Match Report - By Steven Mew
Following two evenly-matched ties which couldn’t separate the sides, City eventually succumbed to Darvel on penalties at Recreation Park yesterday evening.
The West of Scotland Premier outfit, playing in their first ever Scottish Cup tie at home, held their nerve on spot kicks to advance through to the 4th round where they will meet Arbroath.
Owing to postponements, City were in action for the first time since the initial tie against Darvel just over a fortnight ago. Andy Kirk made three changes to that side with Lyall Booth, Michael Paton and Julian Wade all coming in.
The home side were first to threaten on 8 minutes when Iain Ross made a fine save to deny skipper Darryl Meggatt and shortly after, MacKenzie fired over the bar.
City reacted and came close themselves when Mackintosh’s ball into the box was just missed by Wade at the back post. Barely a minute later, Paton jinked past a challenge on the edge of the box before firing over.
The hosts were forced into a couple of early changes, with former City man Jordan Kirkpatrick and Andy Stirling both hobbling off injured.
Shortly before the half hour mark, Iain Ross was called into action as he showed great reflexes to tip Meggatt’s header onto the crossbar.
Back came City and a cross from the right side was met by Wade who flicked on to Booth at the back post but he couldn’t keep his volley down. Booth would come close again shortly after when he just failed to make contact with an inviting cross from Wade.
City continued to apply the pressure with Scott threading a ball through for Inglis who saw his shot deflected for a corner.
Andy Kirk’s side were very much knocking on the door and they got their reward seven minutes before the break as they made the breakthrough. Kucheriavyi’s cross sat up nicely for KIERAN INGLIS who showed great composure to side foot his volley into the corner.
It looked as if City would be heading in with a half time lead, however the home side pulled themselves level in stoppage time. Miller floated a corner into the box for DARRYL MEGGATT who rose highest to nod into the corner.
Seven minutes after the restart, Scott got the better of his man down the right hand side of the box before producing a save from Truesdale at the near post.
The game really heated up on 57 minutes when a reckless challenge by Monaghan on Scott sparked a brief melee, with the Darvel player only receiving a yellow card when he could have easily seen red. Jamie Bain was also cautioned for his involvement following the challenge.
With quarter of an hour remaining Inglis played a ball through for Wade who showed great strength and determination to get the better of a defender but saw his effort kept out by the Darvel keeper.
Darvel took the lead on the 80 minute mark when Darren Miller’s powerful strike flew past a ruck of bodies and was diverted into the net by RYAN THOMSON.
City pushed bodies forward in search of an equaliser and came close when Lyall Booth hit the crossbar following a deep cross by Kieran Inglis. Two minutes later, another Inglis cross found substitute Jack Milne inside the area but he could flick tamely at Truesdale in the Darvel goal.
With just two minutes of regulation time remaining, City grabbed a dramatic equaliser to force the game to penalties. MURRAY MACKINTOSH found himself in plenty of space 30 yards from goal and he let fly with a rasping effort with flew into the top corner.
The game went into a penalty shootout with Kieran Inglis converting first for City following a retake, with Darren Miller following suit for the home side. Garry Wood was denied by Truesdale with the second penalty, however Iain Ross ensured it stayed level as he saved Ian McShane’s spot kick.
Murray Mackintosh, Jamie Bain and Max Kucheriavyi all converted for City with Darvel also netting three penalties as it went into sudden death.
Jack Milne stepped up next for City but saw his penalty saved by Truesdale. Although the referee ordered the penalty to be retaken due to the keeper coming off his line too early, Milne was denied again by the Darvel keeper from the retake.
This handed Darvel the opportunity to win the game, with Ryan Thomson dispatching with aplomb to spark wild celebrations amongst home players and supporters.
It was a cruel way to exit the competition for a City side that put so much into the two matches, but ultimately came up just short on the night.
Attention now turns to the league as City host Deveronvale at Glebe Park this coming Saturday.