Bluebell Beaten As Primrose Progress
Dundonald Bluebell 3-4 Crossgates Primrose (aet)
King Cup 2nd Round
Moorside Park, Dundonald
Crossgates emerged victorious from the Fife derby to progress into round 3 of this season's King Cup. Dundonald had lead at half-time, but squandered a 2 goal cushion before the visitors grabbed an extra-time winner in a 7-goal thriller at a muddy Moorside Park.
With only eleven fit players, Dundonald's squad was stretched paper thin and the home side had to draft in some emergency cover just to fill the subs bench.
Bluebell sit third in Conference B, just two places ahead of Primrose with a six point advantage and a game in hand.
With two league victories over their neighbours already this season, Bluebell went into the game as favourites. But Crossgates made the short trip along the A92 hoping the Cup would be give them a chance for revenge.
First blood went to Dundonald when they took the lead on 10 minutes, Archie Campbell's corner causing chaos in the box and Callum Smith nodding home the opener.
Mark McKenzie levelled in the 25th minute, taking advantage of a mix up in the Bluebell defence to slide the ball past Lennox.
Bluebell were back in front on the half-hour after some good wing play down the right. Billy Rogerson wriggled into the box and cutback for Lewis McKenzie to score with a really tidy finish from the edge of the box.
Crossgates didn't learn their lesson and Dundonald extended the lead with an exact replica goal just two minutes later. Same move, same result for McKenzie's second of the afternoon.
Despite the advantage, there really wasn't much between the sides in the first half and it really didn't feel like there were two goals a difference in the match. As the half headed towards half-time, the weather began to close in with a really heavy rain shower taking its toll on the pitch, which was already beginning to cut up.
Just five minutes into second half, Bluebell conceded a penalty after lunge on McKenzie of the edge of the box. It was a needless tackle with the forward headed away from goal towards the cornerflag, but it gave Primrose a route back into the game and Scott Lawrie dispatched his spot-kick into the bottom corner.
The goal took the wind out of Bluebell's sails, and it was no surprise when they conceded again on the hour mark. The defence backed off James McAteer giving him enough space for the shot, which he curled into the top corner. It was a peach of a finish that gave Lennox no chance and brought the tie level again.
Extra time was a bit of a slog on a very heavy park , especially for Dundonald with so few options on the bench. Some of the players were struggling for traction at times, and there were plenty of tired legs as the extra half hour got underway.
The winner came in the first period, Mark McKenzie getting on the end of a long ball to beat off-side trap and draw the keeper before squaring for Lawrie to score the winner with a tap-in.
The hosts went down to ten men when Rogerson got his marching orders for a late tackle on the stand side touchline, although he was probably glad to get in for an early bath. It was kitchen sink time for Bluebell - and despite being a man down, Archie Campbell & Chris Gay both had chances to level, but Grant Henderson kept Primrose in front and the visitors did enough to get their name into the hat for the next round.
Both sides now need to turn their minds back to league business as the Conference B run-in enters the last few games. Although Bonnyrigg appear to have the play-off spot sewn up, both these sides look relatively safe in the automatic Premier League spots for next season, but there's still plenty of football to be played. Bluebell host the Conference leaders next Saturday while Primrose also have a home game against Tranent.
Man of the Match: Mark McKenzie was the difference for Primrose, scoring their first and winning the penalty for the second that got them back into it. On a pitch that drained energy from the legs, he still had enough left in the tank for an extra-time run that laid the winner on a plate for Lawrie.
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