Saturday 18 February 2017, 14.15, Penicuik Park

East versus West in the Scottish Junior Cup Fifth Round as Penicuik Athletic of the East Superleague play Kirkintilloch Rob Roy of the West Super Premier Division.

Teams in the top leagues in the East and West in Scottish Junior football and an interesting tie to see how the different leagues match up.  Although Kelty Hearts and Bonnyrigg Rose are the best teams in the East, Penicuik have been improving year on year and Winning the Fife and Lothians Cup last year has given them a taste of silverwear.

It’s a fifth viewing of Penicuik this season, including their third round Junior Cup game against Scone Thistle which they won 2-0.  They received a first round bye before winning 4-0 at Craigmark Burntonians.  After despatching Scone, they won 3-2 at Girvan in the fourth round.

Penicuik currently sit fourth in the East Superleague.

It’s certainly the first time this season I’ve seen Kirkintilloch Rob Roy, and it may well be the first time ever.  I did go to a lot of games in the East in my formative years so I may well have seen them, but certainly not in recent times.

Nicknamed ‘The Rabs’ or ‘The Roy’ Kirkintilloch Rob Roy were formed in 1878.  Initially they played friendly matches, but soon joined the Scottish Junior League.  They flitted around grounds at the beginning of their life before moving to Adamslie Park in 1926.  Adamslie had previously been the home of Kirkintilloch Harp.

They sold Adamslie Park in 2014 which was required to keep the club afloat and since 2014-15 have ground shared with Cumbernauld United at their Guy’s Meadow home.  A new home is being built which is back in Kirkintilloch.  The new stadium is expected to have a 500 capacity stand and a 4G pitch.

The club had considerable success in the 1920s, including a first Junior Cup win in 1921.  Their match against Petershill in May 1923 was abandoned due to lack of footballs.  Subsequent decades saw further silverware arrive, including Junior Cup wins in the 40s and 60s.  The win in 1962 came in the same season as a league win and two other cups.

In 1968 Junior Football was reorganised on a regional basis and Rob Roy joined the Central Region of the Scottish Junior Football Association.

Success has been harder to find since the 1970s and there was little glory until winning the West Central Division One title in 2006-07.  This was followed up by promotion to the Super Premier Division of the West Region in 2007-08.

A Sectional League Cup win last season was long overdue.  This season is Rob Roy’s eighth in the Super Premier Division of the West Region.

Rob Roy have a good record in the Junior Cup, winning it in 1921, 1943 and 1962 as well as being runners-up five times and semi-finalists on 11 occasions.  This season they received a bye in the first round before beating Colony Park 4-0 in round 2.  They then won 4-3 at Glasgow Perthshire before knocking out East Superleague side Musselburgh Athletic in the last round.  After two postponements at Cumbernauld, the game against The Burgh was played on the astroturf at Benburn’s New Tinto Park.

Rob Roy currently sit top of the West Super Premier Division.

It was a dreich day in Midlothian, but there wasn’t a pitch inspection required, so that was a bonus.

There was a slight delay prior to kick off as it seemed the mascots didn’t want to leave the pitch.

Rob Roy won a series of thrown-ins down the left from kick off, gradually getting further down the pitch until they won a corner.  Gallacher’s corner found the head of Duff at the front post, but his header was well off target.

A crunching 50/50 tackle between Penicuik’s Forbes and Rob Roy’s Duff in 3 minutes saw the latter left in a heap.  It looked like a fair challenge from where I was and it was good to see he was able to continue after treatment.

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Good play down the left between Janczyk, Montgomery and MacDonald in 5 minutes won Penicuik a corner.  Janczyk’s corner was played to McCallum on the edge of the box and he sent a delightful chip into the far corner of the net to give Penicuik the lead.  If he meant it, it was some goal.

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In 9 minutes, Rob Roy’s McMenamin shouted to his team mates “Stop fucking getting nervous.  Calm it fucking down”.  Sage advice.

McMenamin found Duff on the left for Rob Roy in 10 minutes and his cross into the box was headed away by Young.  The ball came to Gallacher on the edge of the box and he took a touch before curling a low shot into the corner for the equaliser.

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Penicuik came forward again in the next minute and McCallum showed good skill on the right before playing the ball into the chest of Lough in the box.  With Green tight behind him, Lough chested the ball then in one movement, turned and struck the ball on the volley and it flew into the top corner to put the home side back in front. You would be hard pressed to find a better goal anywhere in the Junior Cup and it will be a shoe in for Penicuik’s goal of the season.

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A Rob Roy throw in from the left in 14 minutes came to the feet of Sawyers just inside the Penicuik box.  Young made a challenge from behind and the striker went down.  Penalty.  Green struck the ball to the keeper’s left and Bald went the right way, but the ball seemed to squirm underneath him and it was 2-2.

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A quite remarkable opening 15 minutes.

A mistake at the back by Penicuik in 18 minutes gave Rob Roy a chance, but they managed to get themselves offside.

A good turn in the Penicuik box in 19 minutes by Fraser gave him a sight of goal, but the defence managed to block the ball behind.

Forbes picked up the game’s first booking in 20 minutes for a late tackle on Rob Roy’s Duff.  Six minutes later, Barr followed him for a foul on the half way line for Penicuik’s second booking.

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In 29 minutes, McCallum played the ball through to Lough and he was clean through on the Rob Roy goal.  He finished well, but the flag had gone up.  I had been right in line with him when the ball was played and he didn’t look offside.

A great ball from Janczyk in 32 minutes picked out Connolly on Penicuik’s right.  His cross to the back post was headed back across goal by McCallum, but MacKenzie turned the ball behind.

Barr ran into Green in 36 minutes on the half way line and the Rob Roy player went down looking as though he was in agony.  It had looked fairly innocuous and he was able to continue without treatment.

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With 40 minutes gone, three Penicuik players were through on goal, but the flag went up.  It looked the right decision, but Rob Roy were playing a dangerous game with their offside trap.

There was a particularly bad offside decision when Young played a pass in behind the Rob Roy defence in 44 minutes.  McCallum had run past the last defender to be through on goal but was halted by the flag.

Penicuik’s Young was booked just before the half time whistle for a foul.

There seemed to be a problem with the net before the second half begun, but it was soon fixed.

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Some good skill on the right by Gallacher in 51 minutes saw him create some space then cross into the Penicuik box.  The cross was deflected back to the edge of the box to McMenamin, and he slotted the ball into the far corner to put the visitors in front for the first time.

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Rob Roy’s Walker was booked for dissent in 52 minutes.

A Barr cross into the Rob Roy box in 53 minutes was fumbled by Brown, but as players from both teams tried to get there first, Young committed a foul and the chance was gone.

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Young caught Duff on the half way line in 56 minutes as the Rob Roy player turned and it was a second yellow card for the Penicuik defender.

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In 61 minutes, there was an almighty scramble in the Penicuik box following a corner.  The ball eventually came to Gallacher who struck for goal, but Forbes threw himself at the ball to deflect it wide.

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Duff took the ball up the left for Rob Roy in 65 minutes and got all the way to the by-line where he pulled the ball back cleverly for Sawyers.  He showed good control to touch the ball away from a defender, but Bald saved well before it was cleared.

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A great ball forward had Penicuik on the attack in 66 minutes and Barr raced through as Brown came out of goal, but a defender got back to get a foot in.  The ball went to the right where Gay took a touch before slotting into the net before Brown could get back.  The ten men were level.

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Some lovely play by Gallacher got him to the byline in 68 minutes and his cross hit Hume and went just wide of the Penicuik defender’s own goal.  The corner was cleared to the edge of the box where Walker was waiting and he hit a low shot into the far corner past an unsighted Bald to make it 4-3 to Rob Roy.

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Penicuik’s Hume went into the book in 69 minutes for dissent.  Ironically it seemed to be after complaining that Rob Roy players were not being booked for their bad tackles.

A long ball forward sent Sawyers running through on the left for Rob Roy in 74 minutes and he would have been very disappointed when he saw the flag up as he had finished expertly.

Gay showed great skill to kill the ball stone dead on the edge of the Rob Roy box in 78 minutes after it had almost got snow on it with how high it had been.  A defender managed to get across to block his shot.

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Stephen Scott was next to go in the book in 82 minutes after he had attempted to barge Green. The Penicuik player had gone down under his challenge in the box and had clearly not been happy with something he said.

A good ball from the right by Gay in 84 minutes found the head of McCallum, but he didn’t get enough purchase on his header and glanced the ball wide of the Rob Roy goal.

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With two minutes left, Montgomery’s cross to the back post had Penicuik on the attack and it was pulled back by Kyle Scott to Barr, but he blazed over the bar.

Another Penicuik player to be booked in 89 minutes, after complaining that a Rob Roy free kick award had been very soft.

A great effort by Sawyers in injury time from the corner of the box, when he tried to chip Bald in the Penicuik goal, went just wide of the far post.

Rob Roy managed to hold on for the victory.

A very entertaining game which could have gone either way, but ultimately, the sending off probably made the difference.  Penicuik never gave up and were putting the pressure on in the final minutes, but couldn’t grab the equaliser.

The home crowd were unhappy with the referee, but he seemed to get the big decisions correct.  There was certainly a complaint about how the bookings were handed out and there also seemed to be a suggestion from some that the Rob Roy players were going down easily.

Barr was best for Penicuik with McCallum also putting in a good shift up front.  Gallacher and Duff impressed me most for Rob Roy and Sawyers looked a real handful up front.

Two fabulous goals for Penicuik, but it wasn’t enough to take them through and Rob Roy will be hard to beat.

Full Time: Penicuik Athletic 3 Kirkintilloch Rob Roy 4

Admission: £6

Penicuik Athletic: 1 Billy Bald, 2 Andy Forbes, 3 John MacDonald (S Scott 80), 4 Craig Hume, 5 Darrell Young, 6 Neil Janczyk, 7 Calum Connolly (Gay 54), 8 Lewis Barr, 9 Keith Lough (K Scott 72), 10 Ryan McCallum, 11 Ross Montgomery. Subs: 12 Stephen Scott, 14 Ryan Gay, 15 Aaron Somerville, 16 Kyle Scott, 17 Sam Jones.

Kirkintilloch Rob Roy: 1 Jordan Brown, 2 Scott Walker, 3 Daniel MacKenzie, 4 Kevin Green, 5 Craig Buchanan, 6 Luke Whelan, 7 Lee Gallacher (Pearson 85), 8 Gary McMenamin, 9 Willie Sawyers, 10 Shaun Fraser (Watt 79), 11 Christopher Duff (Mackie 70). Subs: 12 Gavin Mackie, 13 Michael McKinven, 14 Kevin Watt, 15 David Barr, 16 Reece Pearson.

Referee: Stephen Brown

Programme: £1.50

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