Bo’ness United’s Callum Scott was relieved to see his late free-kick hit the net to keep his side’s Scottish Junior Cup dream alive.
The midfielder revealed he had come in for some criticism from his team-mates for several wayward set-pieces this season, so the pressure was certainly on when presented with the opportunity to equalise just five minutes from time in their quarter-final clash.
His goal, which came just minutes after the visitors – who played more than an hour a man down – looked to have won it when they regained their advantage to lead 2-1.
Bo’ness will travel to the Ayrshire club’s Blair Park this Saturday as they do it all again for a place in the semi-finals, with the Newtown Park side seeking their first Junior Cup triumph since a Lex Shields double downed Baillieston Juniors 2-0 at Ibrox in 1984.
“The boys have been giving me a bit stick because I’ve stepped up a few times this season and it hasn’t quite gone the way I thought it was going to go,” said Scott.
“You’ve got to be confident and take the chances when they come, so I’ll never shy away from taking a free-kick – I’m just glad it went in and it was the goal that kept us in it.
“Going 2-1 down with ten minutes to go after dominating the second half when they are down to ten men, you think to yourself ‘Is this going to happen for us?’ Everyone just dug deep and the main thing is we’re still in it.
“We’ve gone away from home this season in the Scottish Cup, we’ll take confidence from that. We’ve beaten Glencairn and Kilbirnie and beaten these teams away from our park. We’ve got it in us and on our day we can beat anybody.
“It’s the competition that everyone wants to win, so we’ll go away, we’ll work hard at training and go into the game full of confidence.
“As much as it is about the boys and the management team, the fans pay their money every week so hopefully next week we can put a smile on their face when we come back up the road and in the semi-finals.”
A forgettable opening period bereft of any quality lit up on 27 minutes when the visitors scrambled the ball into the net from a corner kick, with centre-back Glen Mitchell claiming the goal.
While his brother was the hero, sibling Danny Mitchell became the villain for Hurlford just two minutes later as he was shown a red card by referee Stephen Brown after a two-footed lunge on Raith Rovers loanee Ryan Stevenson.
Having recovered from that tackle, Stevenson then played in striker Allan MacKenzie with a neat through-ball but the big striker was denied by goalkeeper Ally Brown.
Bo’ness continued to enjoy the bulk of possession and territory after the interval, despite never looking like scoring with their kick-and-chase tactics.
A rare moment of quality from striker Marty Wright on 77 minutes brought the hosts level as he expertly turned left-back Sam Lidington and crossed the ball to the front post where home right-back Scott Gibb prodded home, and celebrated wildly.
The hosts were pegged back as Ross Fisher’s free-kick was headed home by Mitchell with BU keeper Andy Murphy posted missing.
Scott ensured Bo’ness live to fight another day, though, as his free-kick deflected off a Hurlford head in the wall to wrong-foot Brown and end up in the back of the net.
Hurlford boss Darren Henderson felt a draw was about right. He said: “If Bo’ness had of lost they would have felt a bit aggrieved.
“It was a good old cup tie in terrible conditions; the wind spoiled it.
“When Bo’ness equalised I thought we would struggle to hold on, but we scored a great goal to put us 2-1 up. The free-kick was debatable, but some you get, some you don’t.
“It’s in our own hands, but it’s going to be tough. I think it’s two evenly-matched teams. Bo’ness will fancy their chances coming down. We’re happy to get down the road still in the cup.”
Bo’ness United: Murphy, Gibb, Hoggan, Campbell, Hunter, Gemmell, Kelly, Stevenson (Miller), Wright, MacKenzie, Scott.
Hurlford United: Brown, Hodge, Lidington, Fisher, G Mitchell, Jenkins, McKenzie, D Mitchell, C Robertson, R Robertson (Roberts) (Kean), Watt.