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Ayr United 2 Montrose 2

MONTROSE lived to fight another day in the William Hill Scottish Cup with a tremendous performance at Somerset Park on Saturday against League Cup semi-finalists Ayr United.

The Honest Men had no answer to Ray Farningham’s side who stuck to their task and should have won this pulsating tie, decided at Links Park in a replay last night, after the Review went to press.

The Gable Endies showed two changes from the Stranraer match with Terry Masson and two-goal Sean Pierce coming in at the expense of the injured Alan Campbell and Jonathan Crawford.

With seven minutes gone a long ball from Winter put Boyle clear of the home defence but he slipped on the greasy surface.

The home side opened the scoring in the following minute. McGowan made space to get in a shot which Andrews tipped around the post. From the resultant near post corner from the same player ROBERTSON got ahead of his marker Crighton to flash home a header from close range.

Two minutes later McNally raced up the right flank and got over a cross which was half cleared by the home defence. It fell kindly to Paul Lunan but he shot over the crossbar.

In the 10th minute Moffat was through on goal and squared to Trouten but the Ayr midfielder slipped and Montrose cleared.

The visitors equalised in the 22nd minute. Boyle raced up the right channel and fired in a cross which went right across goal. It was retrieved by Pierce, who in turn found Lunan. The midfielder then looked up and curled in a beauty of a cross and MASSON rose inside the six yard area and sent a header looping over Cuthbert and into the top corner of the net.

In the 27th minute Montrose had a great chance to take the lead when referee Northcroft awarded them a penalty kick. It was a defence splitting pass from Winter that caused the problems, Ayr United central defender Robertson missed the ball and Boyle went racing clean through on goal only to be brought crashing to the ground by last man Tiffoney. Amazingly the referee only booked the right-back. Pierce stepped up to take the penalty but the usually reliable striker sent the ‘keeper the wrong way only to see the ball rebound off the post.

With 10 minutes of the half remaining an in swinging corner from McGowan caused danger inside the area but Andrews punched clear.

Half-time: Ayr 1, Montrose 1.

Montrose restarted and were quickly on the attack. Johnston won possession on the right and played in a chipped cross to Boyle who was judged offside as he fired at ‘keeper Cuthbert.

Masson then picked up an injury after a solid challenge in the middle of the park but he was able to continue after treatment.

Referee Northcroft awarded the second penalty kick of the afternoon in the 55th minute, this time to the home side, when Cameron was adjudged to have blocked a cross from McGowan with his hands. After Cameron was booked for his protests TROUTEN stepped up to calmly side foot the ball past Andrews.

Montrose didn’t have long to wait for their second penalty of the match when a Johnston cross was blocked by Malone some two minutes later. This time it was WINTER who took the responsibility of taking the kick and he stepped up to blast the ball into the roof of the net giving Cuthbert no chance.

In the 59th minute Malone was booked for a crude foul on Johnston.

The home side made a double substitution. Off came Robertson and Wardlaw and on in their places came Connolly and Roberts.

In the 73rd minute it was almost penalty number four when McNally ended a run by McGowan on the by-line and inches outside the area when he dragged him to the ground. McNally was shown the yellow card before McGowan blasted in the free kick which sailed out for a bye kick at the other side of the pitch.

Five minutes later and Trouten became the third home player to be shown the yellow card for a foul on Masson in the middle of the park.

In the 84th minute Montrose made their first substitution of the afternoon bringing on McPhee in place of Pierce. The home team brought on McKernon for Trouten.

With a minute remaining Montrose had the chance to win the tie. Boyle did the hard work racing down the right flank. His low cross was cleared but only as far as Masson some 10 yards out. A shot either side of Cuthbert would have found the net, but he drove the ball straight into the arms of the delighted home ‘keeper.

The whistle sounded on another impressive Montrose Scottish Cup performance.

Montrose: Andrews, McNally, Cameron, Smart, Crighton, Lunan, Masson, Winter, Boyle, Johnston, Pierce (McPhee.) Substitutes not used: Crawford, Dimilta, McGowan and Wood.