A CONVINCING win over Vale of Leithen has pushed Dundonald Bluebell into a challenging position in the East of Scotland Premier League.

Three of the other local sides were involved in cup action on Saturday, and while there was success for Hill of Beath Hawthorn and Lochore Welfare, there was a rare defeat for Crossgates Primrose.

Dundonald Bluebell 3 Vale of Leithen 0

THIS victory at Moorside sees the ‘Bell tucked in only three points behind the leading three clubs in the Premier League.

Vale made life difficult early in the game and worked really hard at denying the home attackers space. Neither goalkeeper had a great deal to do in the first-half and it was no surprise that at the break there were no goals.

Dundonald upped their game after the interval and took the lead when a Regan Lumsden shot was saved and Keiran Dall fired home the rebound.

The second goal came when recent acquisition, Carlos Canha, escaped his marker at a corner and flashed a header into the corner of the net.

Bluebell were in full command now and Barry Sibanda wrapped up the scoring. He was in the perfect place to slot the ball into the net after a scramble in the box.

The result puts Dundonald on nine points, three behind joint leaders Jeanfield Swifts, Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts and Penicuik Athletic.

General manager, Allan Halliday, said: “Vale were a really sticky lot to break down and battled hard throughout the game, but once we went ahead we created some good chances and were worth the three goal win. It sets us up for our Scottish Cup preliminary round tie with Tayport this Saturday.”

Crossgates Primrose 1 Stirling University 3

PRIMROSE left a couple of regulars out of this TradeRadiators Challenge Cup first round tie, against their Lowland League opponents, and found the university a determined bunch.

Stirling made an impressive start to the game and grabbed the lead in only 12 minutes, but it was not long before Crossgates started creating chances and Scott Lawrie went close before Mark McKenzie threatened an equaliser.

Uni defended well and got to the break a goal up but six minutes into the second period Crossgates hit back. A foul in the Stirling box saw Lawrie make an expert job of the spot-kick and for a spell it looked like the home side would go on to win.

But just after the hour a good piece of play saw the students re-take the lead. Prim rose committed their subs in a bid to save the tie but Stirling grabbed their third goal with a minute to go.

Kilsyth Rangers 1 Hill of Beath Hawthorn 5

AN impressive Challenge Cup success for the Haws with some quality finishing from Ross Allum.

Hill of Beath went ahead after 20 minutes when he latched on to a through ball and sent a lovely 20 yard lob over the Kilsyth goalkeeper.

However, Rangers came back at the Haws and levelled on the half hour when the visitors failed to clear their lines and the loose ball was fired into the roof of the net.

It was 1-1 at the break but the Fife side ran away with it in the second half. Haws went ahead when a Brandon Luke free-kick was headed into the net by Allum.

As Rangers started to struggle Luke then fired an unstoppable 20 yard free-kick into the net. Frustration got the better of Kilsyth and they had a man red carded as the tie got away from them.

Lewis Payne set up Jordan Tosh for a neat finish and the icing was put on the cake when Allum completed his hat-trick with a fierce volley.

Haws boss Jason Dair said: “That was a much better performance and a very good result.”

Lochore Welfare 3 Lothian Thistle 2

Welfare came out on top in this Qualifying Cup tie against Premier League opponents thanks to hat-trick hero Sean Cusick.

Lochore made a tepid start to the match and when Logan Donaldson caught the heel of a Thistle attacker, in his own box, the resultant penalty put the visitors ahead.

The home side were struggling to get into the game and did not create a lot of chances, but in 35 minutes Cusick was fouled in the box and got up to convert the spot-kick to make the interval score 1-1.

Four minutes into the second period Lothian took the lead and the Premier team defended their advantage well. However, in 80 minutes Cusick was fouled again in the Thistle box and again he made no mistake from the spot to set up a grand finale.

It looked like a penalty shoot-out until the game went into time added on when a Robbie Crawford cross was perfect for Cusick to fire a header into the net to win the tie.

Welfare boss James Adam said: “We made a very flat start to the tie, but kept working hard and the longer the game went we looked like scoring goals, and it was a great day for Sean who deserved his hat-trick.”

Lochgelly Albert 0 Craigroyston 1

THE Berts were shocked on Wednesday night when they lost their Second Division game with Edinburgh South 6-0 and they looked to put things right against Craigroyston.

The early stages of the game saw few chances for either side although the visitors hit the bar in 10 minutes. The Albert toiled but 17 minutes into the second period Craigroyston grabbed the lead with a freak goal.

The wind took control of a cross and blew the ball beyond Sam McGuffy and into the corner of the net. Lochgelly tried to hit back and Sean Johnston saw his fierce shot blocked by the ‘keeper. The home side kept at it but just could not fashion a goal.

Berts committee man Derek Patrick said: “The wind made things very difficult for the players and there was very little between the teams, but our finishing was poor, and we could just not get back into it after Craigroyston’s strange opener.”

Saturday’s fixtures (2.30pm kick-off unless stated), Scottish Cup preliminary round: Dundonald Bluebell v Tayport (3pm ko), Irvine Meadow v Hill of Beath (3pm). Alex Jack Cup second round: Crossgates Primrose v Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts, Ormiston Primrose v Lochore Welfare. East of Scotland Second Division, Whitburn v Lochgelly Albert.