William Hill Scottish Cup Third Round



By Stewart McConnell

RESILIENT Beith punched above their weight for 65 minutes before a deadly blow in the form of a goal from Lawrence Shankland sent them crashing to the canvas.

The heavily favoured Ladbrokes Championship leaders were ultimately too powerful for the West Region Premier Division champions but Beith certainly gave them a game.

And the reward for United is another Ayrshire derby with a difference - this time away to Scottish Junior Cup holders Auchinleck Talbot in January.

This was a hugely memorable afternoon for Beith, who were playing their county cousins for the first time in the showpiece Scottish Cup. But they were desperately hoping to compete better than they did against Morton, who defeated them 6-0 at Bellsdale Park two years ago. That they certainly did, but Ayr were slick, had prepared well and ultimately their greater fitness showed.

There was an electric atmosphere and huge 1800-strong crowd packed into Bellsdale Park. This was two title winners going head-to-head, with Ayr winning Ladbrokes League One last season and Beith landed the West of Scotland Junior Super Premier Division.

Former Ayr goalie Stephen Grindlay made a super one-handed save to keep out a 25-yard effort from goal machine Shankland in six minutes. Three minutes, the home goalie made another stunning diving save ton foil the same player from a similar distance.

Visiting defender Chris Higgins made a fine block to thwart Keir Milliken in 12 minutes. A minute later Ayr came close when Andy Geggan sent a header from six yards just over the bar.

Shankland saw his effort from six yards blocked by Grindlay’s legs in 18 minutes.

Great play by Thomas Collins won Beith a corner in 20 minutes but it was blocked by the Ayr rearguard.

Beith were unlucky in 25 minutes when a strong Darren Christie cross just evaded everyone inside the box.

Shankland teed up,Michael Moffat to net from four yards but the “goal”was chalked off for offside.

A Joe Bradley corner-kick was headed clear by an Ayr defender in 39 minutes and a minute later Darren Christie shot across the face of goal from 20 yards.

Then a well struck free-kick from 25 yards by Keir Milliken was well saved by Ross Doohan in 43 minutes.

Home player Paul Frize was booked for a rash challenge in 44 minutes.

Visiting midfielder Steven Bell was booked for a rash tackle three minutes after the break.

Ayr went so close in 53 minutes when an Andy Geggan rocket from 12 yards crashed off the crossbar. At the other end a minute later Joe Bradley shot inches wide from 22 yards.

Liam Smith was booked for kicking the ball at an opponent five minutes later.

However United seized the lead in 64 minutes when Lawrence Shankland sent home an angled drive from 12 yards. Two minutes later Ross Doohan made a fine save to deny Christie from just inside the box.

In 79 minutes Shankland flicked a pass to sub Ross Docherty to sidefoot home and put Ayr United 2-0 ahead.

Michael Moffat made it 3-0 in 88 minutes when he shot home from 20 yards after great work from Daniel Harvie and Luke McGowan.