Lochee United ran out comfortable winners in this East of Scotland cup-tie which had been switched from Lochgelly to Thomson Park.
The visitors were no match for a slick Bluebells side that could have had the game over in a blistering first 10 minute spell at the start of the game.
Mark Stewart, Aaron Whitehead and Bryan Deasley were all missing from the line-up that claimed a fighting draw against Bonnyrigg Rose last week, their places being taken by Mark Fotheringham, Connor Birse and Scott McComiskie.
Lochee started with a bang with a goal in only four minutes. Reece Ritchie was fouled 25 yards out and Dougie CAMERON sent an unstoppable free kick past Albert keeper Ryan Couser to put his side ahead.
Couser did better a couple of minutes later when he managed to divert a Grant Lawson shot round the post for a corner.
The home side kept up the pressure and Birse was unlucky to see his header from a Cameron corner come back off the post.
Danny Millar was next to test the keeper with a header that Couser tipped over the bar.
Lochgelly’s first attempt on the home goal came with a Joe Kirby shot that Fonzy saved comfortably.
Despite Lochee’s domination the visitors were still only one behind and came close to an equaliser from a Ryan McEwan free kick which flew viciously over the bar.
A Cameron free kick on 25 minutes then found Birse at the back post but Couser rescued his side again with a diving save.
However, a minute later the Bluebells went two up with a terrific goal. After a throw-in on the right Scott Webster picked out BIRSE who turned on the edge of the penalty area and sent a shot in at the far post.
In a rare attack from the Fifers a free kick by Rikki Cooper was missed by Fonzy but Kirby just failed to connect at the back post.
Lawson then had two chances to increase Lochee’s lead but Couser saved his first and the second saw Lawson’s shot go agonisingly past the post.
After Lochgelly’s Iain Millar was booked for a foul on Ritchie, Cameron’s free kick found Greg Kirk just a few yards out but his effort was blocked by Couser.
As half time approached McComiskie’s shot was parried into the path of Birse who saw his try blocked.
But the home side weren’t to be denied and they scored the crucial third on the stroke of half time. CAMERON was upended in the box and the midfielder took the spot kick himself to put Lochee three up at the break.
Within a couple of minutes of the restart the Bluebells were home and dry with a fourth goal. Ritchie found McCOMISKIE inside the box and, though his shot was partially blocked by Couser the ball rolled into the far corner.
It was five on 56 minutes when Ritchie and Lawson combined to set up BIRSE with a header from close in.
Manager George Shields decided then to rest his hard working midfielders, Cameron and Ritchie and replace them with Cameron McMahon and Jamie Montgomery.
Lochgelly also made a double substitution but it made little difference to the way the game was going. In fact, Albert winger John Duffy was not at all pleased at being subbed and we had the spectacle of Duffy going off in a huffy!
Birse was looking for his hat-trick now and it almost came when he latched on to a long ball and lobbed it over the advancing keeper only to see it go over the bar.
There was a rare Lochgelly attack when Lochee’s Millar had to clear sub Ewan Henderson’s effort away but Danny was soon up the other end heading a McComiskie corner just wide.
He came even closer nine minutes from time when his header was cleared off the line by Ross Ogden.
With five minutes left Lochee wrapped up the scoring and it was BIRSE who grabbed his hat-trick, sidefooting home a McComiskie cross.
FT: Lochee United 6 Lochgelly Albert 0
Lochee United: Fotheringham, Webster, McNally, Lunan, Millar, Cameron (McMahon 58), Ritchie (Montgomery 58), Lawson, Kirk, McComiskie, Birse.
Lochgelly Albert: Couser, McPhie, Ogden, Swan, Millar (Colquhoun), Murray, Duffy (Geddes), McEwan, Rennie (Henderson), Kirby, Cooper.
Report by Deeman.
Written on 02 September 2017