HELENSBURGH FC chalked up their sixth straight win on Saturday with a 4-2 victory away to Woodhead in the second round of the Greater Glasgow League Challenge Cup.

Burgh, who were looking to continue their fine league form, had to make two enforced changes from last week’s starting line up as the previous week's hat-trick hero Brooks Tadlock failed a late fitness test, so Ryan Jones was given the opportunity to lead the line and with Calum O’Brien and Paul Cavanna unavailable in goal, young Craig Gemmell pulled on the keeper’s jersey.

Woodhead, currently challenging for promotion from the division below, clearly fancied their chances and started the game brightly; with the slight advantage of the wind on a dry, bobbly surface they were quicker to adjust to the conditions playing direct balls into their target man and creating pressure on the Burgh back four by pushing runners up from midfield.

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Ten minutes in their tactics paid dividends as the centre forward held the ball up, tying up Burgh’s central defenders in the process, before laying the ball off wide right. The right winger took an excellent first touch before playing in a low cross, just out the reach of keeper Gemmell, straight into the path of an attacking midfielder who had the simple task of converting from six yards out.

Helensburgh reacted well to the setback and eight minutes later found themselves on level terms. Jones worked himself some space on the left hand side of the penalty area and fired in a near post shot that was parried back out to him; he skewed his second attempt to the right, but David Sinclair was alert at the back post to get his foot to the ball and slide it under the keeper’s despairing dive.

The equaliser settled Burgh and they started to knock the ball around more confidently, pinning their opponents back.

However midway through the opening period they shot themselves in the foot; Black gave possession away in his own box, and although Johns appeared to rescue matters by making a timely tackle, the referee awarded a penalty, adjudging the Burgh captain to have gone through the man to win the ball.

Stand-in keeper Gemmell held his nerve, though, and pulled off a fine save low to his right to prevent Woodhead regaining the lead – and the stopper was immediately back on his feet to gather a weak rebound attempt.

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As often seems to be the case, Woodhead were soon rueing the missed opportunity; from Burgh’s next meaningful attack Keith Thomas was taken out recklessly by the home keeper as he chased down a loose ball close to the byline.

Now it was the visitors turn to try from 12 yards; Burgh manager Sam Gemmell got word on to the park that full back Stuart Bailey was to take the kick, and the decision was vindicated as Bailey stepped up and converted down the middle.

Having taken the lead, Burgh continued to press, and after 31 minutes Sinclair had a low, angled drive deflected wide.

From the resulting corner kick the ball was headed partially clear to the edge of the area where it bounced once before Thomas showed perfect technique to hit a powerful but controlled effort high into the net.

Burgh could maybe consider themselves slightly fortunate to be two goals ahead at this stage, and this continued as Woodhead hit the bar after a quick counter.

But as half time approached it was the home side that received a huge slice of luck; from a Woodhead free kick at the edge of the box, Gemmell made a solid save, and though Bailey was first to the loose ball, his attempted clearance cannoned off the helpless Johns into the Burgh net for a freakish own goal.

Burgh looked shaken and Woodhead then missed a good chance to equalise just before the break as their centre forward shot narrowly over from twelve yards out.

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The half time whistle gave Helensburgh the chance to regroup and they did exactly that; the opening 15 minutes of the second half saw the Burgh team take the sting out of the game and gradually frustrate their opponents.

The Burgh defence were getting the better of the Woodhead centre forward, who had caused problems in the first 45, and the visitors were becoming increasingly dangerous on the counter attack.

It was from a lightening quick break on the hour mark that Helensburgh regained their two-goal advantage: Sinclair raced clear down the right hand side before firing in a tempting cross, and Jones let the ball run through to David Allan, who made no mistake from close range.

With a bit of daylight between the two teams Burgh utilised their squad to help keep the work rate up and close out the game.

This didn’t stop Woodhead from creating a couple of good chances in the dying minutes; a headed effort from a set piece just cleared the bar, before one of host's own substitutes clipped the outside of the post with an opportunist strike.

However it was Helensburgh that spurned the biggest chance of the closing stages when Sinclair burst through from his own half before inexplicably trying to pass to an offside Scott Petro when it was easier to score.

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The full time whistle saw Helensburgh progress to the third round where they will travel to face Glenvale. This weekend they cross the water to Greenock to play old rivals Belleaire in another important league fixture.

Manager Sam Gemmell commented: “Our performance wasn’t up to the standards of the previous few weeks, possibly due to the fact it was a tighter pitch and with a surface that made it difficult to knock the ball around.

"That being said the opposition helped make it a cracking cup tie and will probably think they could have taken more out of the game.

"Saving then scoring a penalty midway through the first half had a significant impact on the result.

"We are on a really good run of late being unbeaten in seven games which gives the lads some good momentum coming into games now."

Squad: Craig Gemmell, Stuart Bailey, Geraint Meader, Daniel Johns, Steven Bailie, Marc McNeil, Steven Martin, Dougie Black, Keith Thomas, David Sinclair, Scott Petro, Ryan Jones, David Allan, Del Park, Caleb Phipps.