The Mill coach summed up the game oh so well with a phrase in his half time team talk. I quote; "Do we deserve to be in the lead? Naw." Before adding "Do I care? Naw. Come on boys!" A good point to make, he also rung a few tactical changes to go to a flat back 4, but Crosshouse kept the same shape. Mill had one hand into the last eight at half time, but could they hang on? In all honesty, they would have to step up a bit, most likely. They'd have to match the rallying call of their coach. One player who would want to continue playing the way he was Ryan Lawrie, the goalkeeper cheekily admitting that so far "this [was] the best game of [his] life!"
The game started with another wave of Crosshouse pressure. A giant for his age, Graeme Condon won another header in the Mill box, but his header just shaved the top of the crossbar. Following the chance, Connor Cunnigham was picked out by his older brother, he kneed the ball down, and nutmegged he standing defender but it was way to close to Lawrie.
Tempers started to flare as frustration set in. Even though we were only five minutes into the second half, the aggression and heart came out in the heat of the moment of a Scottish Cup tie: tackles flew in and two Mill players found themselves yellow carded.
On the counter attack, Mill benefited of a mix up and they duly made it 2-0. A long ball into the box was headed sky high, even though Wilson came to collect. The ball ended up in the goal mouth, with the keeper on the ground. Wilson made a super initial safe to dent Hayes, but Quinn blasted the rebound home.
Two slack goals had cost Crosshouse, and a team of their class will be bitterly disappointed. They had, so far, won every game they had played this season.
However, all was not lost here -there was still half an hour left. A tactical change saw Darren Spence on at centre half and Stuart Shek being pushed into the middle of the park. And they benefited from what I have to say, could be the worst refereeing decision I have ever seen.
The ref had taken stick from both sides, and I would never describe anyone as a bad referee - its a thankless task. He was doing a good job on the whole, something only the neutral could see.The referee seemed a genuinely nice fellow as well, chatting to me away at half time. Sadly, I cannot see why he awarded Crosshouse a spot kick. A cross from Tasker was going towards McSorely, and Lawrie came and punched the ball to safety, only for the referee to blow his whistle and point towards the spot. Even the Crosshouse players seemed bemused and befuddled as to how they were just presented a way back into the game. I'm not sure if the referee thought perhaps a defender punched the ball, but he seemed to be indicating that the goalie pushed McSorely, and he did none of the sort.
McSorely stepped up, and saw Lawrie save the spot kick. However, he tapped in the rebound for 2-1. The game stopped again, as spectators, coaches and players alike questioned the referee's decision.
Crosshouse almost equalised in spectacular fashion within minutes of their first goal, Connor Brennan putting an over head kick that just went over the junction with the keeper beat.
From another Crosshouse attack, Mill went long and made it 3-1. Game, set, match. Substitute Paul Scullion used his pace to get in behind and he lobbed the ball over the goalkeeper with twenty minutes to go. A clinical finish, and a very fine one at that.
There was a moment of real worry two minutes later. Condon charged out of defence and seemed to stumble over of his own downfall. He hit the ground head first right on the Mill touch line, and it looked serious. The Mill coaches immediately had play halted, and there was a delay as the Crosshouse first aider came over. However, the rock solid centre half was up on his feet just moments later, thankfully.
Next to have a go was Alistair Fordyce: his moving strike caused Wilson problems, but he managed to divert the ball wide for a corner.
Crosshouse's captain for the day Alex Bell was the next person to has an attempt on goal; however he sent his header from a corner a yard over.
Crosshouse then had a more viable penalty claim with Kyle Gilroy going to the turf. However, it wasn't what I'd call a stonewaller, and after the first penalty they were awarded there was no chance they were getting that one!
From a free kick, Sam Garner tested Wilson's concentration - but he held the driven free kick well.
Crosshouse's frustration came thick and fast. Yellow cards and fouls came swiftly. Reece Cunningham then got a ball straight off the face and had to go off concussed. This sparked poor scenes. Yellow cards were dished out even after the final whistle: Mill players now run the risk of suspension for the next round whilst Crosshouse will have them to carry on next year. A fantastic game of football, which shouldn't be overshadowed by a feisty end.