Scottish Cup: Churchill helps Strollers earn date with Brora
Civil Service Strollers will face another Highland League outfit, Brora Rangers, in the William Hill Scottish Cup second round after this victory.
Civil Service Strollers beat Strathspey 2-1 to set up a William Hill Scottish Cup second-round tie with another Highland League outfit, Brora Rangers,
Two great goals and an improved second half gave Strollers a deserved victory. However, their first-half nerves could have cost them dearly.
Strathspey started the game well bringing out an excellent early save from Kyle Rankin in the home goal.
The pace of the game was relentless with neither team able to get their foot on the ball to establish any passing pattern. The ball was being launched forward with neither team being able to pick up on any scraps until the 30th minute.
It was from a long ball that the deadlock was broken. Gavin Hay anticipated a flick-on and put Strathspey one up, shooting past the outrushing Rankin.
The second half saw a more composed Strollers team with Scott Clapperton and Matthew Cunningham retaining the ball better in the midfield and linking with Kris Mitchell to ensure their opponents did all of the chasing.
Good combinations from Andrew Mair, David Stewart and Clapperton down the right lead to another corner. David Stewart timed his run to perfection, bulletting the ball into the net from six yards.
Confidence was evident as Strollers pushed for the winner. However, it took the introduction of Steven Froude from the bench to score that all-important goal. Froudes’ flick-on was well read by David Churchill, whose pace took him away from his opponent and he rounded the keeper to roll the ball into the empty net.
Strollers fans and players were ecstatic, their relief tangible, knowing they had one foot in the next round.
Strathspey were not finished yet, though, as they caused panic in the home goalmouth with only moments to go but the efforts of Jack Verth and Rankin ensured that Strollers clinched a home tie with Brora on October 14.
Civil Service Strollers: Rankin, Stewart, Fee, Verth, Laird (Nisbet 60), Cunningham, Mair, Clapperton, Hainey (Froude 75) Mitchell (Ballantyne 60), Churchill. Subs: Burnside, Boyle, Carse, Devers.
Strathspey Thistle: MacCallum, Isle, Hay, Mochan (Ballum 75), Hume, Ross, Edwards, MacMillan (Donaldson 65), Hay, McShane, McLeod. Subs: Obrian, Reed, Finnis, Taylor.