St Mirren 3-0 Broxburn Athletic: Tough luck as battling Broxburn see their Scottish Cup run come to an end
Plucky Broxburn took St Mirren all the way before two goals in the final couple of minutes ended their dream of a Scottish Cup giant-killing act.
Two goals from Jon Obika either side of a Danny Mullen strike eased St Mirren into the fifth round of the Scottish Cup but they were taken down to the wire by Broxburn Athletic. The Wast Lothian side put up a terrific backs-to-the wall performance and it took Saints until the 54th minute to make the breakthrough as Obika opened the scoring.
Athletic's goalkeeper Connor Wallace pulled off a string of superb saves to keep his side in it but Mullen claimed a second for the |Paisley outfit in the last minute of the match and with the game in added-on time Obika claimed his second of the game to put a cruel complexion on the scoreline as far as Broxburn were concerned.
The signs were there from the opening minutes that it was going to be a long afternoon for the West Lothian side who immediately found themselves pinned down deep inside their own half.
A test of resolve and determination it certainly was but Brian McNaughton's players dug deep, every header, every meaty challenge, every block cheered as wildly as if it had been a goal itself by the 1600-strong red and white army behind goalkeeper Wallace, the incessant cacophany of noise they created almost as formidable as the wall of jerseys confronting the Premiership outfit.
Time and again defenders Chris Townsley, Grant Gavin and Gordon Donaldson got their heads or their bodies to the ball as the pressure built, the fact Saints had around 80 per cent possession telling the story of the first half as Broxburn's lone striker Conor Kelly found himself an isolated figure as his team-mates sought, largely in vain, to hit him with long balls.
Saints should have turned possession into a goal in the 24th minute, Obika coming in at the back post to take Junior Morais' low cross off the toes of Ilkay Durmus but he somehow managed to slide the ball inches wide of the target from only a few yards out.
The occasion got all too much for one Broxburn fan who jumped over the advertising hoardings and onto the pitch only to find a posse of stewards waiting to accompany him out of the ground while, sadly, an object had earlier been thrown from among their number as Saints Cammy MacPherson prepared to take a corner.
There had been a few anxious moments for McNaughton and his assistant Steven Hislop but their well-drilled side reached the interval on level terms.
But it was a case of more of the same after the half-time break, Wallace getting down well to his left to push aside Kyle Magennis' low shot before Durmus turned a Morais cross just wide as the part-timers of Broxburn continued to frustrate their hosts.
Saints finally broke the deadlock in the 54th minute thanks to a touch of luck, Calum Waters' cross breaking off Obika to leave Wallace helpless. Obika didn't seem to know much about it bu tit was a break gratefully accepted by the Paisley club.
McNaughton reacted by throwing on Zander Miller, the scorer of six Scottish Cup goals this season, for Kelly but it was Morais who went close to doubling Saints' lead, forcing Wallace to touch his shot over.
It took Broxburn an hour to register a shot on target but midfielder Ross Nimmo's shot was straight at Buddies' goalkeeper Vaclav Hladky before Wallace had to push another Morais shot over. Broxburn had a claim for a penalty waved away when John Grant went to ground under the challenge of Jamie McGrath but referee David Munro awarded a foul to St Mirren.
Wallace kept the 'Burn in it, throwing himself to his left to push away Mullen's volley as Saints looked for the cushion of a second goal, the goalkeeper recovering from a touch of treatment after bravely going down at the feet of the Buddies' front man before acrobatically pushing away a net bound effort from Obika and then bettering it with another stop from the striker.
The Broxburn goalie deserved his bit of luck when McGrath's shot came back off the post but was alert in getting down to save Morais' shot from the rebound. But there was nothing even he could do to prevent Mullen adding a second for Saints in the last minute of the match.
Mirren: Hladky, Flynn, McCarthy (Andreu 66), Famewo, Waters, Durmus (Mullen 59), MacPherson (McGrath 59), Magennis, Foley, Morais, Obika.
Substitutes not us: Lyness, P McGinn, Cooke, Erhahon.
Broxburn Athletic: Wallace, Gavin, Townsley, Donaldson, Gibson, Grant, Locke (Richards 78), Linton, Scott, Nimmo (Ross 67), Kelly (Miller 57)
Substitutes not used: Donoghue, Binnie, Beesley, Gillen.
Referee: David Munro