As the saying doesn’t actually go, “It’s deja-vu all over again!” For the second year in a row the Bluebells have crashed out of a cup at the hands of their North League opponents.

An evenly matched game at Broughty’s Whitton Park ended 2-2 and was decided on a penalty shoot-out which East Craigie won 6-5.

Lochee United were badly depleted numbers-wise and could only list three substitutes and manager George Shields handed competitive debuts to recent signings Craig Smith and Logan Davie.

The visitors started well and soon had the Shipbuilders’ goal under pressure with shots from Connor Birse and Reece Ritchie before Smith fired in a fierce shot which went narrowly wide.

But it was the Craigie Park side who took the lead on 11 minutes. Greg Kirk was adjudged to have brought down Lee Maloney and a penalty kick was given.

Up stepped Nick MANN to dispatch the ball past Mark Fotheringham to open the scoring.

Ritchie almost drew Lochee level three minutes later but keeper Liam Dunn managed to turn his effort round the post.

However, on 20 minutes Lochee equalised. Ritchie couldn’t get a shot away but the ball fell to Bryan Deasley who crashed it off the bar. The ball rebounded to KIRK whose diving header beat Dunn.

Three minutes later Maloney went down in the box again but this time there was no penalty.

Smith and Danny Millar both had efforts on target but Dunn kept them out.

Five minutes before half time there was a scare for the Bluebells when Adam Brown beat the offside trap and raced into the box but Fonzy was down quickly to foil the Craigie winger.

The second half opened with Lochee on the attack again and Birse set up Davie for a shot on target which Dunn held.

Craigie showed they were still up for the game when Andy McDonald sent in a shot that dipped just over Fonzy’s bar.

Around the hour mark Lochee took the lead. A ball into the box was controlled by RITCHIE and he fired low past the keeper from 12 yards out.

Just after that the Thomson Park side introduced Paddy Deane for Smith but their play became more ragged, allowing Craigie to get a foothold in the game.

Brown forced a corner kick and the same player combined with McDonald to create an opening that was only snuffed out by a timely tackle from Millar.

And the Shipbuilders got their just reward on 76 minutes with a superb shot into the top corner from Sean REEKIE.

Fonzy had to tip a Gary Welsh effort over his bar as Craigie sensed they could win the game in normal time and they had another great chance when they broke three on two in the final minute.  Unfortunately for them, Brown made the wrong choice of pass and the danger was cleared.

And so the game finished and, for the second year in a row, went to penalties.

The first four were scored, Mann and Maloney for East Craigie and Ritchie and Birse for Lochee United.

Fonzy saved Brown’s spot kick and Deasley scored his to give the Lochee the advantage.

McDonald, Deane and Howett all scored theirs and, with the score poised at 4-4, it was up to Stephen McNally to convert his and send Lochee into the next round. Unfortunately, he skimmed the top of the bar, sending us into sudden death, Reekie and Carroll netted for Craigie and Davie for Lochee leaving skipper Paul Lunan to score to keep Lochee interest in the GA Engineering Cup alive.

But it was to be keeper Dunn’s day, with the goalie pulling off a fine save.

FT: East Craigie 2 Lochee United 2 (E Craigie win 6-5 on penalties)

East Craigie: Dunn, Welsh, Carroll, Reekie, Malone, Howett, Brown, Ramsay (Smith 67), Mann, McDonald, Maloney.

Lochee United: Fotheringham, Webster, Lunan, Millar, McNally, Ritchie, Davie, Kirk, Smith (Deane 60), Deasley, Birse.

Written on 07 October 2017