Kelso United 0
SOUTH OF SCOTLAND CHALLENGE CUP
GEORGE RILEY reports from Yarrow Park
THIS match could have been a high-scoring affair if both teams’ strikers had taken their chances.
As it was, a number of scoring attempts were squandered throughout, with the hosts coming out on top thanks to goals from Euan Pritchard and Jamie Gibson.
Selkirk started the brighter and the early pressure paid off after 19 minutes when a corner was swung into the box by Johnny Watt and Pritchard rose above the visitors’ defence to head beyond United keeper David Simmonds.
The home team should have went two up in the 25th minute, a quick throw-in from right back Lee Stephen found Johnny Watt, who passed to Daryl Burdett in the box, but the winger scuffed his shot in front of goal.
It took Kelso 35 minutes to conjure up a scoring opportunity. A good ball from midfield saw Chris Tait bearing down on goal, but his shot went wide of the target. At the other end a fine run down the right by Ryan McManus placed a ball into the box, but lanky striker William Mercer headed over.
The game had gone seven minutes into the second half when Selkirk got their second goal. A through-ball into the heart of the United defence saw Steven Tait attempt to clear, only to hit Gibson’s torso. The Selkirk striker took full advantage, controlling the ball and rounding Simmonds before placing it in the net.
Tait’s afternoon got worse in 62nd minute when he was sent to the dressing room by referee Paul Hanlon after bringing down Burdett at the edge of the box.
The sending off seemed to give the visitors the spur they needed to get back in the game and they came close two minutes later.
A throw-in down the right was picked up by Chris Tait and the midfielder crossed the ball to the front post, where Calum Webb was unmarked, but the United winger failed to connect with his header.
Some good interplay at the edge of the box by the Selkirk midfield set up Gibson to put in a goal-bound shot, but the Kelso keeper was alert and saved well.
Selkirk substitute Romero Aguilera had a golden chance in the 76th minute when he received the ball from Burdett inside the six-yard box, but he shot straight at the United keeper.
Kelso kept the pressure on, though, and a long throw from Jamie Swailes into the home box was completely missed by the Selkirk defence and substitute Jamie Milner headed the ball straight into the arms of John Dodds. And, in the last minute of the game, following a good run by Kelso’s Garry Mabon down the left, Jamie Milner got his head to the ball, but somehow managed to hoof it over the bar.
Selkirk manager Bryan Templeton said he was just relieved to be in the next round of the cup, while Kelso boss Prof Blaikie was upset at his defence losing two soft goals.
Kelso: D. Simmonds, J. McCutcheon, C. Black, S. Tait, S. Harker, D. McNulty, C. Webb (J Milner), C. Tait (J. Hogarth), D. Burnett, J. Swailes, M. Lockhart (G. Mabon).
Selkirk: J. Dodds, L. Stephen, L. Hardie (B. Milven), E. Pritchard, J. Higginbottom, R. McManus, D. Burdett, R. Clapperton, J. Gibson, J. Watt, W. Mercer (R. Aguilero).