Played at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock on Tuesday, 28th August 2012 at 19:45
Scottish Communities League Cup
Kilmarnock v Stenhousemuir at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock on 28.8.12
Scottish Communities League Cup Second Round Att 2538
Kilmarnock 1 [Nelson 90] Stenhousemuir 2 [Ferguson 20 pen, Gemmell 43]
Stenhousemuiur travelled down to Rugby Park for the first time since 1990 for this Scottish Communities Cup match. Killie were the holders of the trophy and were hoping to make a successful defence whilst of course Martyn Corrigan had other ideas.
Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels had stated in the build up to the game that he would field his strongest side for the tie and he was true to his word as the only change from the team that had beaten Dundee United was enforced through injury. The Warrior’s in fact made more changes with Kevin McKinlay and Brown Ferguson both starting for the first time in weeks with Andy Rodgers and Craig Anderson dropping to the bench.
After a scrappy start to the game with both teams giving away possession cheaply it was Stenhousemuir who started to play with more composure and were passing the ball better than their SPL opponents. Kilmarnock although trying to spread the play were not coping well with the Warrior’s endeavours and struggled to make any worthwhile chances.
The opening goal came in the 20th minute from the penalty spot and it was actually for the Warriors. Referee William Collum awarding the spot kick after John Gemmell’s jersey was pulled by Ryan O’Leary. After O’Leary was cautioned for his protests Brown Ferguson stepped up and sent Kyle Letheren the wrong to give the Warrior’s a shock lead.
Stenhousemuir almost extended the lead in the 25th minute when a Bryan Hodge strike was deflected just wide and from the resulting corner John Gemmell headed over from close range though his reactions indicated that he should have done better.
The home side were not imposing themselves on the game but they should have drew level in 38 minutes when Danny Racchi opened up the Warrior’s defence with a run down the right and then picked out Jamie Winchester only six yards out and the goal wide open the youngster managed to fire over from only six yards out.
It was a bad miss and the error was compounded in the 43rd minute when the Warrior’s extended their lead. Brown Ferguson hit a pinpoint corner into the unmarked John Gemmell who headed into the net to complete an excellent first half for the visitors who not only led by two goals but were deserving of their lead as well.
In recent games the weak spot for Stenhousemuir has been just after the restart and indeed Killie’s Rory McKenzie called Callum Reidford into action almost immediately but the keeper saved McKenzie’s drilled effort. Racchi then had an effort saved as Killie tried to apply pressure but in the main it was not too convincing and for a spell Stenhousemuir were once again able to set the tempo of the game and they were unlucky not to get a third after a slick passing move carved the home defence up but Stewart Kean’s strike was blocked when the move deserved better.
A James Dayton power driver shook the woodwork in the 75th minute then the same player shot over minutes later. Kilmarnock were at last starting to apply pressure and Reidford was tested once again to beat out a William Gros effort that moved considerably.
It was not all one way traffic though and the Warrior’s came very close to extending their lead through a Darren Smith curled shot that went agonisingly just the wrong side of the post. Eventually however Kilmarnock scored in the 90th minute when Michael Nelson headed home a Dayton free kick.
This gave Kilmarnock heart and Reidford had to deny Nelson his second before a goalmouth scramble took place that could have had any outcome. Reidford picked up a knock whilst gathering in a ruck and after putting the ball out for treatment, Killie though knowing that their time as holders was running out with the game deep in stoppage time sporting gave the ball back. It was a fine sentiment in the circumstances and was much appreciated.
Eventually after 6 minutes added time the referee blew his whistle to end the game with the Warrior’s victorious and although there were joyous scenes at the end there was also a feeling quiet satisfaction of a job well done, that was achieved by playing football in the correct manner throughout.
Kilmarnock - Letheren, Tesselaar [O’Hara 13][b74], Pascali, Fowler, O’Leary [b20], Nelson, Racchi, Johnson [Dayton h/t], Winchester , Perez [Gros 59] and McKenzie. Subs not used – Boulding and Jaakkloa
Stenhousemuir – Reidford, Ross [b76], McKinlay , Buist[b52], McMillan,Hodge [b29], Ferguson [Smith 82], Thomson [b69][C.Anderson 73], Gemmell, Kean [b61] and Dickson [Rodgers 89]. Subs not used – Brash and Shaw
Referee – William Collum Assistants – Martin Cryans and Alan Mulvanny