Penicuik Athletic 2,Arbroath Vics 0
Having hit six past Premier League side Kinnoull in the previous round of the Scottish Junior Cup, Arbroath Vics were faced an even more difficult task when they travelled south to meet Superlague side Penicuik Athletic in the third round on Saturday.
The Midlothian side was full of experienced players most of whom had had spells playing in the senior ranks before moving to Penicuik.
Vics were without Dale Riddell and Garry Warren, which meant David Sturrock and Matty Johnston were recalled to the starting line-up.
Considering the rain, which had battered the country throughout the week, the playing surface, although soft, was in good condition as the match got under way.
Vics carved out the first opening in the fourth minute when Penicuik gave the ball away in midfield and Scott Donald latched on to it and picked out Kane Hester on the right. The striker quickly sent the ball into the penalty area, where Scott Donald had continued his run, but he just failed to get on the end of it and the cross flashed across the face of goal and out for a throw-in at the corner flag.
The home side quickly responded and three minutes later Scott McCulloch made space for Neil Janczyk to whip over a cross, which just eluded Steven Weir as he raced into the six-yard box.
Penicuik were forced into an early change when Weir pulled up in the 10th minute and he was forced to go off with Ryan McCallum taking his place.
A Janczyk free kick played short to Ryan Gay allowed him to make space for Douglas Cunnison to drive the ball across the face of goal, but fortunately for Vics there were no takers and it drifted wide of the post without troubling Alex Cargill.
Vics, however, were digging in and created a chance of their own in the 19th minute. Craig Sturrock played the ball upfield to Kane Hester who held it up before turning it back to Kieran MacGregor who fired a shot over Youssef Bejaoui’s bar from 25 yards.
Matthew Swan picked up the first booking of the afternoon for a foul on Douglas Cunnison on the far side of the pitch.
Craig Sturrock followed him into the book when he swiped down Daniel Rennie on the far side of the box, and the free kick led to Penicuik taking the lead. Janczyk fired the ball into the box and unfortunately for Vics, STEVE FLORENCE stuck out a foot and the ball diverted into his own net.
Penicuik were beginning to string their passes together now and a good move ended with the ball being played back to Greg Ross who fired in a low shot, which took a deflection, and Cargill did well to get down and smother his effort.
A couple of minutes later, Rennie and Jordan Lister combined to set up Gay, but he turned his shot over the bar when he perhaps should have done better.
Rennie had an even better chance in the 35th minute when Janczyk clipped the ball towards the far post, but he failed to hit the target from close range, sending his header wide of the post.
With half time approaching Sturrock was penalised for a foul a yard outside the box, picking up a yellow card in the process. Ryan McCallum took the resultant free kick, but he failed to breach the Vics defensive wall, the ball cannoning back off the maroon jerseys before the referee brought proceedings to a halt.
Half-time: Penicuik Athletic 1 Arbroath Vics 0
There were early bookings for Penicuik pair Darrell Young and Janczyk inside the first four minutes of the second half for fouls on Hester and Kieran MacGregor before the first attempt at goal came along.
Cunnison delivered a teasing cross into the box, which Rennie knocked down for McCallum but from close range he screwed his shot across the face of goal and wide of the far post.
Soon after, centre-half Young got above the Vics’ defence to get on the end of a Gay corner, but his glancing header dropped wide of the post.
At the other end, Vics caused a moment of anxiety for the home support when MacGregor got the ball up to Donald who turned his marker and sent in a low shot, which skipped wide of the post.
Penicuik made a second change in the 58th minute when James McPartlin came on for Rennie before Hester was harshly yellow carded for a foul on Gay.
Cargill produced a great save to keep Vics only one goal in arrears diving low to his right to tip a shot from McPartlin around the post as the substitute tried to make an early impact. The goal was only partially delayed however; as from the flag kick, the ball found its way over to the opposite touchline and when it was whipped back in, RYAN McCALLUM rose above everyone to plant a header into the back of the net.
With Vics pushing forward, they were almost caught out when a quick Penicuik break left them exposed at the back with Gay and McPartlin cutting through the defence, but Gay wasted the opportunity by shooting high over the bar.
Cargill pulled off another fine save to thwart Penicuik, plunging low to his right to push a McCallum drive onto the base of the post, before Vics got the ball out of the danger area.
Substitutions followed with Vics sending on Joe Tindal for Matthew Swan in the 73rd minute, while six minutes later Josh Chalmers was replaced by Colin Lawson. At the same time Penicuik took off McCulloch and put on David Burrell.
Gay should have sealed the win for Penicuik when he was sent free by McPartlin, but he tried to chip Cargill as he left his line to try and narrow the angle, and sent the ball over the bar.
Vics enjoyed a good ending to the match, forcing three corners in the closing minutes before coming close to pulling a goal back in the 89th minute. Hester broke through the Penicuik defence before rolling the ball into the box for Donald whose angled shot on the run produced a good save from Youssef Bejaoui; the ‘keeper flinging up his arms to turn his net bound effort round the post.
Over the piece, Penicuik were worthy winners and once the second goal went in never looked likely to lose. Vics, however, showed plenty grit and determination and stuck to their task against a vastly more experienced side and returned home with their pride intact.
Penicuik Athletic: Bejaoui, Cunnison, Ross, White, Young, Lister, Rennie (McPartlin 58), McCulloch (Burrell 79), Weir (McCallum 10), Gay, Janczyk. Unused subs: Killin, GK Hill.
Arbroath Vics: Cargill, MacGregor, Sturrock, Florence, Johnston, Sturrock, Chalmers (Lawson 79), Swan (Tindal 73), Thomson, Hester, Donald. Unused sub: McWalter.
With their Scottish Junior Cup exploits over for another season, it’s back to league business for Vics tomorrow (Saturday) when they make the short trio north to meet Brechin Vics. Kick-off is at 1.45 p.m. and transport leaves Ogilvy Park at 12.15 p.m.
Winners this week were: £20 – No. 54, Elaine Simpson; £10 – No. 63, Jackie McKenzie; £5 – No. 12, Matty Johnston.