On Saturday, Carnoustie Panmure had a break from league business, when they welcomed Bathgate Thistle to Laing Park, for a third round tie in the D.J. Laing, East of Scotland Cup.
For the tie, although Danny Millar and Scott Robertson were both back, Euan Buggins and Marc Scott were both still unavailable, Kev Cumming was still suspended.
And to compound things, manager Alan McSkimming was dealt a blow earlier in the week, with the new management team at Montrose recalling all their loanees, which included midfielder Graham Webster, who had been on loan since the turn of the year.
In addition, Garry Kenneth had departed for Australia.
Carnoustie kicked off playing towards Barry and facing a near galeforce westerly wind. The homesters were the first to show, with Simpson trying a shot from the edge of the box, but he put the ball narrowly over the top.
Play swung back and forth for a time before Hutton tried a shot for the visitors, after 15 minutes, but put the ball well wide of Macpherson’s left-hand post. Four minutes later, Simpson combined with Neath, in a good move up the left, before the latter swung a cross into the box, towards Roberts, but the wind caught it and he couldn’t control the ball and Wilson stepped in to clear away downfield.
In 32 minutes, the Gowfers came close to opening their account when S. Robertson played a good ball through to Simpson, who drilled in a low shot, but Adamson got across to make a good save and turn the ball round his right-hand post for a fruitless corner.
Three minutes later, Watson was shown a yellow card for a foul on Bews. In 40 minutes, the Gowfers were again on the attack, with Roberts playing a good ball through to Simpson, but he had misjudged his run and was pulled up for offside. Two minutes later Bews made a great run into the Bathgate box where he was fouled by Watson and the referee immediately pointed to the spot.
Watson made his feelings known to the referee a bit too forcefully and was shown a second yellow and the visitors were down to 10 men. Once he had left the pitch, BEWS took the kick and fired the ball past Adamson, giving the ‘keeper no chance.
Carnoustie Panmure 1 Bathgate Thistle 0
Before the second half could get under way, the visitors made a change, with Aitken making way for Malone. The Gowfers now had the wind at their backs and were pushing forward at every opportunity and in 52 minutes came close to doubling their lead, when Bews sent in a good cross to Roberts, who powered in a header, but Adamson brought off a great save to deny him adding to the home side’s tally.
Three minutes later the Gowfers did notch their second after Simpson made a great run down the right, then crossed to BEWS, who slammed the ball home from six yards.
In 65 minutes, Bathgate made a second change, taking off McDonald and putting on Staskwitsch in his place. In 69 minutes the Gowfers went close to increasing their lead when Simpson laid the ball back to Bews, on the edge of the box, who fired in a shot, only to see it cleared off the line by Brady, with ‘keeper Adamson beaten.
A minute later the homesters made a double substitution, with McIlravey and Roberts making way for Birmingham and C. Robertson.
In 72 minutes, Birmingham outpaced the visitors’ defence and chased a long, through ball from Millar, but with the wind behind it, he couldn’t catch it and it ran behind for a goal kick.
The visitors began to come more into the game and in 75 minutes Hutton tried a shot from the edge of the box, but sent the ball just wide of Macpherson’s left-hand upright. A minute later Brady was shown a yellow card for comments made to the referee.
In 77 minutes the visitors got themselves back into the game after Malone was fouled by Millar, inside the box. McCORMACK took the resultant penalty and made no mistake.
Two minutes later, they really were back in the tie, after a cross from the left, reached the unmarked HUTTON who hammered it into the net to level the tie. Before the restart, the Gowfers made their third and final change, with Roach going on to replace McGeehan.
The loss of this second goal spurred the Gowfers into action again and they pressed hard for the winner, which paid off in the final minute, when Millar made a great run, from his own half, then laid the ball off to BIRMINGHAM, who drilled it low past Adamson, from the edge of the box.
The referee blew for full time straight after the restart and the Gowfers were safely through to the quarter-finals, after having so very nearly throwing it away.
Carnoustie Panmure: Macpherson, Cook, Neath, Millar, S. Robertson, McGeehan, McIlravey, Roberts, Bews, Smith, Simpson.
Substitutes: C. Robertson, Birmingham, Roach (t), Ferrie (gk).
Bathgate Thistle: Adamson, Watson, Harris, McDonald, Brady, Wilson, Stewart, McCormack, Aitken, Maskrey, Hutton. Substitutes – Malone, Staskwitsch.
Tomorrow (Saturday), the Gowfers are back on the hunt for league points with Sauchie Juniors the visitors to Laing Park.
The Clackmannanshire club are doing reasonably well this season and currently occupy the eighth rung of the ladder.
When the sides first met this season, back on August 30, it was they who claimed all three points, courtesy of a narrow 1-0 win, but tomorrow Alan McSkimming’s men will be hoping it is they who come out on top, as they strive to get away from the dreaded relegation zone. Kick-off, tomorrow, is again scheduled to get under way at 2.30 p.m.