Craigroyston a win away from knock-out stages

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Craigroyston and Easthouses Lily clash at St Mark’s Park tonight, kick-off 7.00pm, in their East of Scotland Qualifying League Cup tie with a win for Craigroyston guaranteeing their passage to the knock-out stages of the competition.

Craigroyston have won all three of their opening games, including two against Premier Division sides Leith Athletic and Vale of Leithen, while Easthouses proved how strong they are this season with a 3-2 victory over the holders, Spartans, at the weekend.

George Bowmaker, the Craigroyston manager, watched his side beat Kelso United 3-1 away from home on Saturday and said: “As usual, we had to come from behind to win. In all three of our games this season our opponents have scored first. Kelso is always a hard place to go on their tight park and in the first half we huffed and puffed and were a goal down. In the second half, we played how I expect us to play and that is a passing game. At the end of the day I was just happy to come away with a win.”

Craigroyston had their enigmatic striker, Ubong Umotong, to thank for his contribution of two goals, one a solo effort after good work by Martin Laidlaw and his second from the penalty spot after Kenny Manson was pulled down.

Bowmaker will be without Jamie Stewart who chipped a bone in his ankle against Kelso although Michael Stewart is available after missing out because of work commitments.

Easthouses caused the big upset of the season beating Spartans 3-2 on Saturday to inflict the Capital side with their first away defeat since Lothian Thistle beat them in April 2009.

“It was a great game in which both sides played some fantastic football,” said the Easthouses manager, Dave McQueenie. “We went out to play football and scored three good goals. It was a good result but it is only one game and we are not getting carried away although we have had a good start.”

McQueenie will be missing Craig Stupart, Graeme Young and David Jeffreys because of work commitments although Euan Smith and Ryan McQueenie come back into contention.

Elsewhere, Civil Service Strollers can enhance their prospects of qualifying when they play hosts to Peebles Rovers while Heriot-Watt University need to win against Coldstream to maintain their interest in the competition.

Vale of Leithen are in a similar situation with no wins from their opening two games and they also require three points when they face Kelso United, who cannot now qualify.

Selkirk meet Stirling University with both sides occupying the top two positions in their section while Ormiston travel to meet Berwick Rangers Reserves and Gretna 2008 have Hawick Royal Albert as visitors to Raydale Park.