Kinnoull 1 Oakley United 2, Alex Jack Cup, third round

OAKLEY UNITED will make a slice of club history this weekend when they contest its first cup semi-final as a senior side.

Stewart Kenny’s men will tackle Dunbar United – one division above them – at Blairwood Park on Saturday for a place in the Alex Jack Cup final, following Saturday’s victory at Kinnoull.

After an even first half at Tulloch Park, in which both teams exchanged opportunities, it was Oakley who drew first blood two minutes after the interval.

From a corner that wasn’t fully cleared by the hosts, a return ball into the penalty area was met by the head of Craig Martin, who made no mistake at the far post.

Kinnoull, who sit five places above Oakley in Conference A of the East of Scotland League’s First Division, responded on the hour mark when Ben Ragan’s cutback was met by Dale Smart, who netted the equaliser at the near post.

It was game-on but, with 10 minutes to go, Kenny’s side struck what proved to be the decisive goal.

After winning another corner kick, Kinnoull’s Gregor Donald diverted the delivery into his own net to put Oakley in front for a second time.

Despite late chances for the home side, the West Fifers held on and will go for a place in a maiden final as a senior outfit this Saturday against Dunbar, who booked their slot in the last four against Tranent last month.

Civil Service Strollers 1 Kelty Hearts 2, SFA South Challenge Cup, third round

A DRAMATIC late strike by Nathan Austin sent Kelty Hearts into round four of the SFA South Challenge Cup after a hard-fought tie at Civil Service Strollers.

Barry Ferguson’s side looked on the verge of being taken to a spot-kick decider by their Lowland League rivals when their leading marksman struck his 24th of the campaign with two minutes of extra-time to go.

Following their 1-0 success at Berwick Rangers on league duty last time out, 26-year-old midfielder Arnault Bembo – who joined the club last week from Cumbernauld Colts – was handed his debut, while Dylan Easton was given a seat on the bench on his return from injury.

Kelty had recorded a 5-0 success over the Strollers on home turf in August and had an early chance to go ahead when Austin was put through on goal by Linton, only to be denied by a good block from goalkeeper Josh Donaldson.

Ross Philp also came close in the early stages, with a shot across goal that finished narrowly the wrong side of the post, but the visitors’ persistence was rewarded in the 15th minute.

Good play on the left by Chris Dodd saw him check on to his right foot and hang up a cross for Austin, who rose above two home defenders to head home into the far corner of the net.

Ryan Shanley, with a speculative shot, struck the bar for Civil Service almost immediately at the start of the second period, and just on the hour mark, they were level.

A penalty conceded by Bembo was dispatched by Alieu Faye which, with Austin having a goal ruled out for offside, took the contest into an additional 30 minutes.

Both teams had chances but, in the dying moments, Austin burst through the home defence and fired a shot across Donaldson to win the match for Kelty.

Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts 1 Bo’ness United 2, Football Nation Qualifying Cup, second round

GRANT BROUGH felt his Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts deserved more after they ran East of Scotland League Premier Division table-toppers Bo’ness United close on Saturday.

The Ballast Bank side, who are second top of First Division Conference B, gave a good account of themselves against the former junior big guns in the Football Nation Qualifying Cup (pictured).

In front of an excellent crowd of 190 – who also helped raise £120 for Breast Cancer Awareness – the three-time former Junior Cup winners, unbeaten so far on league duty, were given a tough test by the hosts.

Bo’ness did strike first, through Tom Grant’s free-kick, and doubled their advantage before the break thanks to Mark Mooney.

Callum Strang halved the arrears with a deserved goal for the Swifts in the 66th minute but, despite their best efforts, they couldn’t find an equaliser.

Despite their defeat, Brough was proud of his men and commented: “The boys were really unlucky not to come away with anything.

“Bo’ness are a top Premier League club and, with their stature, it was always going to be difficult.

“It took a wee bit of time to get into the game – in the first 15-20 minutes, we found it difficult to get to grips with it.

“They scored two goals at crucial times, but then we were pressing. In the first half, even though they scored two goals, we probably had the majority of the chances and two or three of them, on another day, we probably tuck away.

“The second half comes and we were the better team.”

Brough added: “Not many people probably gave us a chance going into the game, but all the boys are coming away from it disappointed, which is the pleasing thing.

“Had we got the equaliser, even the Bo’ness committee were saying that they could only see one winner, with the way the game had panned out. It was a compliment to ourselves that, in the last few minutes, they were trying to time waste.

“But there’s no point in playing so well against Bo’ness if we don’t take it into our next match.

“That’s the standard we need to keep up.”

Friday’s fixture: Scottish Lowland Football League - East Stirlingshire v Kelty Hearts (7.45pm). Saturday’s fixtures (kick-offs 2.30pm): Alex Jack Cup, semi-final - Oakley United v Dunbar United. East of Scotland Football League, Premier Division - Crossgates Primrose v Whitehill Welfare. First Division, Conference B - Tweedmouth Rangers v Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts. South Premier League - Rosyth v Linlithgow Rose CFC.