League: League Cup

Sauchie Juniors vs Blackburn United

Sauchie 2 (Cross (pen) 20mins, Bryson 47mins)
Blackburn United 1 (Queen 44mins)

After winning away to Premier Division opposition in the first round of the League Cup United’s reward was another away tie against another Premier Division side and with striker Danny Campbell out injured and young back-up Laurie Devine having had to play the full ninety minutes the previous evening in the Lowland Development League game against Spartans, captain Michael Browne was forced to become an auxiliary striker for the afternoon, although an injury to midfielder Marc Smith midway through the half forced a reshuffle that eventually saw Devine enter the fray to take up the striking duties and allow Browne to slot back into the middle of the park. However, moments before this change Blackburn had slipped behind to a penalty, Crawford skipping past one challenge after another before being brought to ground just inside the eighteen yard box and from the resultant penalty CROSS slammed the ball past Craig Saunders and into the bottom left hand corner. Sauchie then came close to adding a second but when Finlayson came in off the left his twenty five yarder was too high. Five minutes later James Mildren headed a Cross delivery clear but only as far as Finlayson whose curled effort flew over the top. Young was then brought into action in the home goal when Kyle McClung made ground on the right and cut inside before firing his shot from around twenty yards into the midriff of the ‘keeper. The equaliser, though, arrived just before the break when a sharp and incisive first time pass from Martin Lawrie sent Paddy QUEEN racing clear on the left and when he cut inside Houston he unleashed an unstoppable effort into the roof of Young’s net from twenty yards or more.

Parity only lasted a mere one hundred and twenty seconds of the second half however and when a long ball forward caught the United rearguard square BRYSON raced in behind amongst a howl of offside calls and retained his composure sufficiently to slot the ball past the advancing Saunders. Saunders was then called into action to save a McCaughie shot after Syme and Finlayson had combined to set him up but the action was being confined to the midfield areas of a heavy playing surface that was slowly beginning to cut-up and was offering up no real opportunities at either end, although the hosts long ball delivery was constantly a test for the Blackburn back four. Midway through the half John Drummond was first to reach a Darren McIntosh cross into the Sauchie box but although his effort ended up in the net he was adjudged to have bundled the keeper over in putting it there and the goal was disallowed. With no more chances forthcoming thereafter it was the Beechwood Park men who advanced to the third round draw.

Blackburn United line-up: Saunders, McIntosh (Welsh 82), Lawrie, Mildren, Drummond, Smith (L.Devine 23), McClung, Kane, Browne, McLeod, Queen (McDowall 66) Subs (not used): Howe, Clements

Sauchie line-up: Young, Houston, Syme, Wright, Cross, Sharp, McCaughie, Donaldson, Crawford, Bryson, Finlayson Subs: McTaggart, Dawson, Cummings, McKeown, Cameron, Maitland

Referee: Mr. Ryan Lee
Assistants: Mr. James Taylor & Mr. Cameron Doyle

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Newtongrange Star vs Blackburn United

Newtongrange Star 1 (Paterson 15mins)
Blackburn United 5 (Hutton 43mins, Watson 65mins, Campbell 71 & 74mins, L.Devine 90mins)

United travelled to New Victoria Park for this First Round League Cup game never having previously won away from home against their hosts and inside the first ten minutes it looked as if it might be another torrid afternoon when first Young and then Thomson came close with efforts from around the edge of the eighteen yard box. However, just as it appeared the early flurry from the hosts would bear no fruit a misunderstanding between Kyle McClung and Craig Saunders in the United goal gifted PATERSON a glorious opportunity to open the scoring and he wasn’t about to pass it up and simply walked the ball into an open goal. At the other end Danny Campbell took advantage of some slackness to hit a shot that was deflected into Mack’s hands and then the strong running Paddy Queen slalomed past two challenges only to be blocked by Young as he prepared to shoot. Campbell then stepped up again but his shot flew over the junction of post and bar after he’d turned past Christie and into a yard of space. Three minutes from the interval though and Blackburn had Justin Watson to thank for not falling further behind, the midfielder clearing Paterson’s shot off the line and little more than two minutes later they were instead celebrating, Kieran Welsh linking with Richie HUTTON who controlled the ball on his chest before hitting a looping, twenty five yarder high over the head of Mack and into the top left hand corner.

Nine minutes into the second half an angled Thomson shot was touched onto the post by the fingertips of Darren Mitchell but the hosts presence as an attacking force ended soon thereafter when Young checked the darting run of David Howe and found himself looking at a second yellow card and subsequent dismissal. Blackburn then duly took complete command of the midfield and some clever interplay between Queen and Howe resulted in Marc Smith curling a shot just off target. However, some six minutes later United deservedly moved in front when Justin WATSON picked the ball up in midfield to dance through a packed Newtongrange rearguard and coolly pick his spot behind Mack. Next to find his way onto the scoresheet was CAMPBELL who manoeuvred himself onto the back post where he drilled home an inch perfect delivery from Hutton after the wide man had scampered free on the right and onto a pass from Welsh. Three minutes later CAMPBELL then grabbed his own second and Blackburn’s fourth after Watson almost delivered a repeat of his earlier goal only to be denied by a blocking tackle that fell kindly for the striker to sweep the ball past Mack. A minute into added time the scoring was complete when Welsh rolled a pass into the path of substitute Stuart McLeod and when Mack couldn’t hold onto his strike from the edge of the area fellow substitute Laurie DEVINE was on hand to nod home.

Blackburn United line-up: Saunders, Welsh, McClung, Mildren, Browne, Smith (McLeod 77), Hutton (L.Devine 81), Watson, Campbell, Howe (McDowall 65), Queen Subs (not used): McIntosh, Gunn, Kinross, Mitchell

Newtongrange Star line-up: Mack, Young, Christie, Cherrie, Nelson, Scott, Paterson, Porteous, Conlon, Thomson, Reid Subs: Swaney, McIntosh, Hastie, Bracks, Murray, Gillon, Dyet

Referee: Mr. K.Lindsay

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