Lochee United 3 Kirriemuir Thistle 0
When these two sides met back in August in Kirriemuir the Bluebells ran rampant, notching eight goals without reply, but this Kirrie team were made of sterner stuff and Lochee had to work hard for their 3-0 win.
Although the home side had most of the pressure they found it difficult to pierce a stubborn visiting defence, superbly marshalled by Kris Morrice.
The game was slow to start and the Bluebells’ first effort was on 11 minutes with a Dougie Cameron free kick that was well saved by keeper Sean Diamond.
The flow of the game wasn’t helped by a referee who didn’t seem to like playing the advantage rule and, as a result, the first half was a fairly poor affair.
A Garry Kenneth header from a Cameron corner almost squeezed between the legs of keeper Diamond as Lochee kept up the pressure without really looking like breaking the deadlock.
Kirrie had the odd foray upfield and Greg Fairweather created a couple of chances. First he shot wide of Jordan Millar’s right hand post before setting up a chance for Ryan Kerrigan who couldn’t get his shot away under pressure.
As the half ebbed away the Thomson Park side stepped up a gear. A Stephen McNally shot forced Diamond into a diving save, then Diamond had to scoop the ball away from the inrushing Scott McComiskie.
However, he was beaten two minutes before the end of the half when McComiskie’s cross from the right was headed home by Connor BIRSE.
Thistle almost came close to a shock equaliser when Greg Kirk’s pass back to Millar saw the keeper misjudge it, forcing him to boot clear off his line before an inrushing visiting forward.
The second half began with the ref requiring treatment for a leg injury and a Kirrie attack well cut out by Kenneth.
But the action was soon at the other end with the keeper saving a fierce Ross McDonald shot with his legs.
On 56 minutes Lochee went two up and it was a spectacular half volley from 25 yards from KIRK which gave Diamond no chance.
Kirk tried to emulate his goal five minutes later after good work by McNally but this time his shot hit a defender.
Lochee introduced Danny Cavanagh for Reece Ritchie and Kirrie brought on Dylan Phillips for Andrew Kettles.
The home side had the ball in the net again on 68 minutes through McComiskie but the striker was flagged for offside.
Jamie Reid then came on for Logan Davie and his first touch sent McComiskie through on goal, but keeper Diamond was out quickly to block the Lochee man.
The Bluebells were awarded a penalty on 73 minutes but Cameron’s effort was well saved by Diamond.
But the third was only delayed five minutes. Superb stuff from Scott Webster saw him work his way into the Thistle box and his cross deceived Diamond. The ball may have been going in anyway, but McCOMISKIE came diving in with his head to make sure.
The scorer then set up Birse whose cheeky backheel almost beat Diamond.
In the dying minutes Cameron had a shot well saved, Reid had the ball in the net only to see Birse given offside and Kirrie’s John Farquharson saw a long range effort tipped over the bar by Lochee’s Millar.
Lochee might have expected an easier contest, given what happened last time, but visitors Kirrie were well organised and never let their heads drop.
In their line-up was former Aberdeen and Cardiff City star Kevin McNaughton and his experience has obviously rubbed off on his team mates.
Lochee Utd: Millar, McNally, Kirk, Kenneth, Webster, McDonald (McWalter 75), Ritchie (Cavanagh 65), Cameron, Davie (Reid 69), McComiskie, Birse.
Kirriemuir Thistle: Diamond, McKenna, Grant, Morrice, Fairweather, Millar, Farquharson, Kerrigan (McVicar 80), McNaughton (Cormack 78), Kettles (Phillips 68), Drum.
Written on 02 March 2019