Having won their first two section games in convincing style the Forth Valley SFA senior side was looking for a win against West Lothian to secure top spot in Group 3 of the SSFA National Cup qualifying round. Opponents, West Lothian SFA were hoping for a big win to save their hopes of qualification. The teams met yesterday (23rd November) at Ochilview and it was the home team who made their objective with a comfortable 4- 0 victory.
In a well contested first half Forth Valley were on top but it took a first class blocking save from keeper Fraser Currid to keep Ryan Robertson for the visitors out. In goal at the other end visiting keeper Brian Cairns, was making a succession of good saves as the home team won numerous corners and went close with shots from Sean Fagan, Jack Hodge and James Maxwell.
The pressure eventually told however when in the 43rd minute Laurie Devine netted with a powerful strike from 15 yards following another corner.
The home team kept the foot down as the second half started and after 65 minutes striker Gavin Campbell was on hand when Aidan McKeown’s header dropped to him off the crossbar and he netted at the second attempt from close in.
A goal from attacking mid fielder James Maxwell, who again was energetic and influential in the game, made it 3-0 when he broke into the box and placed his shot well out of the reach of keeper.
Wide man Andy Johnstone, who had his best performance, was upended in the box but on this occasion Aidan Kemp was not able to beat Cairns with his spot kick when the keeper again made a good blocking save.
The Forth Valley side was able to make all their permitted substitutions without losing control as they passed the ball well around the Ochilview surface. Minutes from time centre back Sean Fagan completed the scoring with a drive from the back post area following another corner.
West Lothian played hard and fair to the final whistle in a game in which referee John Kennedy was able to keep his notebook in his pocket as both teams played in a well – disciplined manner.
The result sees Forth Valley top the section with 9 points and they will now meet Aberdeenshire in the quarter final in a home tie. Lanarkshire SFA will go through from Group 3 as runners up and will face an away game against North of Scotland or Fife.