|1st April 2017||15:00||Ferrari Packaging Lowland League||2016-17|
|Team||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals||Outcome|
|Preston Athletic FC||0||1||1||Loss|
PRESTON ATHLETIC 1 SHIRE 7
Shire notched their landmark 100th Lowland League goal of the season as they overcame the challenge of bottom side Preston Athletic in the club’s first-ever visit to Pennypit Park.
Strikers Andy Rodgers and David Grant both claimed hat-tricks in the runaway win, the first time two Shire players had scored three or more goals in the same game since 1947. It brought the number of hat-tricks scored in the season by all players to nine, equalling the club record.
Coach John Sludden brought back Drew Ramsay to the starting eleven after he had missed the previous week’s 4-2 win at Hawick Royal Albert through suspension, with Liam Allison giving way, Steven Brisbane came into the team and Michael Oliver stepping down to the bench and Kris Faulds made way for the return of Jamie Glasgow.
The head coach had asked the team to get off to a good start after having conceded the opening goal to their opponents in Shire’s last two league games and they responded by taking the lead after just two minutes.
Derek Ure lofted a pass from central midfield to Andy Rodgers on the left wing, and he cut inside before leashing an unstoppable shot from the edge of the penalty box past home keeper Craig Penicuik.
Rodgers was causing all sorts of problems for Preston Athletic early on. After six minutes a great run into the box ended with a shot which was bravely blocked for a corner and barely a minute later he fizzed a powerful shot from the 18 yard line just past the post.
David Grant wasn’t to be outdone and after 13 minutes he danced past the home defence but his final shot was smothered by a desperate challenge and Penicuik collected the ball.
After 20 minutes Grant was even better placed but his effort flashed across the face of goal and wide, although he eventually found the net after guiding Ramsay’s left-wing cross past the keeper with a precise near-post header to make it 2-0.
The visiting fans had barely finished celebrating when another Ure high ball lofted in behind the home defence was collected by Rodgers who left the Preston rearguard in his wake as he raced in on goal to score Shire’s third past the exposed Penicuik.
Two minutes later David Grant had his jersey pulled as he bore in on goal which gave Rodgers the chance to score his hat-trick from the penalty spot. But the striker failed to convert a spot kick for the first time this season at his tenth attempt as Penicuik dived to his right to save.
After 28 minutes Shire had another penalty as Grant was fouled inside the box by Scott Barclay. The home defender, who had been booked for the jersey tug after the first penalty award, was shown a second yellow for this foul leaving Preston a man down.
Rodgers was not given the chance to make amends for his earlier miss and this time Grant successfully converted the penalty kick.
After 40 minutes Connor Greene’s back post header from a corner flashed across goal but no-one could provide the finishing touch for a fifth goal.
Nevertheless, the fifth, and Shire’s 100th league goal of the season, arrived on 49 minutes when David Grant raced through on goal and finished with a delightful chip over the keeper. Preston argued that Jamie Glasgow had been offside in the build-up but that cut no ice with the referee.
Just past the hour Grant thought he had scored but his header was kept out by a wonderful one-handed save from Penicuik after Rodgers had crossed from the right and the keeper then denied Grant again with a brave save with his legs as the striker went thought one-on-one.
But, from the resulting corner, Glasgow fired in a shot which Penicuik again saved well only for Greene to collect the rebound to shoot home Shire’s sixth after 67 minutes.
Penicuik was still performing heroics and made a great save from David Grant again with the striker baring down on goal after 70 minutes and took a blow to his face for his troubles.
The home team deserved praise for continuing to play with an attacking formation and they got their reward after 77 minutes when Jason Young got on the end of a long pass to shoot home past Jamie Barclay from the edge of the box after 77 minutes.
Paul Sludden came close with an effort after 81 minutes with a curling shot that shaved the outside of the post before Rodgers scored Shire’s seventh, collecting his own throw-in before drilling a low shot into the net from the 18 yard line.
SHIRE : Barclay, MacGregor(Murray 70), Ramsay(Allison 60), A.Grant, Greene, Brisbane, Rodgers, Ure, D.Grant(Hogg 75), Sludden, Glasgow.
|Preston Athletic FC|
|9 Rope Walk, Prestonpans EH32 9BN, UK|