Heriot-Watt University 1-2 Coldstream

Football
Football

Coldstream showed character to come from behind to record a victory a win which ensures their East of Scotland League Premier Division survival and relegates their opponents.

Coldstream’s manager for the day, Phil Johnson, praised the resilience and determination of his makeshift team.

A draw would have been enough for Coldstream to stay up and condemn their opponents to relegation, but with Heriot-Watt leading 1-0 at the break in this crunch match the battle to beat the drop looked destined to be taken to the last day of the season.

Despite the absence of six players and manager Neil Oliver, Coldstream pulled through thanks to second-half strikes from Dean Powling and Conor Devaney.

“The effort and commitment, particularly in the second half, was outstanding,” said Johnson. “To come from one down and win with so many players missing showed great strength of character.

“The lads gave it everything. A few of them were carrying injuries, but battled through the pain barrier to get the job done.”

With so many players out, Coldstream started the match with only Johnson himself and a trialist on the bench. When centre-back Kieran Ainslie limped off after half an hour, Johnson had to go on. But with teenage defender Jake Birkett at his commanding best, there was plenty of cover.

At that stage, Heriot-Watt had the advantage of the winds at their backs. Streamers goalkeeper Mark Walters, captain for the day, tipped one attempt onto the post but was helpless when a Heriot-Watt free-kick on the right was lashed across the face of goal and went in off the glancing head of Andrew Douglas for an own goal.

Douglas made up for it with an outstanding second-half performance, taking a grip of the game to keep Coldstream on the front foot in the search for an equaliser.

It came when Devaney cut back for Powling, making his full debut, to make no mistake with a left-footed shot into the bottom corner from six yards.

This lifted Coldstream’s spirits, and although a draw was enough they persisted with a high line and got their reward 15 minutes from time as Gary Wales rolled the ball into the path of the onrushing Devaney, who slotted home from eight yards.

The scorer was immediately carried off with cramp, and with Gary Shearer and Powling also carrying knocks Coldstream were content to see the game out by running down the clock in the corner.

Coldstream: Walters, Hebdon, Baxendale, Ainslie (Johnson 29), Birkett, Douglas, Devaney (Trialist 82), McCrudden, Wales, Shearer, Powling.