Playing their first competitive match for six weeks, super Bellshill Athletic booked their place in the fourth round of the Scottish Junior Cup.
Saturday’s fine 3-0 home win over Ashfield at Rockburn Park, a game in which Bellshill could even afford a penalty miss, was comprehensive and booked a fourth round tie at home to East Premier League outfit Sauchie on Saturday, January 20.
“It was a strong team performance throughout,” said Athletic match secretary Eddie Lynas.
“Our players had been working hard in training and were desperate to get back in competitive action.
“Ashfield never caused us any bother.
“Our defence coped very well with anything they tried to throw at us.
“It’s been a good number of years since we reached the fourth round
“I’ve been at the club for a couple of seasons and previously we had been knocked out in the first or second round.
“My thoughts on playing Sauchie are that they are a big name in junior football and have been for a few years.
“Our management team will do homework on Sauchie before playing them in January and it is a game we are looking forward to.
“We will treat Sauchie with the respect they deserve but it is a winnable tie for us.”
Saturday’s victory over fellow McBookie.com Central Division 2 outfit Ashfield saw Bellshill go close to scoring early on when Nichol’s free-kick just missed the target.
But Bellshill took the lead in the 24th minute when a clever knock down from Brennan found Stewart, who made no mistake in firing home.
The home side were awarded a penalty on 33 minutes when Brennan was brought down, but Nichol put the resultant spot kick wide.
Ashfield started the second half strongly and wasted a good chance to equalise when blasting a free-kick well over.
Bellshill increased their lead on 63 minutes after Nichol found Stewart with a great through ball.
He raced through and put the home side 2-0 ahead.
There was drama in the 73rd minute when both teams were reduced to 10 men when Gilchrist and Moulangar were sent off.
Two minutes later Nichol put the tie to bed when he shot home from 10 yards to make it 3-0 and see Bellshill through to the last 32.
Saturday’s match ball was sponsored by Bryan Dingwall.