Dalkeith Thistle 4, Broughty Athletic 3.
A STUNNING seven-goal thriller on the final Saturday of the year at King’s Park saw Dalkeith Thistle wrap up a very successful 2012 since winning promotion as South League champions.
They claimed all three points in their 12th Premier League match of the season, finishing the year in third-top place behind new leaders Newtongrange Star and second top Ballingry Rovers.
Three times Dalkeith fell a goal behind and three times they fought back to equalise and then Thistle had the final say with a late winning goal to cap a superb victory.
Prior to this match a minute’s silence was held in memory of John Barr, a lifelong Thistle supporter and former club president whose funeral took place December 27.
Thistle had drawn 1-1 at Broughty in the league on November 17 and the following week lost 1-0 at home to Bathgate, the last time the Jags had played.
They wrestled the bulk of possession and pressure from Athletic, but Dalkeith made no first-half impression on the Broughty defence despite a procession of Thistle corners.
In a highly competitive start, Broughty were on the back foot as a sixth-minute Lloyd Richardson shot tested the big Athletic goalkeeper Alan Cormack, then a Thomas Watters free kick was followed by a David Morris effort.
Counter-attacks from Athletic were well defended by Andy Donlevy as an 11th-minute run into the visiting box by Kenny Fisher saw Cormack parry the ball to safety before Sean Lally was put clean through only for Cormack again to thwart Thistle.
Dalkeith continued on the offensive, with Morris going over the target and a Steven Pudledski corner punched out by Cormack.
In 32 minutes, a jersey pull by Broughty’s Kevin Milne earned their no. 9 a booking.
After 40 minutes, free kick launched from midfield into the Dalkeith penalty box saw diminutive Mark Brash head home a shock goal for Broughty as Thistle were stunned.
Dalkeith replied with corners, taking them up to 7-0 before the break, but stubborn Broughty held out ‘til the interval, leading 1-0.
However, within one minute of the restart, it was 1-1 as Thistle equalised following a corner swung in by Jamie Burstow and headed home by David Liddle, the Jags’ 41st goal of the season.
Just four minutes later, however, and disaster for Thistle as Broughty went 2-1 up.
Home keeper Steven Hay shouted to Andy Donlevy for a headed pass back, but the ball eluded the keeper and Kevin Milne had the easiest of tasks to tap the ball into the Dalkeith net.
Andy restored honour just three minutes later with a great run down the right flank and his cross found Steven Pudldski to score from close range to make it 2-2.
Kenny Fisher almost got a third for Thistle in 55 minutes, but Cormack managed to stop the ball between his legs.
Substitutes around the hour mark saw Thistle bring on Jay Hunter for Sean Lally, while Broughty introduced Graham Allan with the game now on a knife edge.
Thistle keeper Steven Hay next denied Sean Kelly on a great run before Burstow hit a great chance for Thistle wide from close range.
Michael Linton was booked for dissent at the referee in 63 minutes, but, in 66 minutes, it was Broughty 3-2.
A soft free kick against Jay Hunter left Graham Allan with a free kick, which he drove superbly past Hay to see Broughty ahead in the game for the third time.
Dalkeith, to their credit, never gave in and two goals in the last five minutes saw them win the match in grand style.
First it was Steven Pudledski who equalised at 3-3 in 85 minutes, scoring from close range.
Two minutes later, it was hero Thomas Watters who hit home what proved to be the winner as Thistle celebrated a fine victory.
Dalkeith Thistle - Hay, Donlevy, Watters, Lally, Liddle, Linton, Morris, Richardson, Fisher, Pudledski and Burstow.
Subs - Murray, Hunter, Fell, McNaughton and Gavin.