St Andrews United knocked out of Scottish Cup in 2-1 loss at Albion Rovers
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East of Scotland League first division outfit United, with striker Lewis Sawers on the bench as he wasn’t 100% fit, were missing influential right back Tom Milne for this battle against Sandy Clark’s Scottish Lowland Football League outfit.
Lewis Lorimer therefore started at right-back for Robbie Raeside’s underdogs who survived an Albion attack as Niyah Joseph hit the post with a header in the sixth minute.
At the other end, Reece Redpath shot straight at Ross Connelly from a one-on-one situation a few moments later.
Joseph tested Brodie with a powerful drive in the 19th minute and also hit the bar on 41 minutes with an audacious shot from distance as the United sat a little deeper than normal in order to protect Brodie’s goal and the visitors deserved to reach the interval at 0-0.
Early in the second half, Adam Fernie went close with a header for Rovers and Joseph again fired an attempt wide of Brodie’s far post.
Connelly was made to work by Ryan Dignan in the 54th minute as he turned a low shot round his right-hand post.
Joseph then went close to scoring with a curling free-kick and the impressive striker finally broke the deadlock in the 66th minute by shooting low past Brodie’s outstretched right hand from just inside the 18-yard box.
Sawers thus stepped off the bench to replace Ross Cunningham in a very bold attacking move by manager Raeside, though that tactical switch paid dividends almost immediately. Sawers latched onto a terrific cross from Ryan McManus prior to drilling the ball past Connelly and the United supporters celebrated that goal wildly as they sensed an upset might just be on the cards.
Rovers responded straight away and Alex McCaw made amends for missing an earlier chance by stooping to head a cross from Josh Tran under a diving Brodie in the 75th minute.
Both managers then made changes with Albion boss Clark celebrating his 67th birthday by shoring up his defence and Raeside switching to a more attack-minded set up by unleashing James Collins and Jordan Mackenzie.
The visitors received a further boost in the 82nd minute when Albion’s Alan Reid was shown a red card for fouling Dignan to deny a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Collins subsequently hit the bar with a left-footed shot from the resulting free-kick and Saints swarmed forward in search of an equaliser, Connelly keeping out a Dignan glancing header and a Lorimer shot.
Saints’ Mackenzie also found the net with a composed finish as the clock wound down but his celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s offside flag, even though replays showed the striker was clearly onside.
Not surprisingly, Raeside received a booking for his protests.
Reekie headed a Collins free-kick over before Dave Shields received a red card for showing dissent towards referee Keiran Trayner.
Albion Rovers therefore recorded a narrow 2-1 victory but the away players could be very proud of their performance at a former SPFL venue.
That being said, there was a slight sense of frustration coming from the travelling contingent that a great chance to reach round three of the Scottish Cup went a-begging.
Attention now turns back to the hunt for promotion from the East of Scotland first division and the St Andrews United committee will hope to see large crowds attending home matches on the back of a successful Scottish Cup run.
St Andrews United team: Brodie, Lorimer, Cunningham (Sawers), Reekie, Roche (Grant), McManus, Kelly (Collins), Shields, Dignan, Sneddon and Redpath (Mackenzie).