AC Oxgangs hosted Musselburgh Windsor on a warm evening under the floodlights at Meggetland. The opening exchanges were dominated by the visitors, who seemed to settle more quickly in to their natural game than than ACO.
The visitors would turn their early dominance in to chances very early on. Scott Chapman picked up the ball in midfield for Mussy and launched a long ball between the ACO defence aiming for Ballantyne in an attacking position. The forward took control of the ball well feeding a ball through for Handling on the left side, who arrowed a low shot straight at ACO goalkeeper Andrew Dunnett, credit the goalkeeper who got down well to stop the ball spilling.
Ballantyne seemed in confident mood and he looked to have scored the opener when he got on the end of a Scott Walker cross inside the box with 6 minutes played, Sam Leslie in the heart of the AC defence made a fantastic clearance off the line however to keep the score 0-0.
Despite the visitors taking the lions’ share of possession in the early exchanges it was to be AC Oxgangs who would take a somewhat unlikely lead. With just 7 minutes on the clock Lewis Murray opened the scoring with a powerful strike from just outside the box after good build up in midfield from ACO. It was a fine strike and one which Craig Hunter in the Mussy goal could do nothing about.
It may well be fair to say that the visitors would have been feeling aggrieved at being a goal down after the excellent start they had made to the game. The disappointment would soon evaporate however as Mussy scored right from the off to make the game 1-1 within the same minute. A long ball from midfield saw the ball in the box and in the panic that ensued one man in Dean Ballantyne showed fantastic composure to rifle home an equaliser low in to the bottom corner from the right hand side, 1-1 with just over 7 minutes played.
Sometimes the term “end to end game” is used too often in football but what followed in the aftermath of the Mussleburgh equaliser was just that. Although Mussycontinued their theme of better passing than their opponents as the game progressed, it appeared that taking the lead was just the boost ACO needed and they began to battle back with chances of their own. Shaun Marshall linked well with the impressive Tom Embleton down the right side and Embleton produced a fantastic low cross along the deck, unfortunately for the full back no takers for AC as the ball eluded everyone in the box and went harmlessly out.
A corner on 24 minutes was the next real chance of the game. Scott Walker played in a nice corner and it looked to everyone that Ballantyne would add his second of the game, but for yet another intervention from Leslie who was having an imposing game for ACO. The ball though fell to Handling of Mussy who had a cracking effort on the volley, although it went well wide it was a fantastic try from the midfielder. Mussy would continue to have chances to take the lead Handling this time taking a break from shooting to play in James Rogers-Jones down the flank, his cross was well taken but again there were no takers for the visitors able to take advantage.
Darren Handling for Mussy looked determined to add his name to the scorers soon after as this time it was Rogers-Jones who would supply the midfielder who lashed an effort goal but unfortunately for Handling it would fly right at Dunnett. With 40 minutes on the clock it was the visitors who would once more take the lead Ballantyne there again for his team to make it 2-1. Nice interchanging again from Mussleburgh on the edge of the host’s box and once again it was Ballantyne with a powerful effort from just inside the box to give the visitors the lead.
Despite taking what appeared to be a deserved lead in to the break Mussy should thank Calum Marr for preserving his teams advantage as he was on hand to block a rasper of a shot from distance by ACO’s Embleton just before the sounding of the half time whistle.