Fort bow out on a Friday night in Falkirk

David Nyembwe tackles Shire’s Jamie Hamilton. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos.

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Friday marked the start of this year’s Scottish Cup competition with Fort William facing a tough task away to Lowland league team East Stirlingshire in the first round.

It was the home team which started the brightest going close twice in the opening 13 minutes.

In the 17th minute, the ball broke to Owusu-Barnieh for Fort William who could only send his shot over the bar. Turner had the best chance so far to make it 1-0 to the home side but he spoiled his attempt and the ball ran wide.

In the moments before half time, the Fort keeper was busy again making a good save from a volley on the edge of the box then quickly getting down to a shot at the near post keeping the scores level.

Unfortunately though it didn’t stay that way going into the break as in the fourth added minute of injury time Jamie Hamilton got on the scoresheet for East Stirlingshire to make it 1-0 at half time.

Into the second period and looking to build on their lead the home team were rewarded on the 53rd minute when Kay put them 2-0 ahead.

A few moments later Fort William thought they had scored but Robbie Foster’s goal was cancelled out as Marios Avraam was judged to be marginally offside. Two minutes later Avraam was brought down in the box, but the referee waved away the penalty appeals.

From then on, the home team took over and put the game to bed in the 74th minute when Kevin Turner made up for his miss in the first half to net the third and final goal of the game.

Fort went close again near the end when Connor Moore’s strike was just over the bar and Kulbacki pulled off a great save in the final moment to keep it at 3-0.

This marks the end of the cup run but Fort William can take much away from this game knowing it could have been different had a few decisions gone their way and chances had been taken.

Speaking after the game, Fort William manager Ashley Holyer said: ‘I felt we started the game well and became more expansive as the first half developed against a decent East Stirlingshire side.

‘Following the last couple of results, it was important to get off to a positive start and I felt we did that. However, it was a blow to concede in added time at the end of the first half but the second goal early in the second half was just as big a blow.

‘We made a couple of changes to be more direct after the second goal but unfortunately we got caught and 3-0 was how it ended.

‘I was super proud of all the players on Friday evening. They responded to two heavy defeats in the right manner and on another day would have found themselves in the second round draw.

‘Take nothing away from East Stirlingshire, they are a decent team with a never say die attitude and we thank them for their hospitality along with wishing them all the best in the second round.’

What will also encourage the manager was the impact of Blessings Tshibikubula off the bench with his good play almost creating a few goal scoring opportunities. Next up for Fort William is a league tie against Huntly this Saturday, September 25.

Team: Kulbacki, goalkeeper; Nyembwe; Kane, Moore 54 minutes; White; Demar; Owusu-Barnieh; McConnell; Brew; Avraam, Tshibikubula 69 minutes; Foster,  Macdonald 88 minutes, and Taylor, captain.