Stewarton United 1 Knockentiber 2
Horrendous conditions at Pennyburn on Saturday were not the only thing to dampen Stewarton’s spirits as they crashed out of the James Scott trophy.
From the start the weather was clearly an issue as the game started tentatively with neither side able to find a rhythm in the elements. However on the fourth minute Knockentiber came close with Stewarton lad Smith striking against Wilson from the six-yard box to try and inflict damage on his home-town team, despite United’s protestations for a free-kick after Hamilton was clearly elbowed in the build-up.
Bloodied and relieved Stewarton looked to hold their own, however their superior opposition, after having an offside goal rightly chopped off, continued to pressure and after fine work down the right a perfect cross was met by Parker who swept the ball into the bottom left to make it 1-0 to the visitors.
From this Stewarton sprang into action and harried the Tiber defence, the home-side’s resilience and ingenuity obviously an issue for Tiber who time and again petulantly lashed out, most notably when Ottoway scythed down Taylor with a poor challenge in the centre circle from which United’s Dick was cautioned for dissent, yet the Tiber number ten was given a reprieve; the Tiber man was involved again moments later when, after bringing dwn Dick, Ottoway seemed to lash out to strike the young player’s head with his studs only to go unnoticed by the referee when the initial foul did not.
United were becoming more prominent now and after a fine through ball from Thomson Lavery shot against Catterson to highlight the third-division sides’ intentions. With time running out in the half, a well won ball by Brown was played to McDowall in the centre-circle from where United’s utility man lofted a fine ball through to McArthur whose pace took him away from the Tiber defence to then coolly lob the onrushing Catterson and give United the equaliser.
Into the second half, and Tiber again started strongest; while their football was far from attractive, they stretched the United backs time and again, causing panic in a relatively solid defensive line.
After moments earlier following through on Wilson in a dubious 50/50, Stewarton lad Smith created space in the box after a right-wing cross only to strike a tame shot from three-yards straight at Wilson. From here there was an even exchange of punches, with neither team able to deliver the knock-out blow. However, after a United attack came to nothing Tiber swept the ball clear and from the clearance United Captain Hamilton slipped in the centre circle to allow Parker a clear run at goal. Slight hesitation from Wilson allowed the Tiber number nine the sight of goal he needed to slip home the winner in a closely fought contest which again proved United to be a big fish in small waters.