East Stirlingshire secured their semi-final place in the Lowland League Cup after coming from behind to win 2-1 despite Graeme MacGregor’s first half dismissal.
Derek Ure has made no effort to hide his desire to end a dismal season on an unlikely high. However, a visit to a Colts’ side that finished just one place below Shire in the league presented an evenly matched quarter-final encounter.
Within one minute of the game getting underway, Shire fell behind. Colts’ took advantage of a sleeping Shire defence through Fraser Team who, after being played through by Daniel Fitzpatrick, showed the necessary composure to lob an onrushing Jamie Barclay.
Apart from a Liam Allison header going narrowly over the bar Shire struggled to find a response with most of their attacks dying in their infancy. However, with half an hour gone and with no sign of Shire gaining momentum their task was made infinitely tougher when MacGregor’s reckless challenge resulted in his dismissal.
Shire managed to weather some late Colts’ pressure and make it to half-time trailing by just one, but the chances of a comeback seemed to be slim with the home side seemingly in control. However, Rodgers, fresh off committing to another year as a Shire player, produced a typically spectacular finish to level the scores after being found by Allison’s deep cross.
The Broadwood based outfit looked visibly frustrated after it had looked like they were coasting towards a place in the semi-final. However, Rodgers’ goal reinvigorated Shire while simultaneously draining Colts’ confidence.
Shire may have been reduced to ten men in the first half, but their late second half surge made that hard to believe with Rodgers going close to completing the comeback after being teed up by Jamie Gallagher.
The warning wasn’t taken by the home side and after being gifted an opener in the first half they returned the favour. Jordan Pettigrew, under little pressure, gave the ball away to Ross Allum who took his chance with aplomb.
With time running out Colts threw on Shire-bound Sean Brown, but the young forward could not break through a resolute Shire defence that had looked more comfortable after being reduced to ten men.
The full-time whistle not only signified Shire’s passage to the next round but also the second successive game in which they have been severely tested.
Thankfully for Ure and co, they have passed with flying colours.