TOLLCROSS THISTLE are through to the third round of the East of Scotland Cup after defeating Musselburgh Windsor 4-2 at Saughton 3G.
Two first-half goals by Michael Robertson looked to have the result sealed for Tollcross but Daryl Pitt and Gareth Kerr were able to take Windsor back into the match.
Lothian East side Windsor matched their Premier Division 1 counterparts for much of the tie but goals in the second half from Kieran Proven and Jason Wood saw Tollcross into the next round.
Tollcross fashioned their first scoring chance after two minutes. Robbie Simpson’s shot from the edge of the penalty area was tipped wide of the right post by Windsor goalkeeper Michael Welsh.
Windsor won a free kick four minutes later but Scott Gourlay put his shot over the cross bar.
After a scrappy first 30 minutes, the deadlock was broken when Robertson received the ball seven yards from goal and placed the ball low into the net. Gary Fox provided the pass from the right sideline.
Robertson scored his second goal immediately after. He was one-on-one with Welsh after beating the offside trap and, once again, he rolled the ball into the goal.
Windsor appeared to be galvanised by going two goals down and they won a penalty in the 42nd minute. Simpson fouled a Windsor player inside the area and Pitt powered his penalty into the bottom left corner of the net.
The scores were levelled early in the second half. A cross from deep was not dealt with by Tollcross goalkeeper John Nisbet and Kerr was able to volley the ball into an open goal.
Windsor had chances to take the lead moments later. Kerr headed the ball past the left post but Daniel Welsh missed the target with a free header from Gourlay’s corner.
Windsor’s chances were further boosted when Tollcross central defender Greig Hogarth was sent off with 40 minutes still left to play. He was booked for a challenge in the Tollcross half and continued to argue the decision. The referee had no choice but to show him a second yellow card for dissent straight afterwards.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, it was Tollcross who prevailed. They regained the lead in the 43rd minute when an indirect free kick was laid off to Proven who powered the ball low into the goal.
Five minutes later, Robertson nearly completed his hat-trick. He cut in from the right wing and unleashed a powerful shot which hit the post before going wide. The result was secured in the 80th minute when substitute Wood found the bottom right corner from 16 yards.
Barrie Arthur tried to score a consolation goal in the final five minutes but his shot from 20 yards went wide of the left post.
Windsor player-manager Mark Finlayson was pleased that the team held their own against higher-division opposition. He said: “We played well in spells. The difference between Tollcross and us were a few silly mistakes. They are two divisions above us and we played the ball about well. It shows that we are not too far from that standard.
“This is our second season in existence and we are sitting joint third in the league with games in hand. Progression for us would be to be promoted to the Premier Division 2.”
Tollcross assistant manager Andrew Ponder conceded that the team did not play to their potential but was pleased to get the result. “To be honest, I thought we played pretty poorly. We went 2-0 up but there was not enough chances being created. We let Windsor get back into with some bad defending. We showed character when we went down to ten men and got the win. The next round against Edinburgh Rose will be a big game. We are still hoping to be in contention for the league. We want to win three of our next four matches and go from there.”
Tollcross Thistle: John Nisbet, Gary Fox, Glenn Waddell, Greig Hogarth, Keith Harper, John Lawson, Michael Robertson, Scott Lucas, Kieran Proven, Adam Perry, Robbie Simpson, Jason Bell, Jason Wood, Mark Antoni, Callum Roberts, Jamie More.
Musselburgh Windsor: Michael Welsh, Michael Slater, Jonathon Morrice, Daryl Pitt, Scott Gourlay, Ross Blair, Cameron Olton, Daniel Welsh, Barrie Arthur, Gareth Kerr, Kristopher Mack, Paul Finlayson, James Carlyle, Greig Anderson, Mark Finlayson.