Ross County 7 v 0 Stenhousemuir
Played at Victoria Park, Dingwall on Saturday, 7th January 2012 at 15:00
The Scottish Cup
Ross County v Stenhousemuir at Victoria Park, Dingwall on 7.1.12
William Hill Scottish Cup Fourth Round Attendance – 1,421
Ross County 7[Vigers 5,74, Brittain 51 pen, Gardine 61, Craig 70, Byrne 86,87] Stenhousemuir 0
Many people talk about the romance or the magic of the cup but this is certainly not the expressions that will be spoken amongst the Stenhousemuir contingent after their total drubbing at the hands of Ross County.
The Warriors travelled to Dingwall without the potentially influential Eric Paton and Stevie Murray who were both absent through injury and by playing only one striker; Stewart Kean; they tried to compact the midfield to compensate.
This may have had an effect but they were effectively chasing the game after only 5 minutes play when the First Division League leaders took the lead. The pace of Richard Brittain down the right flank saw him beat both Sean Dickson and Kevin McKinlay before crossing into the danger area. Steven Craig fluffed his effort but the ball fell to Iain Vigers and he swept the ball into the net from close range.
For most of the half Stenhousemuir were fighting a rearguard action despite the Staggies seemingly playing within themselves and on the rare occasion that Stenhousemuir did get into the latter third of the pitch they were unable to breakdown a well organised defence and as a consequence the keeper Michael Fraser was not called into action.
Nevertheless the score at half time was only 1-0 And as such there was always hope that in the second half Stenhousemuir would get something out of the game despite the indications of the first period, as the cliché ‘a game of two halves’ would not have became a common phrase if it was not a truism.
That sliver of hope though was dashed in the 51st minute of the game when Ross McMillan fouled Craig in the box. Referee Crawford Allan deemed it to be a goal scoring opportunity and McMillan was dismissed. Brittain stepped up to fire the ball into the net to put County two up.
Whilst the Warriors tried to re-organise the Dingwall side upped their game and for a while it was only Ally Brown that kept the score down with fine saves to deny ex-Falkirk player Craig on a couple of occasions.
Eventually he was beaten once again though when Michael Gardyne curled an effort into the net. It looked as if the home side would be able to score at will as they made the most of their superior skill and fitness which allied to Stenhousemuir being a man down was always a recipe of disaster for the Warriors. Another passing move opened up the defence for the fourth goal with Craig eventually getting his goal with a simple finish. For this goal Stenhousemuir were not the only ones in disarray as the stand side assistant tried to make a substitution whilst play was taking place and was slow to react when this was pointed out. Luckily for him it was not a close decision or game by that stage and his error was not decisive.
Worse was to come for Stenhousemuir when Vigers scored his second goal of the game with a cracking free kick that could not have been placed better if he picked the ball up and placed it in the net. An indication of Stenhousemuir’s paucity in attack was that Andy Rodgers 30 yard shot in the 78th minute was the only attempt on goal by Stenhousemuir in the entire 90 minutes. With four minutes left Kurtis Byrne made it six when he was not picked up at a quick free kick and he was gifted his second goal seconds later when Kevin McKinlay was short with a pass back and the County substitute could not believe his luck as he stroked the ball into the net.
It was always going to be tough going at Dingwall against a team that is full of confidence as they sit at the top of the first division having lost only one game all season; in the league; but you hope for at the least respectability and on this occasion this was not the case.
The only good thing to come from the game and to be truthful it is clutching at straws is that the match was played on the scheduled date rather than a midweek one as that would have been more costly as the players would have had to be compensated for loss of earnings at their normal work and also would have meant less recovery time before their next league match.
Ross County – Fraser, Miller, Morrison, Boyd, Munro, Lawson, Gardyne [Quinn 66], Kettlewell [Byrne 66] Craig [Cooper 70], Brittain and Vigers Subs not used – Morrow and Malin.
Stenhousemuir – Brown, Lyle [b51], Dickson [Lawson 70], Corrigan, McMillan [so 51], Thomson, Ferguson, Campbell [Rodgers 60][b62], Kean [b54][Plenderleith 78], McHale and McKinlay. Subs not used – Quinn and McCluskey
Referee – Crawford Allan Assistants – Alastair Mather and Gavin Harris
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