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Match Report - Shotts Bon Accord Vs Blantyre Victoria

Shotts Bon Accord 3 - 4 Blantyre Victoria

A large crowd were in attendance at Hannah Park ready for a tantalising fixture between title chasing Shotts and promotion chasing Blantyre - and it certainly lived up to expectation.

The Vics were missing two of their key players on the day, Dale Jones and Nadeem Zeb, due to suspension and injury respectively. For Shotts, however, their talisman Danny Burns was back in the squad after recovering from an injury.

The hosts started the match on the front foot, their tactic early on was long balls over the top of the Vics defence. Despite this, Blantyre had the first real chance of the match in the fifth minute. John Henderson done well to lose his marker and dribbled into the area, he crossed it over the top of Shotts keeper Johnny Murdoch, to find Lewis MacDonald beyond the far-post. The winger cut it back to Keirin Coleman who curled his shot just wide.

11 minutes in Shotts began to find their rhythm, their No.6 with the first shot on target but it was excellently blocked by Vics captain Garry Campbell. Just a few minutes later Dean Trainor was called into action for the first time in the Vics goal as Ally Martin's shot forced a save. The Tyre keeper spilled the ball but he was swiftly able to recover and get both his hands on it to prevent any danger.

In the 16th minute, Blantyre had their backs to the wall as Shotts were looking for an opener. A shot from their No.11 was blocked once again by Campbell. Shortly afterwards Trainor came off of his line to collect a cross, he managed to make contact with the ball but failed to get a hold of it, due to overcrowding in the penalty area. A shot was then lobbed over the keeper and his defence, apart from Campbell who was on the line to head the ball away for a corner.

After their dominance in the opening half an hour, they got the breakthrough. A cross curled in from a wide area, Paul McGeough was left unmarked at the far-post and the forward headed the ball past Trainor. The Bonny had their opener.

Just two minutes later, Blantyre had a free-kick in a similar area. Aaron Black stepped up and whipped in a dangerous ball. It seemed as if all the Shotts defenders failed to jump to head the danger away, nevertheless, Garry Campbell leaped above all and his header rippled the back of the net.

Shotts tried to regain their lead, after the equaliser up until the point of half-time. Campbell performed more heroics at the back with another terrific block five minutes after his goal. In injury time Dean Trainor had a brilliant save for the Vics, as he stretched to get a fingertip to a Danny Burns shot to steer it wide for a corner.

The second half began unlike how the first ended. The Vics were on the front foot from the off, Ross Caldwell in the 46th minute cut the ball across to MacDonald who was waiting on the edge of the area. He didn't quite find the right balance as he skied his shot.

In 51st minute, Blantyre looked to be in trouble. Fraser Allan's clearance was only as far as Ally Martin who whipped the ball back into the area. After a short scramble in the penalty area, Danny Burns managed to get off a shot but it was just wide.

In the 54th minute, a brilliantly worked move in the middle of the park seen the ball fall to MacDonald who was just outside the box. He slipped it through to Ross Caldwell who eased it past Murdoch to give the Vics the lead for the first time in the match.

It wasn't long after when Lewis MacDonald was driving into the box, he beat Shotts centre-half Craig Crawford but the defender took out the Blantyre winger just inside the box. Referee Sean Henderson pointed to the spot. Ross Caldwell stepped up in the absence of Dale Jones, but he hit the post. Despite his miss it was to be retaken as Shotts defender moved into the box before the shot was taken. His retake hit the woodwork again but this time, it smacked off of the bar before crossing the line. The Vics extended their lead to 3 - 1.

On 73 minutes, Shotts were threatening again. A goalmouth scramble in the box, which the Blantyre defence had to endure for at least 15 seconds before Trainor was fouled while he attempted to grab the ball, to relieve the pressure.

Six minutes later, Queen's Park loanee slipped a pass through to Con Boyle as the Vics were on the break. The midfielder held the ball up just inside the box and only had eyes for the top corner. He brilliantly executed a right-footed curled shot, which tucked into the top corner perfectly as Murdoch was rooted to the spot.

It seemed Blantyre had done enough by this point as they led 4 - 1, nevertheless Shotts hadn't given up on their title hopes quite yet and pulled a goal back in the 84th minute. Just four minutes later the hosts seemed to be on track for a late comeback. After a corner was whipped in from the right side, there was a scramble in the box before the ball was knocked into the back of the net from close range.

Despite a late flurry of goals from Shotts, Blantyre Vics held on to win 4 - 3, in doing so securing promotion to the West Region Championship for the 2019/20 season. A great finish to the season for John Gibson and his side, winning seven matches in a row to secure a top-three finish.

Congratulations to the entire squad and staff, however, following previous publications during the season this writer must now eat his words:

"The Vics, after almost being assured that they will be playing in League One next season, will be bitterly disappointed that their race for promotion is all but over after last week's defeat to Bellshill."

Thank you for proving me wrong!

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