Echt progress in the Scottish Cup

This Scottish Amateur Cup fourth round tie was originally scheduled for December 3, so it came as a relief to both sides to finally come face to face on the field of play.

Echt went into this one knowing full well that opposition from the Ayrshire Amateur Football Association meant they would have to perform at something approaching their best if they were to feature in the fifth round.

The opening 15 minutes saw Echt enjoy the bulk of possession but heavy underfoot conditions and a blustery wind were making things difficult for both sides and two early half chances for Scott Aberdein and Paul Presslie failed to see Echt open their account.

In 20 minutes full-back Scott Birse, who was getting forward at every opportunity, delivered a ball across the face of the Wallacetoun goal and the visitors must of been grateful to see supporting trio of Presslie, Ian Leith and Marc Lawrence fail to get the vital touch, and the ball was knocked out for what turned out to be a fruitless corner.

By the halfway stage of the first period the Ayrshire side had established a good foothold in the game and indeed much of the action was in the Echt half, albeit Echt keeper Paul Bennett rarely troubled.

In 26 minutes Presslie and Leith combined on the left touchline allowing the latter to play another inviting low ball, across goal,but again no takers.

With 32 minutes on the clock, Echt gave away possession just inside the Wallacetoun half and the visitors should have done better than shoot tamely into Bennett’s arms.

On 37 minutes Wallacetoun’s McGuire lifted a free kick into the heart of the Echt box and central defender McLean rose to edge a header just over the Echt crossbar.

Prior to the interval, a deep Lawrence free kick was headed back across goal by Presslie, in the goal-line scramble that ensued Leith failed to convert and the ball was finally bundled over the line by Presslie, but the joy was shortlived when the referee awarded the visitors a free-kick for an infringement.

Echt opened the second half with all guns blazing, MacLeod fired across goal and wide of Tait’s right hand post following an exchange of passes between Leith and Presslie.

A Presslie header on a Birse delivery crept wide with Tait beaten and then an Alan Douglas 35 yard strike hung up on the wind and carried just over the bar.

A wayward backpass that could just as easily have given Echt the lead they craved, and indeed deserved at this point, resulted in a MacLeod corner kick and another frantic six yard box scramble but the visitors clung on.

A typical MacLeod mazy run saw him felled just outside the box, but still no joy for Echt from the resultant free kick.

Echt finally got the opener in 65 minutes. Lawrence gained possession on the left, courtesy of a poor first touch by the full-back and powered past him to fire a low angular drive into the far corner of the net as keeper Tait advanced off his line.

A minute later it was 2-0, Leith in a central position raced as far as the edge of the box and his low shot squirmed under and beyond Tait’s foot to nestle in the back of the net.

The visitors were now left with no option other than to pour men forward in an effort to get the goal that would put them back in contention but the Echt rearguard stood firm and on the break Echt looked just as likely to increase their advantage.

Goalscorer Lawrence made way for Kieran Graham in 71 minutes and then Alan Daun replaced Andy Davidson.

Echt Skipper Douglas who had got through a power of work for the Echt cause throughout the match was hauled down in the Wallacetoun box late on, allowing Presslie to net Echt’s third from the spot.

With Dynamo East Kilbride and Oban Saints drawing 1-1 in their game Echt await a replay result to confirm their fifth round opposition away from home.

Echt: P Bennet, Birse, Cooper, A Davidson, Aberdein, G Milne, MacLeod, Douglas, Presslie, Leith, Lawrence. Subs: Graham, Daun, L Milne, McGillivray, S Bennett.