Ten-man Haddington Athletic came back from the dead to produce a ‘spook-tacular’ comeback in their Scottish Junior Cup second-round replay.
The cup tie was eerily similar to last week’s initial match-up, in which Haddington had led 3-0 only for Shotts to storm back with ten men to secure a second date.
This time, Haddington found themselves 3-0 down with just 12 minutes remaining and all appeared lost, but they cast a spell on their visitors as they pulled level before triumphing 3-2 on penalties.
Goalkeeper Sinclair Inglis was the home hero – his three penalty saves ensuing the Hi Hi’s place in tomorrow’s third-round draw for the first time since 2010.
“The weakest part of my goalkeeping skills is saving penalties. There is not many I win, so it’s great to be hero after that,” said Inglis.
“With 15 minutes to go, I couldn’t see us coming back. We mucked it up for ourselves for 45 minutes last week but, with 15 to go I would have fancied our chances if we were 3-0 up.
“We never kicked a ball until the last 10-15 minutes when we decided to go for it. The few changes the gaffer made changed the game.
“We pushed up, put the pressure on and they just fell deeper and deeper and the chances came. Once we got the first goal that gave us a wee bit of a boost and even when we went down to ten men I still fancied us to get the equaliser. It’s good for the club and there’s a good buzz now.
“We know we can do it. We just need to perform better for the whole game and not wait until ten minutes to go.”
Haddington were aiming to replicate last week’s scintillating first-half performance which saw them lead 2-0 inside the first 15 minutes. However, the tables were turned as Shotts found themselves 2-0 ahead in the first 15 minutes.
Inglis was left with no chance as Ally Martin outfoxed him with a crafty chip on eight minutes and it was two on 15 when Daniel Burns fired in a low strike at the near post.
The visitors’ quick start had left the Hi Hi perplexed and it took some time for them to find their footing. Indeed, it was Shotts who looked more likely to add to their lead until the home side created chances through Scott Moffat and Scott Wright before the break.
There appeared no way back for the hosts as Burns volleyed in for number three on 55 minutes. The reaction from the home players suggesting they had accepted their fate.
Haddington didn’t threaten until the 70th minute when striker Moffat’s header was sent straight into the arms of keeper Johnny Murdoch.
They didn’t look like scoring until Connor Woods set the ball rolling for the most unlikeliest of comebacks. Inglis’ long ball found Chris Inglis on the left and he drove down the wing before cutting back for Woods to slide home.
A consolation, you would have thought but, just a minute later, Moffat knocked home a second.
Haddington were dealt a blow in their comeback bid when Chris Cairney saw red for a second bookable offence, but that didn’t deter them.
With one minute of added time elapsed, Moffat completed the turnaround as he tucked away from two yards out to leave Shotts spooked.
Straight to penalties it was, where, after two kicks each, Shotts led 2-1, but then stepped up Inglis, who saved three on the trot to send Haddington through.
Haddington Athletic co-manager Kevin Twaddle hailed the impact of substitutes Paul Devlin and Andy Jones for the part they played in their stunning comeback.
He said: “I never saw that coming, but the subs who came on were phenomenal. I asked them for a wee bit of a heart and desire and that’s what I got.
“For the committee, a lot of older guys, they deserve to be looking at a draw and seeing where the club can go. We need wee bits of luck, we know we are not a finished article, but we are building and we’re building in the right direction.”
Haddington Athletic: S.Inglis, Cairney, Ponton, Bauld (Devlin), C Inglis, Hill (Jones), Berry, Fairnie, Woods, Moffat, Wright.
Shotts Bon Accord: Murdoch, Eadie, Lindsay, MacPherson, Barr, Livingstone, Scott (Sutherland), Martin, McKenna (Campbell), Maguire, Burns.