Stark engineers cup progress for Hive with shootout saves

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Stonehaven goalkeeper Fraser Stark saved two penalties in a shootout as the Hive edged out Kirrie Thistle in a seesaw GA Engineering Cup tie.

Adam McWilliam also played a major part in last Saturday’s win with two goals in the 90 minutes, as well as scoring in the shootout.

Visitors Thistle went ahead at Glenury Park after 19 minutes through Allan Cruickshank but McWilliam levelled from the penalty spot on 35 minutes.

It was 1-1 at the interval but it was soon 2-2 in the 
second half as Craig Mackie put Stonehaven ahead on 54 minutes after McWilliam’s cross cum shot had been cleared off the line, then Cruickshank tapped in barely a minute later for his second goal of the game.

It looked like a McWilliam solo effort might be enough to win the tie with 12 minutes remaining, only for Thistle to equalise again on 83 minutes through John Farquharson, a goal which looked suspiciously offside. So the teams went into a penalty shootout, with Stark saving Thistle’s first effort, while Rob Armstrong missed for Stonehaven.

However captain Rthys Gray, Ryan Clark, Ludwik Metelski, McWilliam and Lewis Shand were all on target for the Hive and Stark won the tie with his tremendous save from Thistle’s Stewart Russell.

Stonehaven manager Ian Esslemont said this week: “It was an excellent cup tie. They had a couple of quick players who made life awkward for us but we got through in the end.

“It was a difficult match for the referee as he had no linemen to assist him.”

Stonehaven: Stark, McTavish, Shand, Reid, Lowden (Millsom 85), Gray, McWilliam, Johnston, Armstrong, Mackie (Clark 75), Smith (Metelski 72).

Stonehaven have been drawn at home to Forfar West End in the quarter-finals on March 24, while in the Domino’s Pizza North Regional Cup they have another home quarter-final, against holders East End.

This Saturday, the Hive are away to Hermes in the Superleague (2pm). The teams drew 3-3 at Glenury Park earlier in the season.