another teasing cross, with Yamikani Misanjo waiting to pounce.
A moment of controversy followed when after the game was stopped for a Vics injury, Forth substitute Bryan Felvus lobbed the ball into the empty visitors net from the subsequent bounce ball. Unsporting behaviour certainly but the crowd was left perplexed when the referee awarded a goal kick.
At the other end, Forth keeper Hutchsion made an excellent double save on 67 minutes, blocking an initial shot from Stephen McDonald before turning the follow up header from Ryan McGarry away for a corner from which Alexander Amos blasted over.
Hutchison again saved well from Craig Smith as the visitors sought to tie up the points before Vics keeper Burns got down well to hold a shot from John Watson.
Forth continued to press as the final whistle approached and Andrew Gilchrist was unlucky when his mishit shot was cleared from the line by Paul Hanlon before Burns comfortably saved a Chris McGroarty shot on the final whistle.
A deserved victory for Blantyre Vics but the Forth supporters must be pondering what happened to the side which confidently swept aside St.Roch’s the previous week.
Forth : Hutchison,Howson(Grant),McLean,Smith,Canning,Watson,Traynor(Gilchrist),Lennon,McGroarty,