GK1Sam George   
 RB2Robbie Duncan   
 LB3Richard Kirwan   
 CB4Alan Benton Yellow Card 
 CB5David Grant   
 CM6Jamie BroadfootScorer  
 CM7Ross Ballantyne (vc)   
Off70CM8Jamie Barclay   
 CF9Andy Selkirk   
Off76SS10Jonathan BlackScorer  
Off54SS11Alex Tilley   
On54 12Stephen O'Neill   
  13Kenny Giles   
On70 14Blair Munn   
On76 15Ian McIntyre   
  16David Brown   
  17Ryan Milne (u20)   

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03/10/2015  |  League

Preston Athletic   0  v  2  Cumbernauld Colts

Having made history by booking their place in the Scottish Cup second round last time out the Colts returned to Lowland League duty today in sunny Prestonpans, taking on Preston Athletic at Pennypit Park.

With skipper Andy Ward serving a one game suspension and centre back partner from last week Oliver unavailable, Benton and Grant lined up in a changed Colts back four. The visitors also welcomed Selkirk back upfront in place of ONeill. Vice-Captain Ross Ballantyne led the team out into the sunshine and saw his Cumbernauld side start very quickly, dominating the early possession and creating good early chances.

First up it was Barclay who, after fine interplay on the right between Duncan, Ballanytyne and Selkirk, was played in by Black. 12 yards out on the angle the big midfielder pulled a fine save from the home stopper with his right foot. Next up was Broadfoot who benefitted from one of several fine changes of play from Ballantyne, Black and Selkirk involved in playing in Broadfoot who cleverly stepped inside his marker and fired inches over with his left.

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Selkirk returned for Colts. Barclay hits the post (click to enlarge)

As the visitors in their all black strip took full control of the game the home keeper made another superb stop from Selkirk, Kirwan getting forward from left back to combine with Tilley and deliver a wonderful in swinging cross which Selkirk rose to head towards the top corner. The keeper though threw himself full stretch to his left to tip round the post for a corner.

AS the Colts continued to create (and squander) chances in their whirlwind start Black was next up, latching onto a Ballantyne centre from the left to head over the bar from 8 yards unchallenged when a goal looked certain. Having been a constant threat on the wings fullback Kirwan moved into a central position and was found well by Broadfoot, firing powerfully inches wide of the keepers right hand upright with the stopper beaten.

Black and Barclay didnt cleanly catch efforts from just inside the area following good buildup play before Duncan delivered a fine cross from the right that just evaded Tilley at the back post. Benton found himself unmarked at the back post and was found by Broadfoot, but the centre back couldnt work his feet out quickly enough and fired high into the box rather than on target from an acute angle.

Having dominated the game the Colts could and probably should have had the game out of sight before the home side got near Georges goal. When they did venture forward though they managed to fashion a decent opportunity, showing wayward finishing of their own as the attacker sidefooted well wide from inside the 6 yard box when a goal looked certain.

Fine tackles from Grant and Ballantyne inside the Colts box snuffed out 2 rare Preston attacks, George not having to make a save in the opening 45, before Barclay had the final Colts chance of the half, hitting the post keeper beaten with a header from a Broadfoot delivery from 8 yards out.

0-0 at half time but Cumbernauld had dominated the half, creating a number of good chances that they were unable to convert, the home side becoming more ‘robust as the half developed in trying to deal with the Colts forward menace.

Into the second half the Broadwood men started slowly and could have found themselves behind after only 5 minutes with what turned out to be the home sides solitary shot on target from the penalty spot. Some slack play in the middle led to a cross coming in from the Colts left, Duncan tucking round but adjudged to have nudged the centre forward from behind.

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Sam George makes a fantastic penalty save at 0-0 (click to enlarge)

George in the Colts goal has made a string of impressive saves so far this season, the stop from the penalty arguably the best of the bunch. A good penalty hit with power and accuracy low towards the bottom left hand corner of the goal, George went the right way and dived full stretch to save one handed with his left, getting up sharp to smuggle away the rebound. A quite magnificent save which laid the foundations for his side to go on and win the game.

There were a couple of bookings for the home side that may well have been another colour as the official showed a degree of leniency with the homes sides combative style, Ballantyne and Broadfoot the recipients of a couple of very heavy challenges.

ONeill replaced Tilley early in the half and his presence made a difference to the Colts attack. First he linked with Broadfoot and Kirwan to cross for Black who fired wide. Then the wide man played in Broadfoot who slipped inside and fired inches over with his right.

Selkirk pulled a fine save from the home keeper low to his left before the first of two strong penalty claims was waived away by the officials, Kirwan tagged in the box as he ran beyond his marker, the fullback keeping his feet to centre with the official saying no. Selkirk was then clipped in the area, again the official saying no.

The Colts though did finally get the goal their dominance deserved, Ballantyne latching onto a loose ball centrally before driving into the area beyond 3 tackles and pulling across to Black who rifled into the top corner with his left from 12 yards, the keeper, for once, helpless to stop it.

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Black was a constant threat, opening the scoring with a fine left foot finish (click to enlarge)

Munn replaced the injured Barclay and pulled a fine save from the keeper before linking with Selkirk, who won the ball from the centre back, to play into ONeill inside the area. ONeill shifted the ball to his left and drilled low past the keeper, the effort going narrowly wide.

A heavy tackle on Benton in the left corner further incensed the visiting bench as they wondered when the match official would take appropriate action for the tackles flying in. That did happen only moments later as the Preston substitute was red carded for leading with an elbow in a challenge with Munn.

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Kirwan in the wars and Broadfoot making it 2 for the Colts (click to enlarge)

Kirwan, wearing a comical Terry Butcher style head bandage having received a gash to the head earlier, looked sharp to snuff out a home attack before substitute McIntyre gathered the ball from Munn on halfway and travelled half the park before beating his man and picking out Broadfoot with a fine centre. Broadfoot took a wonderful first touch away from his man and finished low under the diving keeper, making it 2-0 and securing the points for the Colts.

There was still time for Selkirk and Munn to further test the keeper before the official blew for time on another fine Colts performance on the road, the Broadwood men now making it 13 points from 15 away from home. The Colts will be looking to take their away form and their back to back clean sheets into next weeks home clash with high flying East Kilbride before a Saturday off to prepare for Scottish Cup round 2 against Junior giants Auchinleck Talbot.

Full photoset from Alex Miller on Flickr:

Preston Athletic 0-2 Cumbernauld Colts