First Team

Report: Kelly and McNeil ease Braves through to the last 8

7th March 2023

Two goals inside the opening 20 mins allowed Braves safe passage into the quarter-finals of the South Challenge Cup with victory over Threave Rovers.



Braves started at a furious pace and top scorer Marc Kelly netted almost immediately, with the opener coming after just 30 seconds. This early dominance from the visitors continued and the second duly arrived on 18 mins through the in-form Ross McNeil. His ninth in his last seven games. 

Some might have presumed after that breezy start Braves would be in for an easy afternoon and rack up a large scoreline against their fourth tier West of Scotland opponents. The hosts however were made of sterner stuff.

Whilst hardly troubling Bernie White in the Braves goal, Threave showed their fighting qualities and restricted Braves to very few openings until around the 50th minute.

The home side were proving a tough nut to crack but Braves finally cut through the organised defence through the rampaging Walker down the left, his cutback was pinpoint, but Kelly could only flick against the outside of the post. 

This pattern of few chances continued until the game burst back into life with 20 minutes to go. 

Marc Kelly did superbly well to recover the ball in the centre circle, before driving past the home defence. He found himself one on one with the keeper but was hauled down in the box by the desperate defender.

Penalty and a red card. A Marc Kelly penalty. The game was surely about to be killed off. Graham Wright in the Threave goal had other ideas and kept the hosts in the game with a save with his trailing leg from Kelly's penalty down the middle. 

Wright's heroics continued for the remainder of the game as Braves pressed for a third. Butterworth hit the bar then found an effort brilliantly saved, as did McNeil.

A spirited performance from Threave but ultimately it did not matter as Braves were never in any real danger. A place in the last eight of the competition secured and we march on. 


Man of the Match: Ross Lindsay


The captain's first full 90 mins since returning from a long term injury and he was a key influence. Positioned just in front of the Braves' back four he showed his solidity, control and composure to great effect in a commanding performance in the heart of the midfield. Lindsay looks made for that role and his defensive qualities balance well with the attacking instincts of fellow midfielders Guthrie and Main. 


Next up 


Next time out we host in-form Berwick Rangers in the Lowland League in what is an important encounter for Braves in the context of the league table, with the Borders side positioned just above us in the division. 

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