BEITH JUNIORS 2 (McShane, Bradley) LINLITHGOW ROSE 0
BEITH: Robertson, McShane, Brittain, McCulloch, Sheridan, Craig, McKeown, McGarvey, Reid, O'Keane, McLean
LINLITHGOW: Pinkowski, Kelly, Virgili, Ward, Brown, Tyrrell, Livingstone, Nelson, Manson, Coyne, McArthur
REFEREE: Don Robertson
It could easily be argued that the two best sides in the first round draw had been unfortunate to be paired together at this stage but it did guarantee that Beith Juniors versus Linlithgow Rose would be an attractive tie. Given the close proximity to civilisation it was a pleasure to head over the Postman Pat roads, through Lochwinnoch and into Banjo Country on a beautiful, sunny afternoon.
Bellsdale Park is one of the better grounds I've been to at this stage of the competition. Even if it had been raining there were three sheds to provide shelter to the majority of the support. The ground's capacity is 1,800 and it was close to being full so I'd estimate the crowd at 1,500 with a couple of hundred away fans making the trip through from West Lothian.
The visitors started brightly and had the better of the play early on. In the third minute a powerful Ward header was straight at Robertson in the Beith goal and five minutes later Livingstone broke free and rounded the home keeper, only to see his shot cleared off the line.
Beith's first real chance came in the thirteenth minute when a free header from McLean from ten yards out went inches wide of Pinkowski's right-hand post.
From this point the home side started to take control of the game and press forward but Linlithgow almost took the lead against the run of play midway through the first half. Stephen Manson gathered the ball in his own half and went on a lung-bursting fifty yard run before sending in a shot that was cleared off the line by Beith's Derek McCulloch.
In twenty-nine minutes Beith's pressure finally paid off when Martin McGarvey collected the ball on the right and sent a cross to the back post. With Linlithgow's keeper flapping, Marc McShane rose highest and nodded home from six yards out to give the home side a well-deserved lead.
Beith could have doubled their lead just before the break when a header from around the penalty spot was cleared off the line. As the half-time whistle went it was clear to all associated with Rose that their team had been out-fought and out-thought.
In the second half Linlithgow tried to push numbers forward but, as you'd expect, this left gaps in their defence which Beith tried to, and eventually did, exploit.
On forty-eight minutes Beith's McShane won the ball in midfield and put McLean through one-on-one with Pinkowski but his finish went about a yard wide. Craig then forced an excellent save from the Rose keeper from a free kick.
Linlithgow had two decent attempts at finding an equaliser. Sub Chris King's 20-yard shot was deflected inches wide on seventy-six minutes and three minutes later Nelson's corner was headed just wide by Brown.
The goal that clinched the match for Beith came in the eighty-first minute. Joe Bradley started a break down the left and passed the ball inside before continuing his run. Two passes later and he was one-on-one with Pinkowski. There was no mistake this time and the midget winger buried the ball from just inside the box, sending the home fans wild and the away fans in the direction of the exit.
On eighty-six minutes Linlithgow looked like they would get a consolation when MacLennan beat Robertson in the Beith goal, only for John Sheridan to make as good a clearance as you'll see this season which, to contradict Elvis Costello, is NOT a good year for the Roses.
And on that awful note, I'll sign off. See you next time for more Scottish Cup insanity.