Stirling Albion beat Hurlford United 13-12 on penalties, in a record-breaking game at Forthbank.
Hurlford, a Junior League side, managed to belie the huge league difference between the two sides in a 1-1 draw in the original game, with Saturday’s game the replay to decide who would host Raith Rovers in the Fourth Round of the prestigious Scottish Cup.
Hurlford looked the better side earlier on, with a strong freekick from Ross Chisholm an early test for Stirling keeper Callum Reidford, and on 13 minutes, the visitors took a shock lead. A goalmouth scramble bounced it’s way to Ross Robertson, whose precise finish beat the keeper, and sent the boisterous away support into raptures.
It stayed 1-0 to Hurlford until 15 minutes before the end, when a defensive error set Steven Doris through one-on-one with the goalkeeper, and Smith duly finished, to level the game up.
That was the way the game stayed by the final whistle, so extra time, and the potential of penalties, were in order.
The first half of extra time didn’t really have too much to write home about , with only a couple of half-chances for Stirling the real highlights of the period. Stirling Albion looked the more likely to score however, with the slight fitness advantage of being semi-professional. Contrary to this, though, it was the visitors who grabbed a goal in the 112th minute. A low cross was somehow scrambled into the Binos’ net, sending the away support into scenes of jubilation.
The visitor’s lead didn’t last long, however, with a similar scramble resulting in a Stirling goal by Steven Doris just three minutes from the fulltime whistle.
Onto penalties it went. And what a shootout it was! Both sides missed one of their first five penalties, to make the shootout go to sudden death, but then both sets of players kept on scoring…. And scoring…. And scoring…. Even the goalkeepers scored! However, a good Callum Redford save from Hurlford’s 14th penalty gave Steven Doris the chance to win the game for the Binos, and he sent the keeper the wrong way to send Stirling Albion through, after a thriller of a game.