Whitehill WELFARE had to draw upon all of their experience to overcome a resilient and youthful Civil Service Strollers team with a late strike from their leading goalscorer, Wayne McIntosh.
The Strollers trailed 2-0 midway through the second half, but then scored from the penalty spot to set up an exciting finale which eventually went in Whitehill’s favour to move them above the Strollers and into third spot in the Central Taxis Premier Division.
The Whitehill manager Mike Lawson played Alan Brown in a more unfamiliar role as an attacking left-sided player and his early intrusions caused no end of problems for the Strollers defence. Whitehill took the lead in only the eighth minute when Brown fed McIntosh, who cut inside from the left. His 20-yard right foot shot was parried by goalkeeper Bruce Callan and Stevie Manson was handily placed to stroke home the rebound from ten yards.
Whitehill had legitimate claims for a penalty waved aside when Brown was pulled down then Aaron Somerville had a free kick well saved before Andrew Kidd side-footed the ball over the bar from a good position.
However, the Strollers stemmed the tide and almost equalised when a Stewart O’Neill free kick was tipped over the bar by Ryan McGurk who replaced the injured Darren Walker. And early in the second half Charlie Brigain fired a left foot shot wide of the target as the Strollers threatened to equalise. It was Whitehill though who increased their advantage midway through the second half when a cross from Somerville found Brown at the back post and he picked his spot to net with a low shot.
The Strollers fought themselves back into contention in the 73rd minute when Andrew Kidd upended Charles McAleavy in the penalty box and Brigain drilled the resultant spot kick behind McGurk.
The points were sealed for Whitehill with seven minutes left when Andrew Kidd had a mazy run to set up McIntosh who scored from close range.
McIntosh was delighted with his contribution, saying: “I’m delighted to keep scoring as long as the team keeps winning . . . that’s me on 14 so far this season.
“That was a really tough game against the Strollers. You know what you are going to get from Chic [McAleavy, Strollers manager] and his team because they are battlers who I know very well and they are also very good players.”
Michael Weir, the Strollers assistant manager, said: “Whitehill overpowered us in the early stages and we knew that would happen but once we weathered the storm and started to play I was confident that we would get an equaliser.
“We have limited resources to change things and although we lost we are not too downbeat. We just lacked a wee bit of a killer instinct but hopefully that will come and our players just have to believe in themselves. We could not have asked for any more from our players.”
Whitehill Welfare: McGurk, Brown, Thom, Bruce, W Kidd, Somerville, Manson, A Kidd (Jordan Hall 84), McCulloch (John Hall 78), McIntosh, McGlashan. Subs: Forbes, Cantley.
Civil Service Strollers: Callan, Burns (Wague 87), Young, Lister, D McAleavy, Mearns, C McAleavy, O’Neill (Ross Kerr 65), Aird, Aitchison, Brigain. Sub: Raynham.
Referee: Scott Miller