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A late goal from substitute Zak Raymen sent Dunipace Juniors through to the last sixteen of the Scottish Cup at the expense of Wishaw Wycombe Wanderers. In a game littered with yellow cards and which threatened to boil over on several occasions, Raymen kept his nerve late in the match to ensure his side progressed and avoid the extra time which had looked likely for most of the game. Defences were on top and goalscoring chances kept to a minimum.
The match kicked off with a low winter sun beating down on the tight, sloping Cleland pitch. Dunipace looked to start positively by utilising the skill of Stewart Anderson down the left. This was to be a feature of their play throughout, Anderson ably supported by full back Raz Gillespie. However it was Wishaw who had the better of the opening exchanges, perhaps more used to the surroundings than their visitors. The free kick prowess of Derri Brown saw Captain Billy Tweedie nod over the bar with the first real chance of the game.
Wishaw’s Jamie Moir was featuring in most of the positive play in the early exchanges, making use of his touch and dropping deep to good effect. Moir created a half chance for himself, showing quick feet to make space before firing a left foot shot wide. Aaron Bulloch shot over and Moir had an ambitious overhead attempt thwarted by the referees whistle; however Ryan Cherrie remained relatively untroubled in the Dunipace goal.
Bulloch beat his man down the left before digging out a cross to be met by the head of Moir but his effort clipped the top of the bar. Wishaw were the dominant side at this stage and seemed the most likely to open the scoring. As if often the case in Cup football however Dunipace turned that theory on its head by going one up themselves in the twenty eighth minute. They had looked dangerous on the break but without any cohesion when near to goal. This changed with their opener. A clever throw in from Gillespie found the feet of Ross Maguire in the box. Maguire spun quickly and slotted a great ball through to the galloping Anderson who had come in from the left. Anderson took a touch before slotting calmly into the corner of the net past the helpless Graham Young. The best bit of play of the match so far had resulted in the opening goal.
Wishaw could feel a bit aggrieved to be a goal behind on the balance of play for the opening half hour. However they were level within two minutes. Tweedie’s corner from the right broke in the box where Bulloch wasted no time before emphatically lashing home with his left foot. All square and a really interesting cup tie was developing as the sun began to dip in tandem with a renewed chill in the air.
Wishaw should have gone in ahead at half time but Andrew Watters squandered a couple of chances. First of all he was played clean through on goal by Tweedie but shot far too early with his effort easily gathered. Watters did better with his next attempt, latching onto the quick thinking Moir’s throw in to snap an effort which Cherrie did well to turn wide. Cherrie was having a good game, dealing with everything that was thrown at him including the subsequent corner.
Dunipace forced a couple of corners prior to the break but were unable to capitalise before the half time whistle blew. This gave time for each side to reflect and to consider how they might progress in this tie.
Half Time: Wishaw Wycombe Wanderers 1-1 Dunipace Juniors
Dunipace started the second half well, epitomised by Anderson on the left who worked his way to the byeline before firing a dangerous ball across that almost resulted in an own goal. Anderson was getting more involved in the play in this half, putting Dunipace on the front foot. Wishaw were clearly worried by the threat he was posing and this led to a number of heated exchanges in the second half. The referee seemed to be upsetting each side in turn and this led to a number of bookings being issued. The pressure of the occasion was perhaps getting to the players but this should not detract from what was a very interesting second half.
However few chances were created and whilst Dunipace were enjoying more of the ball they were not really threatening the Wishaw goal. Moir was quieter too but it was clear he represented Wishaw’s best chance of getting a winner, one particular effort spinning just wide. Wishaw switched to a three man front line in an effort to get a winner but Dunipace continued to defend diligently, the confident Cherrie organising things well.
Maguire and Dominic McGrandler both had efforts for Dunipace but these were easily dealt with as each side started to make substitutions. One such substitution saw Raymen introduced for Dunipace and it was this change that was to prove pivotal. In a typical break Raymen found himself clear on the right hand side, driving into the box. There was still a lot for him to do but he struck a perfect shot across Young and into the corner of the net. It was unclear quite how long was left due to a number of stoppages but Dunipace managed to see out the time remaining successfully. A great away win for the team in black & white stripes who will now be relishing the chance to play Goldenhill BC in the last sixteen of this competition.
On the balance of play this was probably the correct outcome but Wishaw will regret not taking the chances they created in the period after their equaliser.
Full Time: Wishaw Wycombe Wanderers 1-2 Dunipace Juniors