Cumbernauld United increased their lead at the top of the Championship with a solid performance and 4-1 win over a good Shotts side.
Looking to take advantage of rivals Darvel being involved in the Scottish Junior Cup, it took Andy Frame’s side just five minutes to go ahead at a very wet Guy’s Meadow.
Chris Hall was denied by Shotts keeper Johnny Murdoch only for the ball to land nicely for Jack Harrison whose pinpoint cross was headed into the empty net by Paddy McCabe.
Darren Hill made two excellent saves from Danny Burns and Paul McGeough, but the visitors were gradually getting a foothold in the game and were rewarded after 25 minutes when, from a corner, Chris Meikle rose unchallenged to head home from eight yards.
From the restart United broke up field and appeals for a penalty were waved away after McCabe went tumbling in the box, a let off for Shotts.
However United went in front again when Murdoch failed to hold a McCabe effort and Paul Callander was on hand to tap into the empty net.
United’s Mark Burbidge then saw an effort cleared off the line by Chris Smith, the last action of a tight and very competitive half.
After the break Shotts again enjoyed plenty of the ball, but United looked more dangerous and Burbridge was again foiled when, after a surging run, his shot went agonisingly wide of the far post.
Both sides made changes, ex-United man Aiden Malone and Jordan Craig on for Shotts and trialist Jordan Mutch and John McStay introduced for the home side.
But it was United who were getting on top. McStay’s first contribution was a fierce 25 yards shot which just missed the target, but the big forward was proving a handful and in United’s next attack he was upended in the box. Offender Scott Faulds saw red and Ross McCabe made no mistake from the spot, crashing his shot high into the net.
United weren’t finished though; deep into time added on top scorer Scott Thomson outpaced the Shotts defence to fire an unstoppable shot into the corner of the net to compete the scoring.