Cumbernauld United edged out of Scottish Cup by Hurlford

Manager Andy Frame was disappointed to see his players' efforts against Hurlford go unrewarded
Manager Andy Frame was disappointed to see his players' efforts against Hurlford go unrewarded

Cumbernauld United’s Scottish Cup hopes were ended in a hard fought second round encounter affair to Ayrshire cracks Hurlford United.

A Liam Caddis strike mid way through the first half was all that separated the sides at Guy’s Meadow and United can consider themselves unfortunate not to take the tie to a replay.

Due to holidays and injury manager Andy Frame had only eleven fit players although there was a welcome return for club captain Tony Stevenson his first start in six weeks.

In front of a decent crowd Hurlford were quickly on the offensive with new signing Mark Taylor having the first shot on target easily dealt with by Graeme Murphy in the United goal.

There was a let off for United in 15 minutes when a cross from Paul Mackenzie was met by a powerful header by Calum Watt which crashed off the upright.

It was all Hurlford who then claimed for a penalty as Taylor went down in the box, referee Chris Gentles having none of it and Taylor lucky to go unpunished for simulation.

United had rarely been seen on attack but there was a warning for the visitors when Paddy McCabe got the better of full-back Adam Hodge and his cross to the back post deceived the in rushing John McStay.

However Hurlford went ahead after 25 minutes when Caddis collected a pass in the box and had time to control and fire home from 12 yards.

It was no more than the visitors deserved but United responded with a bit more urgency in their play and Hodge saw yellow for a late tackle on McCabe.

A free flowing move involving Stevenson, Mark Burbidge and McCabe resulted in a John Cunningham shot palmed away by Chris Murchie.

As half-time approached there was one last chance for McStay,McCabe was the provider again but the big striker shot wide.

After the break United continue where they left off only some fine defending by Chris Robertson kept out a goal bound McCabe effort.

This was a good spell for United and next Jamie Macdonald tried his luck from 25 yards but was off target.

Hurlford had been hemmed in for most of the second period but in a quick counter attack Sean Dickson played in Watt whose wicked cross was missed by the outstretched leg of Taylor.

Back came United and in the space of two minutes Cunningham passed up two golden opportunities, shooting wide from 10 yards and then delaying a shot to allow allow keeper Murchie time to react and knock the ball for a corner.

In the final stages United tried everything to breach the ‘Ford but the visitors stood firm and despite a good performance and giving their all in difficult circumstances, United were out.

This Saturday United return to league duty away to Dalry Thistle, kick-off 2pm.