Broxburn 3 East Stirlingshire 2: Local lad Miller’s hat-trick causes Shire Cup exit

Pic by Alan Murray; 03/08/2019; East Stirlingshire FC v Gretna 08; Falkirk; Falkirk Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland; ''Lowland League
Pic by Alan Murray; 03/08/2019; East Stirlingshire FC v Gretna 08; Falkirk; Falkirk Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland; ''Lowland League

Zander Miller’s last gasp winner condemned East Stirlingshire to a first round Scottish Cup exit in a closely contested 3-2 defeat at Albyn Park on Saturday.

Shire, having struggled to find their best form this season, were hoping to secure safe passage to the second round of the Scottish Cup against competition newbies, Broxburn Athletic.

Zander Miller, from Falkirk, took the match-ball home. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Zander Miller, from Falkirk, took the match-ball home. Picture: Michael Gillen.

However, Shire were placed in a perilous position early on when Broxburn took an early lead. Jordan Tapping and Andy Grant were caught flat footed and could do little to prevent Miller from latching onto a through ball before firing across Jamie Barclay into the back of the net.

Miller’s opener did little to wake Derek Ure’s side up, with more careless defending producing a penalty for the Brox. Miller took the opportunity with aplomb, staring down Barclay before calmly slotting the penalty away to the delight of the increasingly hopeful home support.

Broxburn had never made ii; t into the first round of the Scottish Cup in their history, but after just 15 minutes they had scored their first two goals in the competition and had laid the foundations for a first round upset.

A clever freekick from Mark Millar seemingly presented a golden opportunity for Nicky Low to pull one back for Shire, but the former Queen of the South man snatched at his shot enabling the hosts to clear.

Derek Ure saw his team crash out. Picture: Alan Murray

Derek Ure saw his team crash out. Picture: Alan Murray

Shire’s late first half pressure eventually told. Low, a rare bright spark in an otherwise unremarkable Shire performance, showed all his quality to curl the ball home from a freekick. Low’s effort rejuvenated the disheartened visitors and gave them a vital platform on which to build upon after the interval.

Ure sent on Sean Brown at the start of the second half to offer more support to the isolated Matty Flynn. The decision very nearly paid off with Flynn seeing an effort cleared off the line after being played through by Bobby Barr.

Andy Rodgers, having seen enough, opted to sub himself on. The Shire icon came to his side’s rescue by tapping in an equaliser from Dishington’s low cross before joyfully cupping his hands to his ears in response to the home support.

The Brox would have the last laugh, though, with Miller completing his hattrick after lobbing the onrushing Barclay, sparking a minor pitch invasion as the home fans were sent into pandemonium.

Broxburn’s history making performance has been rewarded with a second-round visit to Cowdenbeath. Meanwhile, Shire will look pick themselves up with a visit to Caledonian Braves this weekend.