Wednesday 7 December 2016, 19.45, East Peffermill

A midweek game between Edinburgh University and East Kilbride in the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup Third Round.

The East of Scotland Qualifying Cup is contested by members of the East of Scotland FA who are not members of the Scottish Professional Football League.  In practice, this means most of the Lowland League’s and East of Scotland League’s member clubs.  Played in a knockout format, the finalists play Berwick Rangers and Edinburgh City in the East of Scotland Cup semi-finals.

Edinburgh University received a bye in the first round before winning 3-0 at Civil Service Strollers in round 2.  East Kilbride won 6-1 at Gretna in round one before winning 2-1 at University of Stirling.

The clubs were due to play the tie the previous weekend, but East Kilbride were on Scottish Cup duty, losing by the odd goal in three to a late decider at Stranraer.

Both sides play in the Lowland League with the Edinburgh side in the bottom half of the 16 team table, and EK 8 points clear at the top.

It’s our third visit of the season to Edinburgh Uni and our second sight of East Kilbride.

Regular readers will be relieved to read that despite it being a midweek fixture, the legendary cake maker was in place at the ground.

East Kilbride fashioned a chance in the opening minute when Smith found some space on the left of the box, but he flashed his shot across goal and wide of the far post.

The visitors continued their fast start with a Hughes cross into the box in 2 minutes met by the head of McNeil, but it was comfortable save for Davidson.

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Uni’s Scott showed great feet on the edge of the EK box in 4 minutes, making space for himself and then firing at goal.  His shot came crashing back off the post before it was cleared.

A mistake by Irvine in the tenth minute saw Winter racing in on the Uni goal, but Davidson managed to block with his feet.

McCrory-Irving found Guthrie on the left of the EK box in 14 minutes, but he couldn’t beat the tight angle as he shot across the face of goal.

In 17 minutes, Hardie lifted a ball over the top of the Uni defence and Smith ran through on goal and struck a low shot into the net which seemed to go through Davidson to give the visitors the lead.

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Uni won a free kick in 26 minutes after Hughes had gone in firmly about 20 yards from his own goal.  It looked very harsh that he picked up a yellow card for it.  McCrory-Irving stepped up and curled the free kick over the wall and into the top corner or the equaliser.  A great strike.

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Smith brought the ball forward for East Kilbride in 28 minutes and got to the by-line where he crossed the ball into the six-yard box.  McNeil arrived with a defender and the Uni player got a touch and the ball hit off McNeil and somehow went over the bar.

Some good passing from the University side in 36 minutes ended with Daniels-Yeoman finding McCrory-Irving, who shot from around 22 yards, but it went wide of the goal.

With two minutes to half time, Matthew latched on to a poor kick out by McGinley in the EK goal and he played the ball to Guthrie on the right.  He ran towards goal and lashed the ball past the keeper to give Uni the lead.

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A half time lead for the home side and there had been very little between the teams.

In 48 minutes, Strachan ran onto a headed clearance  by the Uni defence, but his shot back at goal from the edge of the box was too high.

An East Kilbride corner in 59 minutes came to Hughes on the edge of the box.  His attempted pass came back to him and he struck first time for goal and it flew into the net to level the score.

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Coll played a clever forward ball to Victoria as EK attacked on the left in 61 minutes and the substitute hammered goalwards but saw his shot just miss the angle of the post and bar.

East Kilbride were starting to get frustrated and McGinley and Strachan both picked up yellow cards for dissent.

Coll exchanged passes with Victoria in 78 minutes but shot just wide of the Uni goal from the edge of the box.

Good build up play by EK in 80 minutes saw Victoria shoot from the edge of the box, but the effort was lacking in power and it was easy for Davidson.

Uni created a chance in 82 minutes when Swan set up McCrory-Irvine, but he shot wide.

With a minute left, EK broke forward and Winter found Strachan on the left hand side of the box.  As he crossed into the middle he seemed to be caught by a late challenge, but the ball was cleared behind and the referee awarded a corner which came to nothing.

Two minutes into injury time EK broke forward and a ball was lofted over the Uni defence for Victoria.  He squared the ball for Winter at the back post and he slotted past the keeper to win the tie for his side.

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East Kilbride made a substitution before the ref blew for full time with Smith leaving the field, but I didn’t see who came on.

A hard one to take for a battling University side who certainly matched their opponents.  I was a little bit disappointed with the all-conquering East Kilbride, but it was a windy night and you can’t be at your best all the time.  And they do say it’s a sign of a good team who win when they are not playing well.

McCrory-Irvine and Scott were best for Edinburgh Uni, with Guthrie also doing well when often isolated up front.  Hardie, Hughes and Strachan stood out for East Kilbride.

Full Time: Edinburgh University 2 East Kilbride 3

Admission: £5

Edinburgh University: 1 Calum Davidson, 2 David Smith, 3 Craig McMillan, 4 Rafa Calbacho, 5 Callum Irvine, 6 Finn Daniels-Yeoman, 7 Liam Matthew (Swann 81), 8 Peter Mair, 9 Jack Guthrie, 10 Scott McCrory-Irving, 11 Bruce Scott. Subs: 12 Luke Murray, 14 Oscar Jones, 15 Greg Swann.

East Kilbride: 1 Matt McGinley, 2 Michael Hardie, 3 Bernard Coll, 4 Scott Stevenson, 5 Dom McLaren, 6 Gavin Millar (Russell 57), 7 Sean Winter, 8 Declan Hughes, 9 Ross McNeil (Victoria 57), 10 Adam Strachan, 11 Jack Smith. Subs: 12 Joao Victoria, 14 Barry Russell.

Referee: Duncan Smith

Programme: Free with admission.

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