Amateurs: Tollcross win thanks to Norman’s wisdom

Tollcross Thistle
Tollcross Thistle
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TOLLCROSS THISTLE advanced to the third round of Challenge Cup after they edged out Musselburgh Amateurs 1-0 at Saughton.

A Jack Norman free-kick proved the difference between two evenly-matched teams in a game that never really seemed to get out of second gear.

The opening 15 minutes of the match was a rather cagey affair as the visitors conceded several fouls and often struggled to clear their lines as Tollcross looked the more promising of the two sides.

Norman managed to put pressure on the away side as he consistently delivered dangerous balls into the box from the free-kicks that Musselburgh gave away in their own half.

Unfortunately for Tollcross, nobody could get on the end of them before the danger was cleared.

Musselburgh goalkeeper Ross Taylor had been a picture of assurance in the box, but was unable to do anything to prevent Tollcross from breaking the deadlock just before half-time.

The goal came from a free-kick on the edge of the box as Norman managed to navigate the ball around the wall and away from the goalkeeper to nestle in the bottom corner.

The home side continued to dictate the pace and never looked in any danger, save for a goal from Musselburgh in the 80th minute that was disallowed for a foul on goalkeeper John Nisbet.

Elsehere, Armadale Thistle striker Scott Aitken was left on the losing side despite scoring a hat-trick in an eight-goal thriller.

The West Lothian side went down 5-3 at home to South Gyle in the East of Scotland Cup third round despite Aitken’s heroics.

A well-worked passing move saw Aitken open the scoring for the hosts after 12 minutes.

The visitors fought back to lead through finishes from Scott Riddell and Dean Cunningham, with the latter’s 25-yard screamer being the pick of the bunch.

The second half was every bit as entertaining as the first with South Gyle twice capitalising on defensive errors to put some daylight between the sides; Chris Scott finding the net from five yards and then Johnny Niven showing magic feet in to evade his markers before finishing.

Gordon McCreadie was dismissed for the visitors before Aitken completed his third hat-trick of the season, beating two defenders and rounding the goalkeeper.

Meanwhile, hosts Ratho took the lead early in the first half of their Miller Cup second-round tie against Salters through a Liam Gallagher strike from just outside the 18-yard box.

An evenly-matched first half saw both teams have a fair amount of chances with Ratho doggedly defending their lead for the remainder of the half.

Richard Rapala restored parity ten minutes after the restart when he met a 40-yard free-kick from Shane Thomson with a phenomenal acrobatic volley. Richard Murray had chances to put the visitors in front following that, but his two efforts at the near post lacked the required clinical finish.

He eventually found the net in the 65th minute when another free-kick from Thomson was chested down by Callum McGeachy into the path of the onrushing Murray, who rifled into the bottom-right corner.

A well-worked move saw Jay Brown scoring for the hosts to once again level the scores from just inside the 18 yard box.

Salters eventually got the winner through Murray in the 80th-minute, which set up a tense finish.