Whitletts Vics : Match Report
BENBURB 2 - WHITLETTS VICTORIA 1
Vics crashed out of the West of Scotland Cup at New Tinto Park despite a late fightback that had their Premiership opponents clinging on for victory.
The Bens, managed by former Ayr and Hibernian defender Paul Lovering, looked comfortable when they took a two goal lead early in the second period but they had to withstanding a late onslaught from Whitletts who couldn’t get that equaliser that would have taken the game to a penalty shoot out.
The first period was a largely forgetful affair. Bens had the majority of play and chances that were few and far between. Vics had the first real chance when Callum Ogston managed to get in front of a defender but headed Stewart Davidson's byeline cross over at the back post.
Benburb were having the better of the play but it took them until the 18th minute to create a chance of note when Ryan Livingston rose at the back post but headed his effort wide of the target.
Callum Walsh denied former Airdrie and Dunfermline winger Willie McLaren with a last ditch challenge as he seemed set to score and then Livingston’s header from a Ryan McCrone cross flashed wide.
With five minutes of the half remaining a goal line clearance by Walsh kept Vics goal intact with young keeper Cole Millen making a superb save to block Greg Maitland’s follow up.
However it only took the home side sixty seconds after the restart to make the breakthrough. Poor defending by Vics down the right allowed McCrone to set up James Marks who fired home at the front post.
That goal gave Bens a lift and ten minutes later they doubled their advantage. The Vics defence switched off as a free kick inside the visitors half found Maitland in acres of space and from 22 yards he curled a low shot past Millen.
There looked to be no way back for Whitletts but after weathering further pressure from the home side it was Vics who should have reduced the leeway midway through the half when Michael Reilly set up Davidson in acres of space at the edge of the box but with the keeper rooted to the spot, Davidson tried to pass the ball into the net only for it to come back off the post.
But that chance gave Vics belief in their ability and Reilly fired wide from the edge pf the box as the visitors stepped up the pressure. And in the 72nd minute that pressure paid off. Thomas Donovan played the ball wide to Andy Kerr and from his low cross Reilly was on hand to fire Vics back into the game.
Now it was Whitletts who looked the more likely with the Benburb defence clinging on and their task was made harder in the 87th minute when central defender Josh Meechan was shown a red card for a second bookable offence.
Yet despite being down to ten men it was Benburb who almost snatched a third straight away when McLaren broke into the box and his byeline cross cum shot came back off the post.
But the rest of the action was at the other end with Bens keeper Ryan McWilliams keeping out a Reilly header and with the last action of the game McWilliams repeated the feat to keep out a Walsh header and in the crowded penalty area Isaac Kerr blasted the loose ball over the bar.
A spirited fightback by Whitletts but next week it is back to the vital business of picking up league points when Neilston come to Dam Park looking to protect their impressive ten match unbeaten run.
1. McWilliams 2. McAndrew 3. Wright 4. Livingston 5. Meechan 6. McCrone 7. McLaren 8. Fisher 9. Marks (Mullaney 68) 10. Diver (Rodden 60) 11. Maitland
Subs (not used) 12. Rankin 15. Mulchachy 17. Connelly
1. Millen (A. Kerr 63) 2. Findlay 4. I.Kerr 5. Walsh 6. Cunningham 9. Reilly 10. Donovan 12. Ogston 16. Davidson 17. Dinwoodie 19. Brown
Subs (not used) 3. Millar 7. L.Kerr 8. Boyd 13. McColgan
Referee: Ross Birrell