FPC’s trusty 3G home pitch at Ravenscraig defied the nasty weather, with an icy wind and driving rain greeting both sides at kick off. Craig Anderson came in on left midfield whilst Nicky Watson and John Anderson returned to the back four.
The Livi lads were keen to start quickly and possibly avenge their early season defeat, and every ball was fiercely contested in the opening exchanges. FPC had the territorial advantage, but the final ball was letting down the usual high standard of play. The windy and wet conditions didn’t help, but credit was due also to Livingston who matched FPC for early passing and tackling. The Corner broke the deadlock eventually after 23 minutes, and it was the best passing move of the match so far.
Fir Park Corner players Craig Anderson, Derek McLaughlin, Davie Tonner and Fraser Steven presenting a signed framed top to Sammy Wightman of home sponsor The Joker Bar in recognition of his support in their championship winning season.
With crisp movement of the ball between Fox, Totten and MacKenzie, Craig Anderson was eventually played in on the left of the box. He drew the full back towards the corner before playing a perfectly weighted backheel into Kev Totten’s path. Totten swept past the centre half to the bye line, before squaring the ball across the goal, where the keeper tried to save with his feet but only succeeded in putting the ball across the line with strikers waiting at the back post. An unfortunate OG but no more than the home side has deserved given their pressure.
Moments later a fantastic deep cross from left back Craig Chalmers found Foxy ghosting in at the back post, and his deft touch to the far side saw McArthur contrive to somehow push what should have been a simple tap-in over the bar from two yards. Before half time, Davie T had two penalty shouts denied, firstly when a back post header from a Macca corner seemed to come off the defender’s hand, and shortly afterwards he was nudged in the back when taking a ball to chest on the penalty spot, but both claims were waved away.
Barry McKnight’s half time chat was not to panic, although a mere one-goal lead is unfamiliar to the midway FPC dressing room these days. The message was, “More of the same, but don't be complacent”. Early second half tensions saw Foxy in the book for the second week running, and McKnight wisely made a couple of changes, with Fraser Steven and Stuart Jack coming on in midfield. Stu Jack made an immediate impact, racing down the left and firing across the face of goal the type of delivery the match had been crying out for. McArthur gratefully tapped it home at the back post, making no mistake this time, and this was all but his last action as he was replaced by Mark Steel.
Despite having a nippy striker up front, Livi were being well marshalled by a comfortable looking FPC back four, and Peter Tait even had the luxury of straying forward to contest the several corners being forced by continuing FPC pressure. Macca was enjoying his regular deliveries, and in 62 minutes placed one at the perfect height for Tatty to arrive at pace and power a net-bursting header home for the Corner’s third.
The three goal cushion seemed to knock the remaining fight out of Livi, and allowed FPC to open up and play a lot more passing football. FPC are showing more and more aerial prowess though, and the fourth goal came with ten minutes left in unusual style. Tait turned provider with a long ball from his own half, aimed at Davie T just inside the box. As the Livi defence stepped up looking for the offside, Tonner stood his ground to loop a nicely judged back-header just out of reach of the away keeper, who could only fingertip it as it dropped under the bar. Less than a minute after the re-start, the Livi midfield was robbed and Stu Jack powered down the left to the edge of the box. Looking up he curved a fabulous ball to middle of the box, where Davie T met it with his head just ahead of the onrushing keeper to see it nestle on the bottom corner to round off the scoring.
Seven games, seven wins and an away trip to Perth next up for FPC.
Fir Park Corner 5 – 0 Livingston GS (IFA Scottish League, 3/12/11)