Johnstone Burgh 2 Forth Wanderers 2
Forth drew 2-2 with Johnstone Burgh in somewhat testing conditions at Keanie Park this afternoon. Two Jason Corbett goals either side of half time put the Wanderers in control but 10 man Burgh rallied well and scored two goals in the last 15 minutes to earn a deserved draw.
The rain began prior to kick off and didn’t let up throughout the afternoon but both teams produced and entertaining encounter despite the testing underfoot conditions. It was Burgh who showed first Neil Dinnen breaking down the left wing and sending over an inviting cross which Forth keeper Paul Smith did well to cut out. In response, Chris Lennon saw a rasping shot blocked by the Burgh defence as the game swung from end to end.
Burgh then had a good spell where they put the Forth defence under some pressure, but the Wanderers back line held firm at the expense of a couple of corners which amounted to nothing. The home side also seemed to have adopted a shoot on sight policy and shots rained in on the Wanderers goal from a variety of angles and distances although none troubled Smith.
Forth looked dangerous on the counter and from one of these took the lead with 12 minutes on the clock. Ian Harty picked up the ball just inside the Burgh half and embarked on a searing run, leaving the Burgh defence in his wake, and as keeper Patrick Doherty came out to narrow the angle, he calmly squared the ball to Jason Corbett who tapped in for his first Wanderers goal.
The goal came slightly against the run of play and Burgh wasted no time in pressing for the equaliser, Jason Hardie intercepting a Jim Dick pass and heading for goal and it took a great block from Jordan Smith to clear the danger.
Burgh were dealt a further blow on 32 minutes when Greg Barr was sent packing for retaliation but this didn’t seem to hinder them as they continued to press forward at every opportunity. The Forth defence stood resolute however, competently dealing with whatever Burgh threw at them, although it took a fine block from Forth keeper Smith to deny Hardie after 35 minutes at the expense of a corner.
Burgh continued to press as the half wore on, but the interval arrived with the Wanderers still a goal to the good.
Forth began the second period on the front foot and came close to increasing their lead on 49 minutes. Marc Howson sent Chris Lennon scampering down the right and his surging run took him past the covering defenders, but his final shot only found the side netting. A further Wanderers goal was merely delayed though and arrived two minutes later. After a John Watson shot was blocked, the ball was played across to Jason Corbett who executed a fine finish into the corner of the net, giving Doherty no chance.
Forth now had their tails up and a quick break found Andrew Gilchrist with time and space but he couldn’t get the requisite height on the ball and it sailed harmlessly into the arms of Doherty. At the other end Grant Kelly came close, Smith getting down well to his left to turn the ball away for a corner.
The Wanderers were now in control however, and home keeper Doherty was called into action to save from Ian Harty and Jim Dick in quick succession before leaping acrobatically to turn over a netbound Andrew Gilchrist effort. He saved again from Forth substitute Jamie Lindsay before Burgh began to re-assert themselves, buoyed by the fact that Forth had failed to put the game to bed.
Burgh’s never say die attitude was rewarded on 75 minutes when, in worsening conditions, Paul Smith was unable to hold a shot from Dinnen and Jonathan McStay bundled home from close range. This goal understandably gave Burgh a huge lift and they began to put Forth under sustained pressure. Smith did well to save from Hardie on 79 minutes before McStay fired narrowly wide five minutes later. An equaliser looked on the cards and it duly arrived on 85 minutes when Jason Hardie turned home a cross from the right at the back post.
With the final whistle imminent, both teams had chances to wrap up the three points. Firstly, David Grant just failed to connect with a Marc Howson free kick and the ball flew harmlessly wide before a Burgh shot ended up just the wrong side of the post at the other end.
An entertaining game in heavy underfoot conditions, but once again the Wanderers showed they have nothing to fear from the sides at the top of the table. Next up, another tricky encounter against Vale of Leven at Kingshill Park.
Forth team : P.Smith,Howson,Grant,J.Smith,Canning,J.Dick,Corbett,Watson,I.Harty,