Maud push Ayrshire giants Beith all the way in Scottish Junior Cup
Maud pushed former winners Beith all the way in an enthralling Scottish Junior Cup first round tie in Ayrshire on Saturday.
The 2019 winners needed a goal in the very last minute to edge through 3-2 and avoid a penalty decider against their unfancied opponents.
It was a heartbreaking way for his side to lose – and proud boss Michael Grant told the club’s Facebook page he had never experience such mixed emotions at a final whistle.
"Never been more proud of my players and at the same time devastated for them,” he said.
“30 seconds away from taking one of the favourites for the cup to penalties. Beith are a quality side who had the balk of possession territory and chances but not once did any of my players crack under the pressure.
"It shows how good a performance was when the home crowd gave my team a standing ovation when leaving the pitch.”
It took Beith just five minutes to open the scoring, Kenny McLean heading a Jay McKay cross past Maud keeper Joe Barbour.
But if the Ayrshire side thought that was the start of a routine afternoon, they were mistaken.
Beith keeper Dale Burgess had to be quick off his line to save from Bruno Debembe and the loose ball broke to Jordan Smith whose effort was defelcted for a corner.
But Beith's relief didn't last long. Aiden Collins's corner headed back cross goal by Craig Lowden and the unmarked Smith nodded home from close range.
Beith regained the lead when Nicky Docherty’s cross was steered past Barbour on the volley by McKay .
Beith pushed for a third, but Maud defended resolutely and then stunned their hosts with a second equaliser.
The chance seemed to have gone when Collins broke clear only for Lawrence McMahon to get back to block his shot.
But Collins reacted quickest to collect the loose ball and curl a magnificent strike over Burgess.
After the break Barbour performed heroics to save from Paul Frize and Dochetry before McLean saw a diving header hit a post.
But just as it seemed Maud would hold out for penalties, Conner McGlinchey left fly with a strike from outside the box which this time beat the valiant Gilmour.