Lochee United progressed into the next round of the DJ Laing East of Scotland Cup with a comfortable home victory over West Lothian visitors Pumpherston, first half goals from Grant Lawson and Paddy Deane being enough to see the Bluebells through.
The home team threatened from the kick off and a deep free kick from keeper Jordan Miller to Deane and then on to Lawson caused problems for the visiting defence.
They were in trouble again on seven minutes when another deep ball from the on-loan Montrose keeper found Connor Birse who played it to Logan Davie via Deane. Davie’s effort was headed off the line by Pumpherston’s Neil Hastings into the grateful arms of keeper Connor Shaw.
A minute later though, and the away team almost took the lead. Mark Wilkins sent a great ball through for Jack Ogilvie whose 12-yard shot was smothered by Miller.
Five minutes later Pumpherston carved out another great opportunity. Dougie Cameron’s slack pass was picked up by Wilkins and again he sent through a great ball for top scorer Ally McRitchie. His shot squirmed through the legs of Miller but Craig Smith was there to hack the ball away from danger.
It was the visitors’ goalie who had to be on his toes just moments later when Davie picked out Reece Ritchie in the box, blocking the midfielder’s shot.
Deane appeared to open the Lochee account on 23 minutes when he forced his way past a couple of defenders and walked the ball into the net but the referee awarded a free kick for a perceived foul on the Pumphy keeper.
However, the opener was only delayed another four minutes when LAWSON picked up the ball on the edge of the box and drilled a low shot into the bottom corner.
Goalkeeper Shaw brought off a couple of excellent saves, firstly from Deane and then from Birse and saw his side almost get back on level terms when his opposite number Miller brought off a fine save from McRitchie.
A minute or so before half time the home side gave themselves some breathing space with a second goal, a combined effort between Birse and Lawson setting up DEANE to fire home.
Pumpherston knew that if they could get a goal back they were right back in the game and they started off the second half in determined fashion. Colin Page got on the end of a corner kick and forced Miller into a fine save, turning the ball round the post.
McRitchie then found himself through on goal but Smith was there to help out his keeper and clear the danger.
Jack Beaumont fired a free kick over the bar as Lochee appeared to take their foot off the gas, possibly feeling the job was done.
Time and again the home team found themselves in good positions but the final pass was poor and Shaw’s goal was rarely threatened seriously.
The visitors brought on another sub, Ed Mangan for McRitchie and six minutes from time Scott McComiskie came on for Birse.
There was no further scoring though and Lochee deservedly go through.
Jordan Miller in goal had his fourth successive shutout since signing for the Bluebells but will no doubt give some of the credit to Craig Smith who strolled through the game in central defence and twice came to his rescue.
Smudger was signed as a forward player but has been deployed in central defence in recent games by manager George Shields due to injury problems and the young player has been a revelation.
FT: Lochee United 2 Pumpherston 0
Lochee United: Miller, Webster, Smith, Kirk, McNally, Ritchie, Cameron, Davie, Birse (McComiskie 84), Deane, Lawson. Subs not used: Fotheringham, Lunan, Whitehead, Millar.
Pumpherston: Shaw, Millar, Rendall, Page, Hastings, Carroll, Wilkins, Beaumont, McRitchie (Mangan 78), Sneddon, Ogilvie (Hepburn 57). Subs not used: Muir, Nicholson.
Written on 11 November 2017