St Mirren are through to the next round of the Scottish Cup after a 3-0 win over Broxburn Athletic – but the Saints made it look much harder than it needed to be against the sixth-tier side, needing two late goals to kill the tie off.
The Buddies welcomed the East of Scotland Premier Division side to the Simple Digital Arena as they looked to avoid becoming casualties of one of the biggest Scottish Cup shocks in history.
The minnows brought 1600 fans with them to Paisley for the biggest game in the club’s history and they were making noise from an hour before kick-off right through to the final whistle.
It took less than 60 seconds for the Premiership side to cut through the Broxburn defence – although the visiting support were more than happy to see Jon Obika’s strike sail over the crossbar.
Ready to go 💪 pic.twitter.com/ITmOuWDJlO
— St Mirren FC (@saintmirrenfc) January 18, 2020
Unsurprisingly, the Buddies had all of the early possession but the top-flight side never really rested Connor Wallace in the Broxburn goal in the opening spell as they looked for the opening goal.
The longer Jim Goodwin’s side failed to break the deadlock, the more comfortable Broxburn were looking and the East of Scotland minnows will have been delighted with how they coped as the first-half wore on.
Obika, again, had a chance to open the scoring after Junior Morais’ pass sent the striker through on goal but his scuffed shot trickled harmlessly towards goal.
It really should have been 1-0 just before the 25th minute as Morais’ lowball across the box was begging for someone to divert it goalbound but Obika couldn’t connect properly and inexplicably put his show wide.
St. Mirren were starting to get visibly frustrated at their inability to break down a side five tiers below them in the league system and started making a string of individual mistakes to allow Broxburn a spell on the front foot, although it wouldn’t amount to anything.
Both sides started the second period unchanged and it was, once again, St. Mirren who controlled the early stages, whipping a number of dangerous crosses into the area which were well dealth with by the Broxburn defence.
Buddies skipper Kyle Magennis was next to try his luck and his raking strike from distance forced Wallace to scramble across goal and mae a last-ditch save to stop his effort sneaking inside the post.
With just under ten minutes following the restart, St. Mirren finally took the lead though Obika as their dominance eventually paid off.
Calum Waters’ strike across goal was going off-target before taking a massive deflection off Obika and rolling into the back of the net and easing some of the tension surrounding the Simply Digital Arena.
Morais almost doubled the lead just minutes later when his dipping shot from the edge of the almost caught Wallace out but the keeper managed to tip it over.
The young team are in full voice. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/PFOIEaDxyt
— BroxburnAthleticFC (@BroxburnAthFC) January 18, 2020
St. Mirren were still pushing forward in search of a second goal to kill the game off completely and Morais and Obika both had chances go close as the clock ticked down to full-time.
There was almost a spectacular second goal for Goodwin’s side as Ryan Flynn’s volley looked destined for the back of the net but Wallace somehow kept it out and, with it, kept his side’s hopes of progress alive going into the final 20 minutes.
Wallace again came to his side’s rescue with another top save, this time to deny Jamie McGrath, diving fantastically to tip the Irishman’s shot around the far post.
The Broxburn keeper was the clear stand-out for his side as he stopped the Buddies racking up a far bigger scoreline and it wouldn’t be a shock to see some clubs further up the league system take a look at him.
With just a few minutes left on the clock, Danny Mullen killed the game off as he added St. Mirren’s second and secured their place in the next round draw before Obika struck again in injury-time to make it 3-0 and flatter Saints a little.