ETHX Energy Scottish Junior Cup Quarter-Final Replay
by Chris Sanderson
IMPRESSIVE Buffs booked their first Scottish Junior Cup semi-final place in nine years after they blew the Mariners away with another scintillating opening half show.
Chris Strain Jnr's side turned on the style, effectively having the tie as good as in the bag by the half-time interval after goals from Bryan Boylan, Ross Stewart and Dean Agnew had the Abbey Park outfit in the driving seat.
Camelon came roaring back after the break and a David Grant effort with 20 minutes threw the home side a lifeline but Ricky Hanvey restored Kilwinning’s three-goal lead and from there Strain’s side comfortably saw out the victory and deservedly progressed.
The visitors had to withstand some early pressure as last season’s East of Scotland League Cup winners went straight for the jugular.
But they were knocked straight out of their stride as Strain’s side made the vital breakthrough after just seven minutes. Joe Coleman swung a dangerous delivery deep into the danger area for target man Stewart to tee up the ammunition for Lewis to strike home a low delivery through a posse of defenders into the far corner of the net.
The Buffs' tails were up now cheered on by a noisy away following who could smell blood and by the quarter hour mark they hit the home side with another vital killer blow. Boylan mugged Mariners left back Jordan Devlin who had dwelled on the ball too long and the striker teed up Stewart with the opportunity to execute the visitors' second goal with an instinctive striker's goal from a diving header.
The next goal took on took on significant importance and another goal for the rampant visitors would as good as effectively kill the contest off.
And four minutes ahead of the interval the away side put themselves within touching distance of the last four. Every time diminutive winger Agnew picked up the ball you almost anticipated something was about to happen. The Buffs talisman picked up the ball and cut across the edge of the penalty area before playing a deft one-two with Stewart and then let fly with a low drive which beat home keeper David Kane.
From here it was Kilwinning’s tie to lose but at the start of the second half the visitors had to withstand a wave of home pressure.
Just two minutes after the break, Derek Ure rattled Adam Strain’s far post with a thunderous drive. And Grant missed a great opportunity shortly after with a gaping goal at his mercy after his usual impeccable touch let him down as he prepared to pull the trigger.
But it was no surprise when Grant made it third time lucky for the Falkirk side when he stabbed home an Alan Benton cross with 20 minutes remaining to give the hosts a chink of hope.
However any lingering hopes they had disappeared within four minutes when the ever-reliable Ian Cashmore stepped off the bench to set about Camelon’s defence for the killer knock-out blow. The striker robbed Benton and fired in an effort which Kane could only divert into the path of Hanvey, who made no mistake from 12 yards to win the tie and send the Buffs' travelling army into raptures.
KILWINNING RANGERS: Strain; Coleman, Fleeting, Kerr, Maitland, Hanvey, Agnew, McGuinness, Stewart, Lewis, Boylan. Subs: Boyd, Cashmore, Cumming, Barrowman, Burns.