Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts 3 Preston Athletic 5

A quirk of fate took Preston last Saturday across the Forth to face for the very first time newcomers Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts for their fifth Conference C fixture, the day after they’d been drawn to play their South Region Challenge Cup third round tie there on October 13.

The Swifts, whose adult side only came into being over the summer, had been finding the going fairly tough in senior football, but under new manager Lee Duffy had enjoyed a 4-1 home win over Craigroyston seven days earlier – Preston boss Jack Lynch had his men well-drilled against any complacency whatsoever, keen as he was to see them build on the positives gained in their 3-2 win at Bonnyton Thistle a week previous.

Things didn’t start at all as Lynch and his players had wished, with the Swifts taking a second-minute lead through Russell.

It wasn’t too long before Preston started to get a firm grip on proceedings, though, and on 14 minutes they equalised through Scott Walker.

Two minutes later, the same player gave the visitors the lead, and things looked promising for the Panners just past the half’s midway stage when Walker completed his hat-trick, all three goals coming within a 10-minute spell.

Michael McFarlane then made it 4-1 with just under 10 minutes of the first half remaining, and it stayed that way until half-time.

With seven minutes gone in the second half Swifts’ Hamilton pulled a goal back with a free kick, but Preston restored their three-goal advantage with little over 20 minutes left to play through Jonny Grotlin.

The Swifts never gave up, and they claimed a third goal before the end through Russell, scorer of the first and last of the afternoon’s eight goals.

Preston can enjoy at least one full week at the top of the Conference C table thanks to the three points picked up at Inverkeithing – they briefly occupied top spot a few weeks back before a 6-1 thumping at Jeanfield Swifts.

Six wins from eleven games played thus far in all competitions represents not too bad a return, but Preston will have to be at their best this Saturday when second-placed Broxburn Athletic are visitors to the Pennypit.

The West Lothian outfit ended their Junior days one of the East Region’s top half-dozen teams and with Linlithgow Rose not performing as well as anticipated they look a good bet to be topping the Conference C table come the season’s end – Preston though will be keen to show they can compete with the top teams and it could well be an interesting 90 minutes.


Ormiston were idle last Saturday, the fixture card unable to find a slot for them – with 39 clubs in the East Of Scotland League, and numerous cup competitions, it’s an impossibility to have every member club in competitive action every Saturday.

The Recreation Park outfit wouldn’t at all have minded the opportunity to build on victory in their last outing a fortnight ago, against Easthouses Lily in the South Region Challenge Cup, after enduring a testing run of six consecutive defeats, but they’ll have to wait until this Saturday to try and achieve another positive result.

On the face of things they’ll travel to face Linlithgow Rose as rank outsiders, given their opposition’s long-held reputation as one of Scotland’s top non-League outfits, but they’ll take some encouragement from the fact the West Lothian side seem on the basis of their results so far this season a long way from top form.

The fact they could only put three goals past Fort William last week, at home, in the Scottish Cup, when the Highland League basement-dwellers have regularly been conceding ten in domestic fixtures, suggests something’s amiss around the Prestonfield club these days.

All that said, Ormiston aren’t naive enough to think they’ll get away with anything less than maximum effort should they wish to have any chance of not returning home empty-handed, and will recognise that even on an off-day Linlithgow ought to be good enough to beat them, given the disparity in resources available to their respective management teams.