Craigrosyton 3-2 Coldstream

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Jake Birkett scored twice as ten-man Coldstream made a brave attempt at a comeback in this League Cup tie, but the home team held on.

Neil Oliver’s men were up against it as soon as Sean Simpson was shown a red card inside the first ten minutes.

But although the home team went in 2-0 up at half time, Coldstream threw everything at the men from Edinburgh after the break.

Craigroyston scored a third, but two Birkett strikes, both from John Crawford’s headed lay-offs, set up a grand finale.

Tom Hendrie’s men had been cruising by three goals following the early dismissal of Simpson, but a late resurgence from the Streamers almost completed a memorable comeback for the visitors.

Following last week’s league meeting at Home Park, both sides knew what to expect from each other and the opening exchanges were very evenly matched.

A break upfield after some intricate one-touch passing between Gary Wales and Lawrie Cannon saw Simpson take a heavy touch, with his next a lunge straight through Scott Ritchie. The referee brought out a red card.

As expected, Neil Oliver’s men felt hard done by as they prepared to defend for the majority of the cup tie.

They did fantastically well, with in-form Mark Walters showing exactly why he is considered to be the best goalkeeper in East of Scotland football.

The big stopper first saved from a curling Kyle Boggie free-kick, before tipping Michael Somerville’s attempt around his far post.

With pressure mounting, the home side eventually scored the opener, as a deflected shot found the corner, despite Walters getting his fingertips to the ball.

Further chances followed, although it was Coldstream who almost grabbed the equaliser as Richard Baxendale’s floated free-kick was headed just wide by skipper John Crawford.

With half-time looming, Craig Anderson ghosted in behind the Coldstream defence to pick his spot and double his side’s lead.

To their credit, the Berwickshire side gave it an almighty go in the second half and almost immediately scored, Baxendale again finding Crawford with a delightfully-weighted cross. The talisman made a good connection to lob his header over the keeper, only for it to bounce off the Craigroyston crossbar.

The Streamers could sense a goal, but the woodwork again came to the Edinburgh side’s rescue after Kieran Ainslie had towered above his marker. The rebound then fell to Crawford two yards out, but with a gaping net his prodded effort went over.

Making the most of their numerical advantage, Craigroyston played some nice football in the middle third and after Walters had pulled off a brilliant one-on-one save, he then magnificently turned another over his crossbar from Mark Hendrie.

A misunderstanding from a corner, however, put the game seemingly out of sight as Craig Dickson, who had been pulling the strings all afternoon, rose unmarked to nod home at the near post.

Callum Peoples and Birkett were introduced to relieve some tired legs and the impact the latter made was instant. A defender by trade, the teenager smashed home in 83 minutes after a neat lay-off from Crawford before adding a second two minutes later in similar fashion to fire through a crowd of yellow and blue shirts.

This gave Oliver’s men unbelievable belief. Crawford turned his man, but was dispossessed as he went to get his shot off. At the other end, substitute Paul Lynch sent Walters scrambling and numerous balls into the corner resulted in needless fouls from the inexperienced Streamers, which the home team used to run the clock down and ultimately see out the game.

Coldstream: Walters, Cannon, Baxendale (Birkett), Ainslie, Allan, Douglas, McCrudden (Peoples, Powling), Hebdon, Wales, S. Simpson, Crawford.