Scottish Cup, Thurd Round
Hurlford United 1 Stirling Albion 1 (att 551)
I fancied Hurlford to cause an upset in this cup tie, and after leading for most of the game they came within a few minutes of doing. Stirling's equaliser came with just 12 minutes to go, and just minutes after a sending-off reduced them to 10 men.
Hurlford should have been out of sight by then, but lacked the necessary cutting edge in front of goal to take more of the chances they created. For a Scottish League side, Stirling looked poor, and are lucky to have got a reply.
The visitors started on the front foot, but it didn't take long for Hurlford to get into their stride, and it only took until the 10th minute before Hurlford opened the scoring. The goal seemed to knock Stirling's fragile confidence, and from then on it was the Junior side who had more of the play, and created more of the chances.
I though they'd need a second goal to make the tie safe though, as while Stirling were second best they were getting half chances. Hurlford should have extended their lead, but when they created opportunities they failed to take them.
Stirling had more of the game in the second half, but there was little between the sides and Hurlford still looked stronger. As time went on it seemed the one goal might be enough, even more so when Stirling picked up a red card. But slack marking at a corner allowed Stirling to make it 1-1.
Despite that setback Hurlford finished strongly, probably sensing that their best chance to progress was in the final few minutes, at home, against 10 men. They had a series of corner, and half-chances, but couldn't score.
Hurlford's Blair Park is a neat and tidy venue. Most of the ground has a few steps of shallow terracing, with a small covered section on one side. The far end is out of bounds to spectators, although it provides a decent free view for residents whose homes back onto the ground. In one around 20 people were watching the game through the garden fence.