MATCH FOCUS - CUP OF WOE

THE WILLIAM HILL SCOTTISH CUP – ROUND ONE Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale 3 Inverurie Loco Works 2

Saturday September 23rd 2017

LTHV: Robertson, Sherlock, O’Donnell, Crawford, Munro, Moore (Swanson), Hare (Hutchison), Muir, Wringe (Nhamburo), D

evlin, Brown. Unused subs: Mungall, Simpson, Watters.

Inverurie Locos: Mathieson, Crisp, Mitchell, Duff (Gordon), Souter, Broadhurst, Charlesworth (Laing), McLean, Hunter, McDonald (Bolton), McCabe. Unused subs: Rennie, Gill, Booth.

Referee – Chris Gentles Match Stats – Locos first. Shots On 12-9, shots off 8-5, Fouls 12-16, Corners 6-3, Offside 5-0, Yellows 2-3 .

Inverurie Locos crashed out of the William Hill Scottish Cup at the first hurdle on Saturday, with a late worldly strike from Sammy Nhamburo sending the Railwaymen home from the capital bitterly disappointed. Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale are a side with a rented ground bereft of the infrastructure needed to play Lowland League football, so are trapped below a glass ceiling & artificially, performance-wise, in the division down. Inverurie headed for Saughton without injured leading marksman Neil Gauld, the unavailable Jordan Leyden & influential wideman Colin Charlesworth well short of full match fitness. Impressive youngsters Josh Bolton & Craig Gill had earned call ups to the bench. LTHV had their first choice keeper Brown & fans’ favourite Cummings missing. The grass length at the Saughton Enclosure was more akin to Rugby Union, appropriate with Murrayfield in close proximity, with the kindest comment perhaps being that it was the same for both sides. With no terracing, seating or any covering, the punters were lucky that Edinburgh was basking in temperate conditions. Locos were worryingly sluggish from the off & Vale by contrast, were on the front foot, yomping through the not inconsequential meadow to better effect that the Red & Blacks. Wringe shot wide then Matty McDonald appeared to be through on goal but a raised flag halted the player. Sean Wringe again closed in on goal but Mathieson smothered. Dan Crisp rose highest at the back stick but his header was scrambled away. Mark Souter was harshly yellowed after eleven minutes, the young defender certainly appearing to hook the ball clear rather than foul his opponent. Devlin’s free-kick was saved, before keeper Robertson, cutting a jittery figure all afternoon, yet frustratingly untested & untried, fumbled a cross but Locos couldn’t punish as the mishandling deserved. Devlin had a close range shot beaten away by Mathieson then Charlesworth, correctly given a chance on his injury problem, had to take his leave after eighteen minutes. Martin Laing taking to the field. Disaster on twenty minutes when a punted ball bounced higher than envisaged, catching Mathieson clutching at fresh air, leaving DEVLIN with a tap in. The park was yielding inconsistent & erratic bounces but this was an incident that was avoidable. Just before the opening goal, a McDonald lob was undercooked & a McCabe low shot were both blocked by home players. Moore then went to the deck, appearing to be looking to get an opponent in some trouble & referee Gentles finger wagged a stern reposte, upon the player leaping back to his feet. More slack stuff from Inverurie gifted another LTHV goal on twenty six minutes. Lines were not cleared, Mathieson parried a shot straight back out into danger & WRINGE couldn’t believe his luck. The same chap was handed an easy chance to head home a third soon after but contrived to send the chance over the bar. Locos were in trouble but a Hunter header went just over then McCabe was clean through but a heavy first touch saw the chance gone. McDonald had a shot from ten yards but pulled it well wide. The home goalie dropped another ball swung into his box, but luckless Locos found the spillage dropping yet again to players in yellow & black. Inverurie really needed something ahead of the break & good build-up beavering from Neil McLean set up Martin LAING & his low show was tidily directed inside the post to get a foothold. It was the player’s third Scottish Cup goal. McLean & McCabe had chances to level ahead of the break. Sardonic cheers greeted the Dylan Moore yellow card, after a clutch of home fouls were either not seen or not punished. HT 2-1 to Vale. LTHV were doing an Argentina 1978, delaying their return to the park & the second half started a little late. O’Donnell looked to have sealed the deal for Hutchy, but his excellent shot was deflected wide. A Hunter header was cleared off the line, with claims it was over the line waved away. With the Inverurie record on goal-line calls this term this was not a shocker! Locos were finally pressing hard & with the home lads really toiling for fitness a leveller looking probable. That rare occurrence – a Broadhurst error - saw the home team look certain to score, but Mathieson atoned to a degree for earlier issues with a fine save on the edge of his box. A Hunter toe-poke & Souter header went wide, a McCabe drive was straight at the flapping Robertson, where anything to either side was a guaranteed goal. A McLean shot was deflected high, another McCabe counter was repelled then finally the equaliser arrived. Greg Mitchell, take a bow, surging play, neat short passing & an excellent pass inside set up Kyle GORDON and the young man surely had set Locos up for at least a replay. This was Kyle’s first senior goal & made him the twenty sixth Loco to net in the national cup. Seven minutes left. Referee Gentles awarded a few ever so soft free kicks to the central belt club & from one of these substitute Sammy Nhamburo found the ball falling to his feet, the fella swung a boot, buying a lottery ticket if you will, and would you believe it, he came up with six numbers. The rising ball swerved away from the diving goalie & nestled in the net. In the old interpretation at least one Vale player would most probably have been flagged for offside, but the youngster wasn’t be to denied & will probably win goal of the round. On chances & pressure the draw would have been fair, on endeavour & application from three o’clock to quarter to five LTHV would lay reasonable claim to be deserving of their once in a thousand late hit winning the day. Desperately disappointing for Locos, for despite being way below their best, should have at least have taken LTHV back to the Garioch. Vale were best served by Muir, Devlin & O’Donnell & now visit Stirling Albion. Locos are back at Banff on Saturday in the SHFL looking to right the wrong of their recent timid Aberdeenshire Cup exit. Kick off is 2pm.

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