United stun league leaders

Kelso United 2

Preston Athletic 1

SOUTH CHALLENGE CUP FIRST ROUND

STUART REID reports from Woodside Park

LEAGUE leaders Preston travelled to Woodside for this difficult cup tie which turned out to be no walk in the park.

Kelso started brighter with Des Burnett narrowly missing two chances, but as has become the norm, it was the visitors who took the lead first. United conceded a free kick on the edge of their box and Preston’s Kevin Cairnie shot for goal. The ball took a wicked deflection off the wall and into the net as keeper David Simmonds was left helpless.

Then the home side enjoyed a decent spell with firstly Jordan Lauder and then Burnett testing the Preston keeper. The pressure paid off on 23 minutes when Chris Tait found the net from a corner.

Kelso kept the pressure up and within four minutes of the equaliser they took the lead. An excellent through-ball by Jamie Swailes was cleared by the Preston keeper, only to cannon off Burnett and into the net.

And they should have made it 3-1 from a corner, but Stuart Harker was given a dubious offside as he headed into the net.

With half-time approaching home keeper Simmonds made sure his team went in with the lead, reacting brilliantly to an on-target effort from Kevin Cairnie.

Into the second half, the Tweedsiders were involved in the first big incident for the referee. Swailes played the ball into the box and as Burnett was about to pull the trigger he crumpled under a challenge. The home crowd screamed for a stonewall penalty, but referee Paul Hanlon waved it away and booked the big striker for diving.

The pressure never let up, though, and Burnett beat the keeper, only to see his shot come back off the post. Five minutes later the woodwork rescued Preston again as Burnett’s header came off the crossbar.

Kelso defended well in the last five minutes as the visitors looked for an equaliser, but it was the hosts who progressed to meet Border rivals Selkirk in the next round.

Kelso United: D. Simmonds, C. Ferguson (G. Mabon), S. Angus, S. Harker, S. Tait, D. Mcnulty, C. Black, C. Tait, D. Burnett, J. Lauder (J. Milner).