KIRKINTILLOCH Rob Roy progressed into the third round of the Central League Cup, but had to fight all the way to overcome a spirited display from their Central Division 2 opponents Vale of Clyde.
Rob Roy................ 3
Vale of Clyde.......... 2
Euroscot Eng Central League Cup 2nd Round
Rabs began brightly with Hunter’s shot deflected for a corner. From the resultant kick, Smith blazed wildly over the bar.
The hosts were rocked when Vale of Clyde took the lead in the 13th minute. Keeper Maillie sent a long clearance deep into the Rob Roy half and, as the home defence hesitated, McManus was first to the ball to send his 18-yard shot past Brown.
Rabs responded in positive style and only a good low save from Maillie prevented Meechan from opening Rabs’ account in the 22nd minute.
Vale of Clyde’s lead was cancelled a minute later when Bradley accepted a Lindsay pass in the penalty box and drove the ball into the net from close range. A minute later Crook’s header was well saved by Maillie.
In the latter stages of the first half Vale looked the more menacing in front of goal. Brown, making his Rabs debut, did well to make a diving save from the impressive McManus before a McGowan shot was deflected through to the keeper.
In the 36th minute the visitors took a deserved lead when a McManus cross was headed home by the unmarked Francis.
Rabs made a half-time substitution, sending on Diack for the ineffectual Crooks in an attempt to bring sting into their attack and the move nearly paid off within minutes of the re-start when the striker’s header was well saved by Maillie.
The visitors were testing the Rabs defence and but for weak finishing could have increased their lead.
Rabs equalised in the 63rd minute when Diack broke down the left wing before exquisitely chipping the ball over the head of the outrushing keeper. A minute later Vale were awarded a penalty kick when McManus was tripped in the box by Connolly. McKinstray’s well-struck spot-kick was brilliantly touched around the post by Brown, which proved the turning point in the match.
Rabs were now going for the winner and both Diack and McAleenan sent efforts over the bar before MacLachlan tried a long range shot which went well wide. With 10 minutes remaining Rabs took the lead for the first time in the match when McAleenan latched on to a pass from the left wing to drill the ball past Maillie.
The Tollcross side battled back, seeking the goal which would have taken the tie to a penalty shoot-out.
Brown did well to save a Francis header and Smith made a timely block from Stewart, before Gallacher flashed a volley inches past Brown’s post a minute into stoppage time.
At the end it was Rob Roy who were the happier to hear the final blast of referee Lowe’s whistle.
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