Forth 1 East Kilbride 2 – 7th May 2016

Forth Wanderers 1 East Kilbride Thistle 2

East Kilbride Thistle gained a modicum of revenge for their last gap defeat at Kingshill Park last Saturday, scoring a late winner of their own to knock the Wanderers out of the Central League Cup.

Forth made several changes from the side victorious the previous week and, in a nice touch, were welcomed on to the field with a guard of honour from the visitors. Thistle began in determined mood and took the lead after 12 minutes. A long free kick was met by the head of Adam Boyle on the edge of the box and his looping header ended up in the back of the net despite the best efforts of David Cherrie in the Forth goal. The Wanderers came close two minutes later when Craig Gupwell met a free kick at the back post but, from a tight angle, he headed past.

The visitors came close again on 19 minutes when a fine Liam McGlaughlin cross found Alan McFadden in space, but the Thistle skipper headed across goal and wide. At the other end, Ian Harty met a corner from Stevie Kane from the left, but his powerful header went narrowly over. The final opportunity of the half fell to East Kilbride, Conor Johnstone firing a free kick just over the bar but it remained 1-0 to Thistle at the interval.

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Forth began the second half positively, Barry McGeechan who had replaced the injured Ian Harty late in the first half, injecting some pace into the Wanderers attack. And it was McGeechan who came close to leveling the scores just after the hour mark, his shot heading for the top corner until Christopher Treacy managed to pull off a fine save turning the ball away for a corner. Stephen Tait then pulled a shot wide after some good build up play as Forth began to dominate. However, they were up against a goalkeeper in inspired form and Treacy made another fantastic save to deny a goalbound shot from Kane at the expense of a corner. And from the corner he was there again to block a Lachlan Tait header on the line.

It was beginning to look as though Forth would never get the ball past Treacy but that was to change with 80 minutes on the clock. McGeechan was tripped in the box and, although the ball broke to Kane who tucked it in the net, a penalty was awarded. With regular penalty taker Kristopher Dick suspended, up stepped McGeechan himself to coolly send Treacy the wrong way and make it 1-1. It looked to be heading for a penalty shootout until, with 89 minutes played, a ball from the left found Thistle substitute Craig Miles in space and he turned smartly and fired the ball into the net for what proved to be the winner.

We wish East Kilbride good luck in the next round against Cumbernauld as our thoughts turn to our final league game against Royal Albert. We are awaiting confirmation from the West Region, but it now looks likely to be played on Friday 20th May.

Forth team : Cherrie,Watson(Rennie),Ward,Gupwell,S.Tait,J.Dick(L.Tait),Kane,Grenfell,
Scott,Harty(McGeechan),McMullen