Colts bowed out of the Scottish Cup on penalties after an exciting game away at Bonnyton. In all honesty Colts had enough chances in the first half alone to win the game comfortably, but that’s football.
Colts lined up with Irwin in goal and a back four of Loudon, Weir, Robson and Leishman. In midfield Largs had R.Coupar, Bainbridge, Cormack and McTaggart with Smith and Brown up front. Colts took five subs down to Kilmarnock to cover for any injuries with J.Coupar, Dalglish, Blair, Florence and Wilson covering.
The early stages were open before Colts started to see more of the ball and create a few chances. On five minutes, McTaggart found Smith who struck wide of the target. Colts' first real effort on goal in the game. On eight minutes, R.Coupar was next to strike with his left foot, though the keeper saved comfortably.
Bonnyton did have a chance just a minute later though thankfully for Colts, the ball went wide of the post. On 11 minutes Colts broke well through Bainbridge who fed in Brown though the keeper was alert to gather well. Colts were now in control and on thirteen minutes Smith struck with power though the ball shaved the bar and over. The chances for Colts were there, and it seemed to be a case of when not if the ball would hit the back of the net.
On sixteen minutes Smith was through one on one with the keeper who saved well. The ball came back to Smith but the big striker couldn’t get the ball on target as it went wide for a goal kick. Colts will reflect on the missed chances at this point which could have killed the game. On eighteen minutes Bainbridge played a perfectly weighted pass through to Cormack to be one on one with the keeper who again saved well. The ball came back to Smith to strike but again just over the target. On 22 minutes Bonnyton had a rare break through it was well saved by Irwin.
Colts broke quickly and finally got the goal when a neat ball by Smith found Brown who finished calmly for a well-deserved goal for Colts. 1-0 up, but in reality, it should be more. Largs Colts were passing the ball well and continued to create and play through the Bonnyton back line. On 31 minutes Colts doubled the lead when excellent play by Bainbridge found Brown who played in Smith for the finish and 2-0 Colts. Bonnyton pressed in the last few minutes but Weir and Robson held firm in the heart of the Colts defence as the half time whistle sounded.
Half Time: Bonnyton Thistle 0-2 Largs Colts
The second half started as expected with Bonnyton straight out the blocks. Bonnyton were right back into the game just 2 minutes into the second period. Irwin made a great double save but the defence did not react quickly enough and the Bonnyton striker had the empty net to roll the ball into to half the deficit.
Although Colts had chances to restore their 2 goal lead, on 44 minutes Bonnyton equalised. Keeper Irwin saved well from a Bonnyton shot, but as he appeared to have both hands on the ball the Bonnyton player managed to get the ball into the back of the net, and the referee awarded the goal to the hosts and a body blow for Colts who had been dominant.
On 50 minutes, Smith found Bainbridge who struck with his left foot though well saved by the Bonnyton keeper. On 53 minutes R.Coupar used his skill and strength to see off three defenders down the left before crossing into Cormack but he couldn’t quite reach the ball as it went across the face of goal. Blair then did well to win a corner down the right which Robson almost reached before the keeper gathered well. Brown then won another Colts corner which Bainbridge got a hold of though he managed to scoop the ball just over the bar.
On 57 minutes R.Coupar was fouled 35 yards out with McTaggart stepping up to strike which the keeper gathered at the second attempt. Colts were again on top and R.Coupar took the ball down well before finding Bainbridge on the right for another shot which went just over the bar. Irwin was called into action occasionally though to keep the scores level, but was very much a spectator in the second half. Cormack was then fouled with just six minutes left. McTaggart struck a good ball into the box but yet again it came to nothing. Inside the last minute and Bonnyton almost scored when the big striker ran through but put the ball just wide.
Full Time: Bonnyton Thistle 2-2 Largs Colts
The game went into extra time, and Bonnyton started the brighter. Weir was defending superbly, taking care of the powerful Bonnyton striker, and Loudon was sweeping up the scraps. In the second period of extra time McTaggart was through on goal though the ball somehow trickled away from the skilful midfielder and the keeper collected with ease. Both sides failed to create any further clear cut chances as the game went to penalties.
Full Time AET: Bonnyton Thistle 2-2 Largs Colts
As happens in the beautiful game if you don’t take your chances it can come back to bite you and Colts were unfortunate to lose the game on penalties with some sound saves from the Bonnyton keeper. Colts best players on the day were Weir, Bainbridge, Smith and R.Coupar. The Man of the Match vote went to Bainbridge for some excellent link up play as well as great strength and skill. The midfielder has added a great deal to the Colts side this season with more to come from the developing team.
The Largs side have come on such a long way and to lose in such fashion, although painful, does have some positives. Bonnyton were the CAYFA league champions last season and Colts were more than a match for the Kilmarnock side. Colts had the target of top 5 finish in the league this season and based on the start made and improvement in the squad, that target might need to be revised higher! The coaches could not be more proud of this group of lads and the style of football they play. Well played lads – your day will come.
Largs: Irwin (GK), Robson, Loudon, Weir, Leishman, R.Coupar(C), Bainbridge, Cormack, McTaggart, Smith, Brown Subs:. J.Coupar, Dalglish, Wilson, Blair, Florence