Bathgate started with a couple of changes following defeat last time out and a tweak to formation to try and prevent. Bathgate received a boost with Mark Neil making his return from injury after weeks out.
The match started with both teams feeling their way into the game and it was much of a muchness in the opening exchanges. Cramond were the team on the ascendancy as the Bathgate players were still settling into the new formation.
Cramond took the lead when a dangerous ball in-between defence and goalkeeper left the Cramond attacker with an easy chance to knock the ball in at the back post. It became two when a free-kick into the box saw the defence challenge well for the first ball but the second ball was not as well contested and the Cramond attacker had the goal at his mercy to finish off the move.
From this point on Bathgate managed to regroup and find a better shape to start posing more problems going forward but the score remained 2-0 at half-time and a lot of work left to be done.
Bathgate’s fight saw them claw their way back though and they came close when Kenny Park found space on the edge of the box to hammer in a shot which the keeper was able to block. Bathgate did manage to grab a lifeline at just the right time to give them more belief that they could salvage the tie. A free-kick from 25 yards out was superbly converted into the top corner of the goalkeepers’ far post by Stephen Coulter.
It could have got so much better for Bathgate when Park again came close. This time a long range shot from outside the box came crashing back off the bar with the keeper beaten. The equalising goal did come soon after when Glen McMahon’s long free-kick was headed across goal by Scott Nisbet for Coulter to head home from six yards.
It wasn’t all one way traffic though and Cramond still posed a threat going forward and from set-pieces, which Bathgate knew all too well about from the last game. Indeed, Cramond had an excellent chance to regain the lead when a ball was played through for the striker to run in on goal. Gordon Clark was quickly out to give the striker something to think about and his rushed shot was blocked by Clark and swept to safety by the defence.
Just when it looked like extra-time was looming Bathgate broke down the right and Blair Welsh made his way to the goal line and cut in to fizz a low cross into the box. The defender’s unorthodox attempt to block this saw him crouch down and block the ball with his arm, resulting in a penalty. Coulter stepped up to take the penalty and complete his hat-trick and likely win the tie. He made no mistake with a low drive to the keeper’s right and complete a fine win for Bathgate.
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