Carluke Rovers got a break today from the rigors of league football to host Sunnybank FC from Aberdeen in the Scottish Junior Cup. The prize for both teams was a home tie against the mighty Auchinleck Talbot in the next round.
The Saturday, Wednesday matches have had a telling effect on the Carluke players to the extent that there were 7 players out injured leaving the squad threadbare. That being said Carluke where still able to field a strong 11 against Sunnybank from the McBookie Northern 1st Division.
The game started sedately enough as both teams sized each other up as they had no prior knowledge other than a previous Scottish Cup meeting of the teams in the 1960s. As the first half wore on though Carluke started to take command in the middle of the park. It was no surprise when Rovers created their first opportunity in the 19th minute. Craig Stark, who brings a calmness to the backline made a welcome return from injury, got the ball on the left and carried it forward unchallenged. He hit a low cross into the box that was picked up by new signing Dylan Dailly but his resultant shot went just wide.
He was not to be denied for long though and in the 24th minute Carluke made the breakthrough. The ball was knocked wide by centre half Dougie Frame to James Frame who cut inside on the left and laid the ball perfectly back into the path of Dailly who calmly side footed the ball into the net to make the score 1-0 to Carluke.
This goal settled Carluke and they started to play with more freedom and continued to control the midfield. It came as no surprise then when in the 32nd minute they got their second. Again it was Dougie Frame who fired a long ball wide to Jonny Wilson, another welcome return from injury, who took on his man and put in a great cross to the back post where 6’5” striker Dailly rose unchallenged to nod the ball into the top corner. 2-0.
Although 2-0 down Sunnybank kept plugging away and were a bit unfortunate in the 40th minute when a mix up at the back by the Carluke defence let them in and when the ball reached their No 11 he put it into the side net albeit from a tight angle. That was to be the last action of the first half and Carluke Rovers went in comfortably 2-0 up.
The second half got underway and Carluke were on it from the outset. Greg Kane got the ball in the 46th minute and beat a couple of men before sliding the ball through the legs of a defender to Dylan Dailly who then hit a fierce shot which just missed the outside of the Sunnybank post.
Sunnybank were still in this game though and knew if they could get one back they would have a chance. They had a 30 yard effort from their No 2 which whistled just over the bar. The same player had another effort, slightly closer which just went past the post in the 64th minute.
However in the next minute the tie would be more or less ended when Carluke were awarded a penalty. Good work by Dailly just inside the box to hold the ball up. He then threaded a nice short pass to the onrushing Mark O’Reilly who neatly touched the ball past a defender before being pulled down by the same player in the box for the penalty. There were no arguments from Sunnybank with this decision.
Although not the regular penalty taker Dylan Dailly was given the opportunity to secure his hattrick. His initial effort was well saved by the Keeper but unfortunately for Sunnybank the ball only found it’s way back to the feet of Dailly ho tapped the ball into an empty net to make it 3-0.
With 20 minutes to go and 3-0 up Carluke were content to see the game out. However Sunnybank were determined to get a consolation goal and had their best spell of the match near the end without really threatening Adam Brown in the Carluke goal. They did get the goal their efforts deserved when Carluke failed to clear a ball in their box and then unfortunately a defender kicked a Sunnybank attacker in the melee giving the Referee no alternative but to point to the spot for a penalty. Scott Burnett calmly strolled up and slotted the ball past Brown in the Carluke goal to make the score 3-1.
This was to be the end of the scoring despite a couple of half chances at either end and Carluke Rovers ran out comfortable winners. Next month it will be a much sterner test against the mighty Auchinleck Talbot at Carluke. In the meantime the players can be proud of their efforts yesterday with injuries to key players and others taking to the field whilst not completely fit in an effort to help the team.Match Report to follow
Photography by Kevin Ramage