Blackburn United 4 Stoneyburn 3 AET

Blackburn United 4 (Millar 44mins, Heath 65mins, Garrad 80mins & 120mins)

Stoneyburn 3 (Hendry 7mins, Scott 24mins & 87mins)

Stoneyburn got off to a bright start in the seventh minute when a defensive mix-up allowed HENDRY to nip in ahead of his marker and knock the ball out of goalkeeper Craig Saunders’ hand to give the Fulshie the lead. With Stoneyburn continuing to impose themselves on the game, Blackburn pressed forward to try and nab a goal and won a corner-kick despite protestations that they felt a stonewall penalty should have been awarded in the twenty fourth minute. It was the Fulshie who capitalised on the set piece though by breaking forward on the counter from the corner with Robertson drawing Saunders out before squaring to SCOTT for the centre forward to tap into an empty net. In fact, the closest United came to scoring arrived from Stoneyburn’s ex-Blackburn man McConnell when his clearance came too close to the net for Craig’s liking with the goalkeeper forced to parry it over the bar just to be safe. The Burnie eventually reduced the arrears just before half-time when a free-kick was lifted onto the head of Marcus MILLAR who nodded back across the face of goal and home to grant Blackburn the momentum a minute before the break.

The hosts were much improved from then on, but Stoneyburn were resolute in their defending, sensing the opportunity to cause a cup shock. However, United deservedly drew level after an unfortunate error from Craig which saw the ball fall at the feet of Calum HEATH who scooped the ball past the despairing goalkeeper in the sixty fifth minute. Inside the final twenty minutes Blackburn had the ball in the net twice more, first when Richie Hutton rounded the ‘keeper to slot home and then when Andy McQuillan lashed into the roof of the net, but were denied by the offside flag on each occasion. With ten minutes to go though, GARRAD believed he had snatched the winner for Blackburn after his low strike from the edge of the box found the bottom left hand corner of Craig’s net to seemingly complete the comeback. However, there was another twist in the eighty seventh minute. Determined play saw Lyall Cameron lose out on the Blackburn right and when a near post ball arrived at the feet of SCOTT he tapped it home to send the game into extra-time.

With the cold weather beginning to bite, the tension was palpable as the clock ticked closer to what seemed to be an inevitable penalty shoot-out but GARRAD flipped the script in the final moments when the ball fell to him from a free-kick and his half-volley was whacked firmly over the line with the aid of a deflection to send Blackburn into the third round of the South Challenge Cup.

Blackburn United line-up: Saunders, Cameron, Millar, Mildren, Drummond, Meikle, Heath (Devine 92), Howe (Browne 66), Sweeney (McQuillan 61), Garrad, Smith (Hutton 56)  Subs (not used): McClung, Kane, Kidd

Stoneyburn line-up: Craig, Calvey, Guatella, McConnell, Gallagher, Hendry, Brady, Brown, Scott, Donaldson, Robertson  Subs: Hislop, McLay, Mooney, Wilson, Young, Mackie

Referee: Mr. Robert Thomson

Assistants: Mr. Boise Allan & Mr. Jack Leslie