GREENOCK are into the second round of the Central League Cup after a penalty shoot-out win over Kilsyth Rangers.

This wasn’t exactly a classic encounter, but it’s the result that matters, and the Ravenscraig men have now retained their interest in two cup competitions, following their West of Scotland Cup victory against Yoker the previous week.

The first 10 minutes of this match gave a good indication of how the first half was going to proceed, with neither team having a shot or any meaningful possession.

In the next phase of the game it was Kilsyth who had the bulk of the possession as they won a series of corners, all of which were dealt with easily by the Greenock defence.

The rest of the half produced very little in the way of excitement, as the teams went in goal-less at the interval.

The early part of the second half saw Kilsyth now well in control of the game, and Greenock keeper Ryan McWilliams had to be alert on a number of occasions, dealing with some one-on-ones and cutting out cross balls as the visitors pushed more and more forward.

But Kilsyth’s pressure eventually paid off on 68 minutes, when Ryan Begley upended Mark Duffy in the box, and referee Craig King pointed to the spot.

Paul Doyle converted the penalty to put the visitors ahead. Greenock responded to going behind by upping the pace, and with the introduction of substitute Allan Docherty they began to create some chances.

With 10 minutes remaining, Docherty chipped the ball to the back post where Kenny Munro sent it back into the mix, but Ryan Craig’s effort went narrowly past.

Greenock had been hit with two injury blows in the first half, with Luke Murray and Tam McQuilkin having to come off, and with seven minutes left, sub Docherty became the third home player to be taken off injured.

They were now left to play the remainder of the game with 10 men, but not for the first time this season, this actually saw them improve further.

On 85 minutes, clever play by Tam Jamieson released Craig Brown, who squared to Munro who took a touch before slamming the ball into the net.

The last five minutes saw chances at both ends, but the 90 minutes ended level, which saw the match being decided on penalties.

Greenock converted their first four spot-kicks through Martin Orr, Brown, Jamie Cunning and Munro, whilst keeper McWilliams saved one of Kilsyth’s.

And after another fine performance in goal, it was fitting that McWilliams should be the man to clinch the match as he dived to his right to save Kilsyth’s fifth spot-kick and put Greenock into the next round, where they will travel to face Renfrew.

Manager Martin Campbell said: “It was a very scrappy game, played at 100 miles an hour. Kilsyth will probably feel they had chances to kill the match off, and it didn’t look good for us when we were 1-0 behind and with only 10 men on the park because of all the injuries.

“A lot of teams might have given up in that position, but I think our fitness levels and great team spirit both showed. Once again Ryan McWilliams kept us in the game with some excellent saves, and the boys showed great battling qualities to get the equaliser and then go on and win on penalties.” Greenock: McWilliams, Murray (Orr 25), Begley, McLaughlin, McGarrigle, McQuilkin (Jamieson 35), Cunning, T. Docherty, Brown, Craig (A. Docherty 70), Munro. Sub not used: Gillan.

Greenock Juniors are sponsored by SAVEHEAT, and the Lighthouse Bar. Saturday’s match was sponsored by Arthur Dempster.