Match Report - Blantyre Victoria Vs Bellshill Athletic
In what was a huge game for Blantyre, the blues certainly felt the pressure early on as Bellshill pushed for an early goal, and an early goal was exactly what the visitors got. In the seventh minute, a ball was whipped down the touchline, Fraser Allan was unable to deal with it, Jamie Stewart then picked up the ball and curled in a splendid cross to the far post where Paul Brennan was waiting to slot the first goal of the game past Dean Trainor.
Blantyre seemed to be back right back into the game, after a typical Lewis MacDonald run into the box found Ross Caldwell who was in shooting range. The former Hibernian man found the target but Bellshill keeper Chris Fitzpatrick palmed it away, but only to Aaron Black. The winger comfortable knocked the ball into the back of the net, but it was disallowed for offside, and rightfully so.
Just two minute's later Bellshill almost got a second, as Jamie Stewart took a shot from a wide angle inside the area. The outstretched keeper pulled of a great save as he turned the shot wide for a corner.
In the 18th minute, Dale Jones performed a charging run into space on the right flank. The full-back linked up well with Black who cut in towards the box. He then slipped the ball through to Nadeem Zeb who was peeling away from his marker, the midfielder then curled the ball over the keeper from a tight angled to give The Vics their equaliser.
The Hill almost pulled themselves immediately back in front. A free-kick from the corner of the box, curled by the two-man wall by Andy Gilchrist but Trainor was alert to it and denied Bellshill a second by turning it by the post for a corner.
In the 29th minute, Black whipped in a cross from the right-side, Zeb leaped into the air at the back post but his headed effort from close range was saved spectacularly by Fitzpatrick. After the ball was cleared, The Vics regained possession instantly, and Keirin Coleman played the ball out to Black. The winger drove into the box and was unmarked by full-back Jordan Jeffrey, he pulled off a powerful strike from a tight angle, which was slightly deflected off the defender but his shot was always destined for the back of the net.
The Bellshill keeper then had two brilliant saves. In the 38th minute Dale Jones picked up on a deep cross by MacDonald, he blasted a shot across the face of goal, before being halted by the hands of Fitzpatrick and cleared by the Bellshill defence. Less than ninety seconds later, Coleman had a great chance on goal. A right-footed strike from distance was headed for the bottom corner but Fitzpatrick managed to get a finger tip to it to turn it behind for a corner.
The Vics certainly started the second half better than they did the first, the nerves seemed to have dissipated. Early in the half MacDonald cut into the box only to be taken out by Keiran Chalmers, who was unfortunate to have fouled the winger. Ross Caldwell stepped up to spot to take his first penalty of the season, he sent Fitzpatrick the wrong way to give Blantyre a cushion early on in the second half.
The Vics controlled the game well and there was very few mentionable event in the next fifteen minutes as a result. Until in the 64th minute Bellshill's Marc Houston caught Con Boyle late in the middle of the pitch, the referee brandished a second yellow for the midfielder and sent him for an early shower.
Three minutes later Aaron Black was on his game again as he whipped in a ball from a wide area, he swerved perfectly into the path of the unmarked Keirin Coleman who had the simple job of knocking it in to the net to give Blantyre a 4-1 lead.
In the 70th minute Bellshill full-back Jordan Jeffrey joined Houston in being dismissed for another second bookable offence after a foul on Jones.
Vics finished off the match with another penalty. Dale Jones was clearly taken out in the area. The man who won the penalty also stepped up to the spot. He sent Fitzpatrick the wrong way to make it 5-1.
A destructive victory for Blantyre, after what was a nervy start for the home-side. They now move one step closer to promotion, needing 5 points from the remaining three matches - after Ardrossan's defeat to Gartcairn.