ARDENCAPLE Amateurs are looking forward to only their second home match of the new year this weekend following two excellent victories on the road – the most recent a fine 3-2 win away to one of last season’s Scottish Amateur Cup semi-finalists.

Ross Jeffrey hit a double in a 4-1 victory over Craigneuk Amateurs in Wishaw before joining Brian Cameron and Connor Alden on the scoresheet as Caple triumphed by the odd goal in five against a Bridgewater AFC team who finished last season just 90 minutes away from the Hampden Park final.

With 11 players unavailable for selection against Craigneuk due to injuries, suspension and work commitments, Caple travelled to Lanarkshire with only 11 fit players and produced a magnificent performance.

The visitors took an early lead through Ben Craig, before losing out to a hotly disputed equaliser that looked well offside; however, Caple soon regained control of the match and deservedly regained the advantage before half-time, courtesy of a long-range effort from Jeffrey.

The home side enjoyed lots of possession after the interval as injuries and tired legs began to take their toll on a Caple side who preferred to sit back and hit on the counter attack.

But the approach paid off for the visitors, who extended their lead with 10 minutes left following a great run by Craig, whose intelligent pass picked out Jeffrey to smash home his second.

In the final minute Caple added a fourth, a potential contender for goal of the season from stand-in skipper Connor Hyslop, who took possession in his own half and ran through three challenges before clipping the ball past the advancing keeper.

Team: Craig Breeze, James Livingston, Brian Cameron, Stevie Forrester, Connor Hyslop, Shaun Mitchell, David Holborn, Saul Angus, Ryan Degan, Ross Jeffrey, Ben Craig.

Next up was a visit to the Palace of Arts at Bellahouston Park to face title contenders Bridgewater.

Caple took some time to adjust to the weather conditions, playing with a gale-force wind behind them as Storm Erik ravaged the country – but the home side surprisingly opted to play a long ball game against the wind and, despite a couple of scares, Caple were playing the better football and took a deserved lead after 30 minutes.

Shaun Mitchell did really well to retain possession on the left before playing a pin-point cross to the far post where Ross Jeffrey bulleted his header past the keeper.

Bridgewater continued their long-ball tactics in the second half and the Caple defence coped well in general although on one occasion they had to be thankful to keeper Kyle Furphy who rose to tip what looked like a certain goal over the bar to safety.

Caple were awarded a penalty kick early in the second half when an ever-alert referee spotted an infringement off the ball, Paul Cavana being barged to the deck in the penalty box at a corner kick; Cameron stepped up to take the spot-kick and calmly slotted the ball beyond the reach of the diving goalkeeper.

And soon it was 3-0 after Alden played a one-two with Shaun Wallace before advancing on the keeper and slipping the ball through his legs into the Bridgewater net.

The home side were stunned but offered very little to trouble a well-organised Caple team that should have gone even further ahead but for poor finishing that cost them the opportunity to seal the result.

Bridgewater eventually did manage to breach the visitors’ defence when their striker passed the ball across the Caple six-yard box to a team mate who slid the ball home at the far post.

Caple played out the remaining minutes and looked fairly comfortable at protecting their unexpected lead, only to lose a goal with the very last kick of the game, a 20-yard screamer that dipped just under the bar.

However, it was too little too late from the home side and a great victory for Caple over their highly fancied opponents.

Team: Kyle Furphy, James Livingston, Brian Cameron, Stevie Forrester, Paul Cavana, Shaun Mitchell, David Holborn, Allan Gallagher, Connor Hyslop, Ross Jeffrey, Ben Craig. Subs: Connor Alden, Darren Louden, John McAreavey.

Following their back-to-back away wins, Caple are back on home soil this Saturday, February 16, when Newton Vale visit the Navy Pitch in Rhu. The match kicks off at 2pm.

Though both Ardencaple and Helensburgh saw their matches beat the weather on Saturday, Rhu Amateurs weren’t so lucky, with their home match against Rothesay Brandane being postponed for a third time.

This Saturday, February 16, Rhu are at home to Dunblane SC; kick-off is at 2pm.