Cumbernauld Colts 1, Leith Athletic 0. Leithers out of Scottish Cup

Leith Athletic battled hard at Cumbernauld
Leith Athletic battled hard at Cumbernauld
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Leith Athletic’s William Hill Scottish Cup journey came to an end after they went down 1-0 to Cumbernauld Colts in tonight’s first round replay at Broadwood.

Owen Ronald’s early first-half header was enough to put the North Lanarkshire club through to the second round, where Highland League outfit Forres Mechanics await.

The East of Scotland champions headed west missing several first-team players, goalkeeper Iain Gordon, right-back Taylor Black and central defender Steven Glynn all out via a combination of injuries and work commitments. Midfielder Kerr Allan was suspended having been sent off in the dying minutes of the 0-0 draw at Ainslie Park that forced the replay.

Leith survived an early scare when Ritchie Kirwan’s driving run and cross was met on the volley at the back post by Ronald, but Neil Fairney managed to divert it wide via the post.

That warning wasn’t heeded however, as Cumbernauld took the lead after ten minutes. Stephen O’Neill’s driven delivery from the left was glanced home by Ronald, leaving Fairney with no chance.

After some early pressure from the hosts, Leith seemed to find their feet and retain possession. It was still the Lowland League side looking the more dangerous however, with Craig Murray bursting in to the box but he sent his shot straight in to Fairney’s arms.

Ronald was almost gifted a second within ten minutes of the restart when Fairney allowed a pass back to slide through his legs, but he was bailed out by captain Sean Melvin, who cleared for a corner.

Substitute Jamie Broadfoot almost put the game beyond doubt with this first involvement. Starting the move in midfield, he fed O’Neill before haring towards goal for the return pass. He beat Melvin to the bouncing ball, but could only lift it over the on-rushing Fairney and the crossbar.

The game had hit something of a lull, with a high effort from O’Neill and a tame Andy Selkirk header the only real attempts for a spell as the game moved in to the last 15.

Leith began throwing men forward, and Cumbernauld were perhaps fortunate to keep 11 on the park when Kirwan appeared to aim a slap at Melvin after a coming together on the touchline, following the visiting defender’s surge forward.

Colts should have made sure of progression to the next round when Andy Black saw his header tipped on to the bar by Fairney, only for Jamie Barclay to somehow fire the rebound wide from around eight yards out.

Derek Riddel’s team finally forced Chris Fahey in the Colts goal in to action with less than five minutes remaining. 
Substitute John Ferguson drove in to the area between defenders, and the keeper narrowed the angle well to block his shot at the near post and out for a corner. Ferguson then had another go but his shot was blocked before it got near Fahey.

That that was the first proper action Fahey had been forced in to all night told the story for Leith, who didn’t trouble their opponents nearly enough, and the Lowland League side always looked comfortable seeing the game out despite the narrow scoreline.