On a sunny day for football in Saltcoats the home side came away the victors in this second round of matches in the William Tracey Challenge Cup. League leaders Tass just can’t kick that winning habit but were pushed all the way by a Colts side who had Thistle pegged back for long spells of the match.
Neither goalkeeper was tested in the game’s opening exchanges, as both sides tried to get the ball down in midfield and play it around on a difficult surface. Unfortunately for Largs, keeper Jonathan Irwin’s first glove on the ball was to pick the ball out of his own net as Tass took the lead on 7 minutes. From a corner down the left Adam Walker’s delivery found Kieran Champion free in the box to nod home from close range.
The hosts went on to enjoy a spell of early pressure, with the swirling wind quite literally in their sails. Champion’s runs down the right were causing early problems for the visitors and Kieran Bramwell was seeing a lot of the ball in midfield as Tass sought to consolidate their advantage.
After weathering the initial pressure the Largs defence began to push out and gain a foothold in the game. Lewis Dalglish was making some dangerous runs and a nice passing exchange with Glen McTaggart almost found the visitors’ danger man through on goal.
And from a neat passage of play Largs were back in the game with an equalising goal on 25 minutes. Moving the ball around the Tass right flank Dylan Smith laid the ball on a plate for Adam Brown rushing into the box. He still had a lot to do but finished with a composed chip into the net giving home keeper Scott Struthers no chance. Shortly later Brown was through on goal again, but this time just couldn’t get the shot away.
Largs continued to look dangerous, especially through the middle with McTaggart’s tricky footwork and running. After some tidy possession football Jamie Coupar’s 1-2 with Kieran MacNeil put the midfielder through on goal but his shot was well handled by Struthers to keep the sides level at half time.