LIKE most of the other clubs in the east region, Carnoustie Panmure were on Emirates Scottish Cup duty on Saturday and made the journey to Murrayfield Park to meet Blackburn United, in a second round tie.
Manager Ian Gilzean made changes to the side beaten by Hill of Beath in their last competitive game. John Roberts, Mike McIlravey and Kevin Milne were on from the start, with Kevin Cumming and Scott Robertson dropping to the bench, joining Mark Matthew and Shaun McLaren.
The Gowfers kicked off into a strong wind and nearly had a sensational start when Ross Hendry came off his line to meet a Gates cross, slipped, but quickly recovered to scramble the ball away. The play then went to the other end, where Millar got his head to a powerful header from McQuillan and conceded a corner which the unmarked Sneddon headed wide.
The home side should have opened the scoring after five minutes when McQuillan volleyed Miller’s cross over the bar from in front of goal. It was then Carnoustie’s turn to miss a chance when Narey’s free-kick was knocked on by Perera to Gates who saw his low drive saved by ‘keeper Hendry’s feet.
Burnie then went ahead through McQUILLAN, who headed home a perfect cross from Miller. The homesters had a good spell with first Hendry then Millar having to clear Carnoustie’s lines. McQuillan fired over with the goal at his mercy after a great move involving Rintone, Meekison and Miller gave him the chance.
In 21 minutes, the visitors went two down. McCafferty dropped a Campbell free kick at SNEDDON’S feet and he just had to tap it over the line.
On the half-hour mark the referee waved away strong penalty claims for hand ball from Carnoustie, when Gates sent a ball across the Blackburn goal. A minute later Roberts became the first player to be shown a yellow card after a foul on Rintone. Shortly after, Callaghan, for tripping Millar, then Campbell, for tripping Gates, were shown yellow.
From the second free kick, Carnoustie came close, when Milne just failed to get on the end of it. The Gowfers were saved on the stroke of half-time, when Roberts put in a great tackle on Callaghan who had intercepted McCafferty’s throw out.
Half-time: Blackburn United 2, Carnoustie Panmure 0.
The Gowfers made a double substitution before the second half got under way, with Narey and McIlravey making way for Robertson and Cumming.
After threatening from the start, the visitors pulled a goal back after Cumming fired in a shot, which was blocked on the line, but PERERA managed to force it over from close in.
With the wind at their backs, Carnoustie started putting pressure on Blackburn, and they should have levelled the tie when a great cross from Hendry was fired over by Cumming when it looked easier to score. Blackburn then had a chance when Spence sent a good ball across the face of Carnoustie’s goal but McQuillan missed it completely.
At the other end Carnoustie had chances when first Perera headed narrowly over then Milne scuffed his shot in front of goal. The play moved from end to end with McCafferty and Hendry having to rush out to clear balls.
In 70 minutes, Blackburn’s Hendry made a great save from a ferocious, long-range effort by Milne. Two minutes later, Blackburn made a change with McQuillan making way for Wright.
Carnoustie then came close from a Milne corner, when Millar’s bullet of a header shaved the outside of the post.
All the visitors’ pressure finally paid off in the 80th minute. A great through ball from Millar was picked up by MILNE and he hammered it home to level the tie.
Before the restart, Burnie made a change with Simpson replacing Callaghan. Two minutes later they also replaced Rintone with Stewart.
Carnoustie nearly won the tie at the death when a good cross from Clark, was blasted over the bar by Cumming.
This was definitely a game of two halves, but with the amount of chances Carnoustie had, they really should have won the game.
Blackburn United: Ross Hendry, Spence, Meekison, Sheddon, Brown, Crooks, Rintone (Stewart 86), Callaghan (Simpson 81), McQuillan (Wright 76), Miller, Campbell. Substitutes not used: Liddle, G. Crooks and McLaughlan.
Carnoustie Panmure: McCafferty, Narey (Robertson 45), Robert Hendry, Millar, Tonner, Roberts, McIlravey (Cumming 45), Clark, Perera, Milne, Gates. Substitutes not used: Matthew and McLaren.
Referee: Mr. Peter Stewart, Linlithgow.
Tomorrow (Saturday), the Gowfers are back on home soil where they welcome last week’s opponents, Blackburn United, in their first visit to Laing Park for their Emirates Scottish Cup second round replay.
When the pair last met in the ‘Scottish’ in 1999 they also drew the first match 2-2 at Murryfield Park.
In the replay the following week at Westfield Park they were also level at 1-1 after the regulation 90 minutes, but the Gowfers went on to win 4-1 after extra-time. Nowadays, however, extra-time has been abandoned and should the sides still be level after 90 minutes, penalty kicks will decide the winner.
Kick off will be at the earlier time of 2 p.m.