East Region Premier League South:

Rosyth 4
Newburgh 2

HITMAN Tam Hampson promised his manager goals and he didn’t disappoint in Rosyth’s “biggest game of the season”.

Brian Muirhead demanded a double from Hampson prior to kick-off against Newburgh and the striker accepted the challenge with a handshake.

He left the Fleet Grounds with the match ball after netting a clinical second-half hat-trick as Rosyth fought back to claim a priceless victory.

“Tam has been in and out of the team recently with a few niggles and injuries, and I wasn’t sure whether to put him in the team against Newburgh or not,” Muirhead told Press Sport.

“He took his chance. I asked him to get me two goals and he shook my hand and said he would. He ended up getting me three.”

In what was a crucial contest between the second- and third-place sides in the league table, it was the visitors who got off the mark first.

Scott Sutherland fired them into the break with the advantage but they weren’t prepared for a Rosyth onslaught after the restart.

Muirhead said: “We were terrible in the first half and they were a million miles better than us.

“They harried and made life difficult for us and we ended up playing long balls in awful weather. Our keeper (Blair Penman) made some big saves and they looked dangerous going forward.

“You can’t put in the paper what I said to them at half-time but the boys, to their credit, knew where they had gone wrong.

“We gave them a few minutes at the break to talk amongst themselves. They were upset at how poor they were and they had a discussion between them about what they had to do in the second half.

“I didn’t lose it with them but I did emphasise that we had to start well and show a desire to get back into the game. I told them to relax, take time on the ball and allow themselves the chance to play. They were excellent in the second half.”

Rosyth rallied through Mikey McMillan as he capitalised on slack defending to level the match just minutes after the restart.

The goal settled the Rec and they went on to dominate the half with Hampson grabbing his first just after the hour mark.

Barry Sibanda was hauled down by no less than three Newburgh bodies inside the box and Hampson duly converted the resulting penalty on 63 minutes to give Rosyth the lead.

He provided his side with a two-goal cushion with a quarter of the game remaining after industrious play from Scott Gilfillan. The midfielder won the ball back high up the park with the ball eventually falling for Hampson to race through and net his brace on 77 minutes.

Newburgh were not beaten yet though and scored once more through Sutherland with 10 minutes left on the clock.

Rosyth never panicked and Hampson settled the nerves by nodding home in off the post from a well-worked corner routine on 84 minutes.

Muirhead said: “The players knew how important this game was and after we sorted ourselves out at half-time, I thought we were excellent.

“We may not be playing the best football right now but we’re getting the results. We didn’t start well at all but we came out of the traps in the second half and put that right. The players really gave me and the rest of the coaches a reaction.

“We’re on a really positive run right now and we’re not taking that for granted. I’ve got a great group of boys and we’re starting to see the best of them now.

“Barry Sibanda has been excellent since joining as he leads by example on and off the park.

“We’ve got guys like Jack Henderson – probably the best right back in the league right now – Gregg Page, Scott Gilfillan and Mikey McMillan, who are all on great form for us.

“We don’t have self-centred players in this side, and that was made pretty clear when I had to drop Yarek (Butryn) on Saturday.

“He’s been man of the match in at least three games recently and he had absolutely no issue with me going for someone else at the weekend instead. He’s got an excellent attitude, as do loads of the other boys.”

Saturday’s result has opened up a four-point gap between the two sides with Rosyth now two points behind leaders Stoneyburn, although the table-toppers have three games in hand.

Rosyth will welcome the leaders to the Fleet Grounds this weekend for another key fixture for the Rec’s promotion hopes.

Muirhead said: “Newburgh was the first of the three massive games we have this month. We’re taking this one game at a time and the focus will now purely be on the Stoneyburn game, just like it had been for Newburgh on Saturday. At the start of the season, we were aiming to finish in the top four, but now that we’re in the top two, I think we’ve shown we deserve to be here.”

  • Saturday’s fixtures:
  • Scotland Lowland League - Gala Fairydean Rovers v Kelty Hearts (3pm).
  • EOSFL First Division Conference A/B - Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts v Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale (2pm), Tynecastle v Oakley (2.30pm).
  • Football Nation Qualifying Cup, 3rd round - Crossgates Primrose v Hill of Beath Hawthorn (1.30pm).
  • East Region Premier League South – Rosyth v Stoneyburn (1.45pm)