East Kilbride 2-1 Buckie Thistle: Kilby win to seal play-off final spot

Sean Winter sent East Kilbride ahead with a fine finish
Sean Winter sent East Kilbride ahead with a fine finish

East Kilbride beat nine-man Buckie Thistle to set up a League Two play-off final against Cowdenbeath.

The first leg had finished 2-2 and early goals here from Sean Winter and Joao Victoria put Kilby in control.

David Proctor's bizarre looping own goal brought Buckie hope before the Highlanders had Drew Copeland dismissed for a second yellow card.

Buckie had another man red-carded when Chris Angus picked up his second yellow card for diving in the box.

The two-legged tie against Cowdenbeath will be played on Saturday 13 May in East Kilbride and Saturday 20 May at Central Park.

Winter provided East Kilbride with a dream start by lashing high into the net from 14 yards after good work by Victoria.

Some of the K-Park crowd thought it had hit the side-netting, but the former Stranraer winger had most definitely scored.

Portuguese striker Victoria had a goal of his own shortly after, collecting the ball from Adam Strachan on the edge of the box and bending in a wonderful strike that hit the woodwork on its way past Daniel Bell.

"Manage the game" was the instruction offered by East Kilbride manager Martin Lauchlan, but the message was not received as the hosts scored a wacky own goal.

Proctor put his boot on a routine long ball coming his way and the skewed connection looped over goalkeeper Matt McGinley.

The tide turned again, though, when Copeland was sent off, meaning EK could compose themselves and see out the second half without too many incidents.

Kevin Fraser missed a good chance for Buckie then Kieran Gibbons and Russell McLean were not far away from scoring for Kilby.

Angus's dismissal ensured the hosts would progress.

Match reaction

East Kilbride manager Martin Lauchlan: "I'm absolutely delighted, especially with the first-half performance.

"It was exactly how we planned it - getting the ball in behind their centre-backs.

"They couldn't handle the pace and, at times, Joao Victoria was unplayable. Sean Winter does that kind of thing every week; rifling the ball in.

"Buckie got a freak goal that just put it on edge a wee bit.

"I was delighted with how professional my players were. We knew the antics would come up - the manager's been spoken to again and they've had two red cards, so I think we see what happened in the first game.

"Cowdenbeath are the form team just now since Gary Locke and Billy Brown came in. We put them out the Scottish Cup, but this is a totally different Cowdenbeath."

Buckie Thistle manager Graeme Stewart: "Over the two games, there wasn't much between the two teams. We're disappointed but very proud of the guys.

"If Chris Angus dived then he deserved to go, but we'll watch it back. Going down to nine men was disappointing.

"We've got a taste of this now. The club's mentioned that we're maybe not geared up for this level, but trust me, next year we want a taste of this again."

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