Tollcross Thistle and Heriot Vale served up an 11-goal thriller in the fourth round of the East of Scotland Cup, with the former coming out on top 6-5 after extra-time in a match which will live long in the memory.
This cup tie had everything. Tollcross left-back Greig Hogarth spent almost the entire match as a stand-in goalkeeper after John Nisbet was red-carded for being the last man just ten minutes in.
Heriot Vale’s Jordyn Sheerin was also sent off after being given his second booking in extra-time. Incredibly, Sheerin’s side were two ahead at the break, only for a spirited Tollcross second-half revival to end 90 minutes at four each.
Tollcross striker Michael Yuill, who scored two and will likely claim another, summed the goal-crazy match up after full-time. He said: “I honestly can’t describe the feeling. That’s the best game I’ve ever played in and is easily the game that has meant the most to me in my football playing career.”
From the free-kick awarded after Nisbet was given a straight red-card when bringing down Edward Mangan, Sheerin rifled into the net from the edge of the box to put the home side ahead on ten minutes.
Michael South then put Vale, who came into the match unbeaten domestically, two goals to the good when he fired in from close range after Hogarth had fumbled a low cross.
It looked as if it would be a matter of how many for Vale at this stage. With the extra-man advantage and the two-goal lead, as well as their current form, it looked unlikely that Tollcross would find any way back.
However, the visitors pulled a goal back early in the second half through an Adam Perry header. Centre midfielder Stewart O’Neil swept in a corner to the front post and striker Perry did well to leap up and glance his header across goal past Vale’s Sam Gibson.
Striker Sheerin restored his side’s two goal advantage shortly after however, with an even better free-kick than his first, from 25 yards out.
Yuill then got his first of the match when he found the net from six yards out after Perry had set him up from a well worked assist. Tollcross midfielder O’Neil drew his side level, with a free-kick which was every bit as good as LEAFA select team-mate Sheerin’s, when he found the top corner from 25 yards.
Incredibly, the ten men of Tollcross then took the lead with a marvellous Yuill solo strike with just minutes to go. Striker Yuill wasn’t in the mood for passing to anyone as he picked the ball up in his own half before driving at the Vale defence, as he twisted and turned before finding himself one-on-one with Gibson and he slotted it into the corner of the net with his weaker right foot.
Vale weren’t going to give up their lead that easily, however, and in the final minute Alan Sheriff equalised for the hosts with a header to extend what had been a frantic end-to-end 90 minutes.
Sheriff put Vale ahead early in extra-time when he latched onto a through ball before firing past Hogarth. It remained 5-4 to the hosts until Tollcross continued the precedent they had set for the match, with two late goals to win the cup tie.
Sheerin was given his marching orders for Vale when he was given a second booking for time wasting before a Garry Bayne own goal made it 5-5. Tollcross secured their place in the quarter-finals with the winner after a goalmouth stramash when O’Neil fired into the net after Robbie Simpson had set him up.
Meanwhile, four second-half goals for Redhall Star secured a fruitful 4-0 away win over Edinburgh Academicals in the second round of the Anderson Cup.
Accies had dominated the first half an hour of the cup tie, but thanks to a Craig Robertson clearance off the line, it was level at half-time.
Stewart Ogilve put Redhall in the lead ten minutes into the second half, when the striker ran on to collect a through ball before placing it into the bottom corner. Ogilve then doubled Redhall’s lead with a wonder striker from fully 30 yards out which he rifled into the top corner, before Scott Aitken made it three after John MacDonald has deceived the Accies defence with a neat dummy.
Aitken was denied his second of the afternoon by his own team-mate, James Spence. After Aitken had chipped the Accies keeper, Spence nipped in to make sure it was going into the net.
Elsewhere, South Gyle consolidated their place at the summit of LEAFA Saturday’s Lothian West league with a 5-0 hammering of Heriot-Watt.
Gyle will be tough to catch now, having played four games less than joint top Lauriston.
David Robertson gave the home side the lead, firing into the net via the post. Nick Perry scored a simple header from close range, before a second-half double from Chris Scott put Gyle in the ascendancy. An unnamed trialist scored a late fifth.