Tollcross Thistle bowed out of the East of Scotland Cup after succumbing to a late 2-0 defeat against Pennies AFC at Saughton 3G.
Thistle manager Alan McKay cut a frustrated figure. “It was a really close game that anyone could have won. We’re extremely disappointed to go out of the cup because from what I can see the goal that made it 1-0 was offside. Goals change games and that swung the momentum in their favour. The main thing for us is to get back to winning ways this Saturday,” he said.
In freezing conditions initial openings were limited with the game bogged down in midfield. In fact the first shot on target did not arrive until the 15th minute. Pennies’ Alan Cameron tried his luck from 25 yards but his shot flew comfortably wide.
It signalled an opening up of the game with both sides prepared to take a few more risks as the half wore on. Not long after Cameron’s effort, Thistle’s Kyle Hay struck a swerving 25 yard free-kick which goalie Charles Clark tipped past the right hand post.
Thistle became the more threatening of the two sides and with Pennies players committed forward Thistle’s Dale Wight quickly broke down the right. He tried to cut in and shoot but his effort from the flank flew over the target.
With half-time approaching Thistle then had their best chance of the opening 45. Scott Millar opened up space down Pennies’ left flank and he put the ball on a plate for Chris Reid six yards out but Pennies Marc Robertson did just enough to put the forward off and he shot wide.
With chances so few and far between it was crucial that when opportunities presented themselves, they had to be taken. But again and again neither side could find a breakthrough in the final third of the field after the break. Pennies had the first real chance in front of goal when play resumed when Alexander Williams turned a ball in from the right towards goal, but Nisbet in the Thistle goal did well to palm the ball over.
As the half progressed it continued to be a stalemate with both sides fighting hard for a place in the next round. Pennies started to edge proceedings though in the final minutes despite Thistle bringing on goal threat Piesy Khosrowpour.
Just as it looked like the game was heading for extra time Thistle momentarily lost focus at the back and the Falkirk side punished them. Substitute Jamie Stanic got in behind the defence to lift the ball over Nisbet for the first goal.
Two minutes later Thistle conceded a second goal with 87 minutes on the clock. Substitute Barry Lynn cut in from the right to smash in at the near post to ensure the Edinburgh outfit would be exiting the competition.
Thistle will be hoping to bounce back this weekend as they face Linlithgow Thistle at Kellilstoun Mains in the third round of the Centenary Cup.
Tollcross Thistle: John Nisbet, Sean Mossman, Stephen Devine, Graham Nisbet, Jaime Begbie, Danny Smith, Dale Wight, Kyle Hay, Chris Reid, Michael Yuill, Scott Millar, Shaun Conway, Piesy Khosrowpour, Faron Gribben, Iliya Stoev, Greig Hogarth.
Pennies AFC: Alan Cameron, Iain Carson, Charles Clark, Craig Fullerton, Thomas Gardiner, Ryan Kane, Liam Kennedy, Barry Lynn, Jamie McDowell, Steven Neil, Marc Robertson, Jamie Stanic, Christopher Walls, Alexander Williams, Garry Wilson, Ryan Wood.