Forth Wanderers 3 Royal Albert 2
Both sides were looking for their first win in the competition and the early stages of the game were fairly even, but it was the Wanderers who almost took the lead after 14 minutes. A great ball in from Willie McClaren on the left saw John Rennie rise above the Albert defenders to head just over. The industrious Ian Harty setup Martin Hannaway five minutes later with a defence splitting pass,but his effort was turned round the post by keeper Danny Terry.
At the other end Paul Mckane saved from Fraser Scott just after the half hour mark before Harty setup Alan Christie for Forth, but the striker fired narrowly wide. The Wanderers continued to press and Terry did well to turn a Harty shot away for a corner.
A goal looked to be coming but when it did it came against the run of play, with the Albert taking a surprise lead. Steven Clark took advantage of some hesitant Forth defending to rob the ball and advance in on goal and he kept his head to round McKane and stroke home. A blow to the Wanderers although within 5 minutes they were level, Martin Hannaway eluding the Albert offside trap to round Terry and fire home just prior to the interval.
Albert began the second half on the front foot and Allan Campbell rattled the bar from distance two minutes after the restart and a free kick from the same player then forced McKane into a fine save at the expense of a corner after 59 minutes. A minute later and it was the Wanderers who regained the lead. Fine play down the left by the impressive Willie McClaren saw him play the ball into Declan Walker who was upended in the box and a penalty awarded. Alan Christie stepped up and converted the spot kick with the minimum of fuss.
Albert were posing much more of a threat and McKane pulled off another fine save on 69 minutes to prevent the equaliser. The visitors were not to be denied however and substitute Craig McCowan beat McKane, who had raced from his goal, to a long ball and had the simple job of lobbing the ball over the Forth keeper and into the empty net.
The play flowed from end to end as the clock ticked down with both sides intent on finding a winner and with a minute remaining McClaren made it 3-2 to the Wanderers. It was a fine individual goal with him beating a couple of men before making space for the shot and finishing well. The Albert weren’t finished however and only a tremendous injury time save by McKane from a Campbell free kick stopped them getting the point they’ll feel they deserved for their second half showing.
A good win for the Wanderers especially after the midweek mauling at Larkhall. Next up, local rivals Lanark visit Kingshill with Forth looking to avenge their 5-3 defeat in the Clydesdale Cup.
Forth team : McKane,Watson(S.Tait),Ward,L.Tait,McMullen,Walker,Christie,Rennie(Tipping),