Kirrie Thistle started 2018 with a bang as they saw off Fairmuir to secure a place in the Reilly Falconer Cup quarter-final. Logan Richardson scored a hat trick, with Archie McLean and Jake Kettles also scoring.
Injuries and suspensions meant that both sides were without their first-choice goalkeepers for this tie, which was being played at the fifth attempt.
There were only five minutes on the clock when Fairmuir took the lead. Mark Ross rose above Bradley Milne at a corner, and powered home a header from six yards.
The Kirrie players were trying to exploit the fact that Fairmuir had an outfield player in goal, but a plethora of efforts from distance all failed to trouble Jordan Adam.
The did breach the Fairmuir backline after 10 minutes, but a superb tackle from Lee Fordyce denied Archie McLean a shot at goal.
At the other end, Thomas Gibb looked to have doubled Fairmuir’s lead with a controlled effort, but Rory Grewar produced a stunning diving save to keep the ball out and the deficit at one. Logan Richardson looked to capitalise on a mix up in the Fairmuir defence, but could only shoot straight at Adam.
Fairmuir’s stand-in stopper was eventually beaten after 19 minutes when the referee pointed to the penalty spot. McLean coolly dispatched the spot kick to level the score.
There was nearly a second for Kirrie two minutes later when Jake Kettles looped a cross over Adam, but Sam Ellis couldn’t head the ball into the unguarded net.
Kirrie were growing in confidence and took the lead six minutes before the break when Richardson latched onto a through ball, and beat Adam with a composed finish.
Fairmuir nearly snatched an equaliser at the end of the half through Billy Donald, but his curling free kick came back off the post before being cleared.