Stirling Albion 2 v 2 Hurlford United (aet) (13 v 12 on penalties)
On a wet afternoon the Binos took to the Forthbank pitch to take on Scottish Junior Cup Champions Hurlford United in the replay to decide who would progress to take on on Raith Rovers in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup.
In his first game as manager Stuart McLaren made five changes to the line up that faced Hurlford last week with Willie Robertson, Ross McGeachie, Phil Johnston, Darren Smith and Sandy Cunningham replaceing David McClune, Dale Fulton, Graham Weir, James Creaney and the suspended Craig Wedderburn.
Before kick off Forthbank fell silent as a mark of respect to the men and women who have died in WW1 WW2 and all conflicts since then.
The Binos were soon on the back foot as early pressure from Hurlford forced Callum Reidford to save an early strike but that didn’t stop Hurlford taking the lead in the 15th minute as Ross Robertson blasted the visitors in front with a shot that curled into the top corner.
After taking the early lead the visitors started to look comfortable in the game and were managing to deal with the attacks of the Binos. With the rain continuing to fall as the half drew to a close the Binos were in the same position as we were a week ago a goal down and not looking like scoring.
HALF TIME: STIRLING ALBION 0 v 1 HURLFORD UNITED (1 v 2 on Agg.)
The second half started out much the same as the first had finished with Hurlford looking comfortable. The rain was continuing to cause problems and at one point parts of the pitch seen the ball slow up and this had some of the home support calling for abandonment but the players didn’t let it effect them and slowly the Binos started to come alive and in the 77th minute Willie Robertson managed to get the ball to Steven Doris who equalised for the Binos.
Now on level terms the Binos looked fired up and started to pressure Hurlford more a final chance came Stirlings way when Graham Weir managed a cross into Gordon Smith who only needed to turn the ball goal wards but Smith sent it skywards over the bar.
Hurlford had a last chance to grab a winner with a free kick but their effort curled around the wall and just past the post at that there wasn’t much left to talk about and the referee signalled the end of the game.
FULL TIME: STIRLING ALBION 1 v 1 HURLFORD UNITED (2 v 2 on Agg.)
A quick break for the players and some inspiring words from both Stuart McLaren and Martyn Corrigan required before the Binos went out for the first period of Extra Time. Yet again the Binos stick to the normal run of things not scoring in the first halves. The first period of Extra Time was virtually uneventful.
HALF TIME IN EXTRA TIME: STIRLING ALBION 1 v 1 HURLFORD UNITED (2 v 2 on Agg.)
A quick change of ends and we were off for the second half of extra time, the binos were looking the more favourable side of taking a goal as Hurlford appeared to tire but the visiotrs were soon in dream land as in the 111th minute Stewart Kean managed to get the ball over the line to give Hurlford the lead in extra time.
It was now looking likely that our cup run was going to be over but four minutes after Hurlford took the lead there was a goal mouth scramble as the ball was played around in the box by the Binos for it to fall for Steven Dorris who equalised to send the game into a penalty shoot out.
AFTER EXTRA TIME: STIRLING ALBION 2 v 2 HURLFORD UNITED (3 v 3 on Agg.)
It was now down to the 12 yard shoot out, player versus ‘keeper a test of nerves for all involved, its at times like this when as a football fan you know one mistake and your cup hopes could be over.
Hurlford got the honours of being first up, with John Dempster slotting his shot past Callum Reidford, up first for the Binos was Gordon Smith and he easily converts his attempt. The Binos got an early advantage when Callum Reidford saved Ross Chisholms attempt. Our advantage didn’t last long as Binos goal scorer Steven Dorris stepped up but seen Hurlford ‘keeper Ally Brown easily save his effort.
That was things level again 3 penalties scored each and 1 saved each, surely there will be a slip up soon, but no we continued to level peg each other and round 11 of penalties ‘keeper versus ‘keeper both Callum Reidford and Ally Brown converted so we went on well into sudden death the score is Stirling 10 v 10 Hurlford.
Nothing separating us yet and up steps Hurldfords Jamie Wilson for their 14th penalty and it’s turned round the post by Callum Reidford, ADVANTAGE STIRLING. He’s scored 2 equalisers in the game, missed his first penalty and up steps Steven Doris again knowing if he scores we win, if he misses we could be here all night as every penalty has been of superb quality, but Doris takes his time and coolly rockets his effort in to the back of the net to end the game and secure Stirling Albions place in the 4th round of the Scottish Cup.
Final Score: Stirling Albion 2 v 2 Hurlford United (aet) (3 v 3 on Agg.) (13 v 12 on Penalties)
What an epic game, to be totally honest I didn’t think we could have done it as last week we were so poor and lucky to come away from Blair Park with a draw and a replay, well done to the players and management team you kept cool and maintained your composure to take us to the 4th round of the Scottish Cup where we now face Kirkcaldy side Raith Rovers on 29th November.
Just now I would like to say well done to Hurlford United on Twitter Hurlford supporter Craig Parker (@Hufc1938) said
We rode our luck in the 2nd half
You may feel like that but think it was a very close game both sides had fair chances over both games and in then end I feel over both games it was us that were lucky. Good luck to Hurlford for the rest of their season.
Back to league business for Stuart McLaren and the team on Tuesday night.