Blackburn United 1 East Stirlingshire 2

South Regional Challenge Cup Third Round (Also better late than never…..)

Blackburn United 1 (L.Devine 88mins)

East Stirlingshire 2 (Flynn 23mins & 63mins)

Not so long ago the visitors were operating in the SPFL2 while United were on the bottom rung of the Junior football ladder in the East Region South Division, so this first ever competitive meeting of the sides was indicative of just how quickly things can change in football and it was the ‘Shire who showed their greater pedigree in the early stages with both Flynn and Millar providing a constant menace to the Blackburn rearguard. Indeed, just when it seemed as though their threat was being harnessed it was FLYNN who opened the scoring midway through the half when his terrific glancing header from an Orr cross was behind Darren Mitchell before the ‘keeper had any real time to react. Moments later though Mitchell was able to keep out another headed effort, saving from Tapping who had got onto the end of a McCafferty delivery. Before the interval the visitors came close a couple of times more but Dishington saw one effort hit the side netting while another was blocked by Mitchell.

Thanks to a couple of early changes at the outset of the second period United were becoming more evident as an attacking force with young Laurie Devine, who had played a full ninety minutes in the previous evenings victory for the U20s over their Spartans counterparts, linking well with both Danny Campbell and Stuart McLeod but when the games next goal did arrive it was again the men from Falkirk who provided it, Peggie whipping in an inviting cross from the left that FLYNN got his head on to direct past Mitchell for his second of the game. Six minutes later Campbell clipped in a similar delivery at the other end but Devine’s header flew past before Devine then returned the compliment for Campbell, setting him up for a shot from the edge of the area that was blocked by Malone. Going into the closing stages Blackburn continued to push for a way back into the game and full-back James Mildren saw an angled shot saved before a late lifeline did arrive when debutant Nathan Donnelly-Kay slid a well weighted pass in front of DEVINE for the youngster to direct his shot across Barclay in the visitors goal and in at the bottom corner. However, with time running out it was the Shire who held on to advance to the fourth round of the South Region Challenge Cup.

Blackburn United line-up: Mitchell, Mildren, S.Devine (Drummond 46), Lawrie, Browne, Howe (Donnelly-Kay 69), Young, Kane, Robertson (L.Devine 49), Campbell, McLeod  Subs (not used): Welsh, McIntosh, Clements

East Stirlingshire line-up: Barclay, Orr, Dyer, Tapping, Malone, Horne, Dishington, Peggie, Flynn, Millar, McCafferty  Subs: Murray, D.Ure, Shirra, Greene, I.Ure

Referee: Mr. Ryan Lee

Assistants: Mr. Graeme Leslie & Mr. Raymond Hume