In a week marked by the death of Honourary Club President Bill Matheson, Western Wildcats came agonisingly close to what would have been a fitting victory against Edinburgh rivals Grange before a late collapse resulted in the Cats relinquishing all 3 points.
The first half started at a frantic pace with the midfield area a particular hive of activity. Both sides were restricted to sniffs at goal, although Western had the better of the opportunities with Grange goalkeeper Sean Hadfield needing to look sharp to intercept a one-two between McCartney and Moodie. Minutes later, Moodie was again foiled, this time by a goal-line clearance from a Grange defender. Close, but no cigar then for the Cats and the match remained all square at the half time interval.
A win for Western would have put them ahead of Grange and into second place in the league, and the Cats started the second half knowing they had a great opportunity. The opening goal of the match came from the penalty spot after a short corner dragflick from Ross Clunie was illegally stopped on the line by the Grange defence. A Penalty Flick was awarded and the ever reliable Scott McCartney slotted home to put the home side a goal up.
Grange responded with a goal of their own when Western failed to clear a baseline attack and the loose ball was slotted home to draw the sides level at the midway point in the second half. Western kept the pressure on and their perseverance was rewarded by a second goal which put them into a strong position. A dangerous ball into the D from Ian Moodie was met by roving Western centre back Gary Maitles, whose deft touch took the ball beyond the goalkeeper and put the Cats a goal to the good with 10 minutes left to play.
A home victory looked on the cards but it wasn’t to be as first Cammy Fraser from open play, then Rob Barr from a short corner netted goals, the latter coming with less than a minute left on the clock.
Thoughts now turn to the remaining two fixtures of the first half of the outdoor season, with 6 points a must if Westen are to maintain their push for a European playoff spot.