Report: Albion Rovers 3-4 (AET) St Mirren


By James Hunter at The Exsel Group Stadium
St Mirren booked their place in the fourth round of the IRN-BRU Cup after a hard fought extra-time win over Albion Rovers. Saints found themselves 2-0 down early on but showed good resilience to score three goals in eight minutes to take the lead. However, Albion equalised moments later to level the scores at 3-3 going into the half-time break. A drab second half followed before Lawrence Shankland headed home to seal a 4-3 win for the Buddies. Saints were well worthy of the win as they controlled the game for the most part and will be pleased to have their name in the hat for the fourth round.
St Mirren started the game fairly well, winning a corner early on but found themselves one behind with just eight minutes on the clock when Ross Dunlop scored. A corner kick that was put into the Saints box was punched by Jamie Langfield, though the goalkeeper didn’t get enough contact on it and it fell to Dunlop who controlled the ball before belting it into the St Mirren net. It was a disappointing start that was only going to get worse when the other Dunlop, captain Michael, added his name to the scoresheet. Another corner was Saints undoing as the ball was swung deep into the box where Dunlop rose above the Saints defenders to bullet Albion into a 2-0 lead.
It was surreal stuff for St Mirren, to be two down with only 15 minutes on the clock and the pitch wasn’t helping as any time the ball was sprayed across the pitch it was bobbling. That was no excuse for the Saints and they know they were staring down the barrel of a cup upset in a competition that they made it to the semi-final stage of last season. Langfield had to be on alert when Ryan Wallace tried to catch the experienced goalkeeper out at his near post from a free kick but it was easily gathered.
Lewis Morgan gave St Mirren a lifeline when he smashed home on the half hour mark. It was a great effort from the youngster who has really made a mark on the first team this season, as he cut in from the right side and thumped the ball beyond Stewart from the edge of the box.
Saints started to get a grip on the game at this point as they controlled the play and were level a mere 5 minutes later through a stunning strike from Stephen Mallan. The 20 year-old, who scored 14 goals last season, went close two minutes before opening his account for the season with a long range shot that was pushed wide by Stewart. When Mallan did get his goal it could only be described as an absolute screamer. He picked the ball up in the centre of the park and leathered it, low and hard, into the left hand corner of the net leaving Stewart with no chance.
Saints were in full flow and the comeback was complete just 3 minutes later when John Sutton bulleted a header to send the travelling supporters into raptures. The striker leaped above his marker to power home Tom Walsh’s cross and put St Mirren ahead in dramatic fashion.
However, the ecstasy of coming from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 was short-lived when Ross Dunlop scored his second for Albion to level the scores just a minute later. It was a frustrating moment after having fought hard to complete the comeback. Dunlop found himself with time and space in the box and turned before firing the ball beyond Langfield to keep the drama going heading into half-time.
Half-Time: Albion Rovers 3-3 St Mirren
The second half had a lot to live up to after a blistering first half but it was a drab encounter after the break with neither side able to find the goal that would avoid going another 30 minutes for extra time. The half began with a half-time substitution for St Mirren, with youth prospect Andrew McDonald making his first team debut in place of Jordan Stewart.
Ryan Wallace, who was proving to be one of Albion’s trickier players, went close twice. Firstly with a free kick which went over the bar before an effort from outside the box which Langfield did well to tip the ball away from goal.
Saints were pushing for a winner and both Sutton and Morgan went close – the former with a header that went just wide and the latter having a shot from inside the box blocked by the Albion defence.
There was a huge cheer on the 76th minute with the emergence of Rocco Quinn who was making his comeback after a long injury lay-off had kept him out. Quinn showed his qualities when coming on with great composure on the ball and calming everything down.
There was no goal to be found before the 90th minute despite both teams going close in the closing moments and the game went into extra time.
End of 90 minutes: Albion Rovers 3-3 St Mirren
Saints were dealt a huge let off when Albion player/manager Darren Young blasted over the bar in the 96th minute. The manager, playing in midfield, was teed up in acres of space in the box but smashed the ball over the bar to the relief of the Saints defence. It was a huge chance for Albion who would rue missing that opportunity a few minutes later when Lawrence Shankland scored what turned out to be the game’s winning goal. The striker showed his attacking instincts as he was on hand to head into the net after strike partner Sutton’s deflected shot fell into his path.
Shankland’s day wasn’t done though as he picked up a booking just before the end of the first half of extra-time after a tangle with Albion’s Mark Ferry who received a second yellow and was sent off.
Both sides had half chances in the second half of extra-time – Saints to wrap up the win, Albion to take the game to penalties – but neither side could convert and it’s St Mirren whose name will be in the hat for the fourth round draw on Tuesday.
After Extra-Time: Albion Rovers 3-4 St Mirren
Albion Rovers: Stewart, Reid, Turnbull, M. Dunlop, R. Dunlop, Ferry, Fisher, Willis, Wallace (Gilmour 79), Stewart, McBride (Young 53).
Subs Not Used: Lightbody, Johnston, O’Kane, McManus, Potts (GK).
St Mirren: Langfield, Irvine, MacKenzie, Webster, Stewart (McDonald 46), Morgan, Hutton (Quinn 76), Mallan, Walsh, Sutton, Clarkson (Shankland 53).
Subs Not Used: Naismith, Baird, O’Keefe, Gallacher (GK).
Referee: Mike Roncone.
Assistant Referee: Alan Mulvanny.
Assistant Referee: Ivan Stankovic.
Attendance: 711.
Match report pictures by Allan Picken – © Allan Picken Photography.
Match Gallery Pictures © John Millar.

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