New Coin Holdings West of Scotland Cup First Round


GREENOCK JUNIORS 1 (Ardeer won 7-6 on penalties)

By Mark Inglis

THIS long anticipated West of Scotland Cup tie was postponed twice owing to adverse weather.

But it was well worth waiting for as the drama of a penalty shootout was required to separate old rivals Ardeer and Greenock

The two sides had contested a couple of incident-packed games when competing in the Super League First Division in 2014-15, but this match, although entertaining, was a calmer affair than those two encounters.

Ardeer made one change to the previous weeks defeat against Lugar, Scott Reid replacing Jordan Bruce who was rested after suffering a heavy head knock at Rosebank Park. Greenock were missing regulars Andrew McEwan and Sean Jamieson with Neil McVittie and Stuart Findlay coming into the starting 11.

Ardeer had the first notable effort on goal, keeper Ryan McWilliams palming over Ryan Morrow's shot from outside the area. At the other end forwards Stuart Morton and Craig Brown combined well to threaten but Adam Easdon got back to clear before they could get a clear attempt on goal. Sean Doherty later came close from a set-piece, drilling an effort wide across the face of the goal.

By the midway point of the first half, Ardeer were well on top. Ryan Morrow, who caused the Greenock defence problems throughout on the left flank, set up James Maxwell whose effort hit the upright from inside the area. Soon after Derek Kennedy played in Archie Sewell one-on-one but his shot went inches wide past McWilliams' near post. Ardeer then came even closer to opening the scoring minutes later when Scott Reid's well struck free-kick hit the crossbar only to unexplicably land right on the beaten McWilliams. Ardeer could well have been ahead but Greenock were still in the game and the visitors nearly broke the deadlock when Paul McCann spilled Alan McCabe's drive, however the ball went out for a corner.

The breakthrough was eventually made two minutes after the restart with the visitors taking the initial advantage, Craig Brown volleying in from Paul Queen's cross. However, their lead only lasted until 55 minutes as Ardeer equalised after some good work from Archie Sewell on the right led to him picking out the advancing Morrow, who fired home past McWilliams. The remainder of regulation time was largely end to end football without too much goalmouth action, although Ardeer should have grabbed a winner late on but they failed to convert when presented with a five on three numerical advantage when mounting a counter attack on the Greenock goal.

Ardeer had only faced one competitive penalty shootout in the previous decade, losing it, whereas Greenock had won three out of five since 2014. Both teams' initial penalties were converted but McWilliams then denied Morrow to give Greenock the advantage. However, Greenock's fourth spot-kick hit by Glenn Thomson was saved by McCann and after Scott Reid and William McClure both successfully converted, the shoot out went to sudden death rules.

Ardeer had the benefit of hitting first and after two successful penalties apiece, the pressure was again put on Greenock after Craig Gillies netted for the hosts. Stuart Higgins stepped up for Greenock but his penalty was saved by McCann to seal victory for Ardeer, who progress to face Kilsyth Rangers in the second round.

ARDEER THISTLE McCann;Easdon, Donnelly, Holden, Stevenson, Reid, Gillies, Kennedy, Sewell, Morrow, Maxwell. Subs: McKay, Kean, Nyame, Bruce, Scotchfield.

GREENOCK JUNIORS: McWilliams; Queen, Doherty, McVittie, Gó?d?, Higgins, McCabe, Finlay, Morton, Brown, Thomson. Subs: Paton, McClure.