ACSC took on Bank Street Athletic in the second round of The Bremner Cup on Saturday.
Having reached the final of the competition the previous two seasons the ACSC were looking to make it third time lucky and finally get their hands on the elusive trophy.
Bank Street had recently hit form and were The Midlands’ only representative in the Scottish Cup at the last 32 stage, having beaten Giffnock North only last week to progress.
After a five-week lay-off themselves the ACSC players were looking forward to getting back to business, but with a number of personnel unavailable due to suspensions, work commitments and trips away manager Gunning was forced to shuffle his pack once more.
ACSC lined up with a back three of McCulloch, Gersok and Grovez. A midfield five of R. Swan, Forbes, McDowell, Gatrick and Mattheson with Pearson and Gillespie leading the attack, a team more than capable of getting a positive result.
The game started at a fast pace with both teams contesting every ball but it was ACSC who were first to create any sort of clear cut chance.
McDowell fed Pearson, who had timed his run perfectly, to leave him one-on-one with the ‘keeper only for Pearson to see his effort well saved.
ACSC created another chance minutes later, this time a cross from the right from Pearson left Gillespie with the goal gaping, the striker uncharacteristically missing the target.
Next it was Bank Street’s turn to create a couple of openings with Cargill and Grovez combining well to prevent an almost certain goal from the visiting striker.
In fact it was Bank Street who opened the scoring after some nice play and some slack defending allowed the visitors to sneak a shot in from the angle off the post beyond the helpless Smiles.
ACSC found themselves penned in at this point and were struggling to find any kind of respite from a hard working opposition. However despite struggling to find any rhythm or fluency, ‘keeper Cargill in the goals had little to do of any note and the ACSC went in at half time one goal down.
Half time: ACSC 0, Bank Street Athletic 1
Manager Gunning only had words of encouragement at half-time and urged the players to find an equaliser.
However it was Athletic who went further ahead after the referee gave a debatable free kick 35 yards out from the home goal.
This was to prove costly as the visitors floated a cross onto the edge of the 18 yard box and the Bank Street forward won the header. Despite pre-game warnings about being alert to second balls the striker nipped in ahead of the ACSC defender to slot beyond Cargill in the goal. A poor goal to lose from ACSC’s point of view.
ACSC continued to battle away but even now that they were passing the ball better they could not seem to create any clear openings and the game became bogged down in midfield.
With 10 minutes to go Bank Street got a fortuitous third when a cross from the right lobbed into the goal with Cargill helpless and the visitors progressed into the next round of the cup.
Full time: ACSC 0, Banks Street Athletic 3.
A spokesperson for ACSC said: “You could not fault the effort and the attitude from the ACSC players today but at times the quality wasn’t good enough right throughout the team.
“Perhaps a five-week lay off had something to do with it and maybe we lacked a bit of sharpness but it’ll come.
“Remember lads it’s our first defeat at home in domestic competitions in over two years, that’s not a bad record. Onwards and Upwards!
“The club would like to congratulate Bank Street on their victory and wish them all the best in the next round of the competition and in the Scottish next week where they are flying the flag for the Midlands League.”