East Stirlingshire were left stunned as nine-man Spartans made an unlikely comeback to win 3-2 at the Falkirk Stadium on Saturday.
Nicky Low’s opener followed by Michael Bolochoweckyj’s own goal put Shire in firm control after just ten minutes. However, stunning strikes from Ian McFarland, Jack Smith and Jake Davidson completed a remarkable turnaround for the visitors.
Derek Ure was left dejected after watching his side squander their early lead before conceding a stoppage time winner.
He said: “First half an hour we were excellent. We did exactly what was asked. We’ve basically switched off. With the amount of quality and experience we’ve got in that dressing room and after going 2-0 up against ten men we should never lose the game. For me, it’s criminal. It’s so hard to take.
“If you give teams in this league something to hang onto, they will grab it. Today is probably the best example of that for the boys. We gave them a goal out of nothing and what followed was nothing short of a debacle.”
Shire’s afternoon looked to be heading in the right direction when Low fired the hosts into a lead after two minutes.
The lead was doubled just five minutes later. Mark Millar’s teasing delivery caused enough confusion in Spartans’ backline to force Bolochoweckyj to fire into his own net.
The result seemed to be sealed when Alan Brown was dismissed shortly after. However, McFarland, unleashed an unstoppable 30-yard strike that left Jamie Barclay helpless. Those within the stadium could not believe their eyes when the feat was repeated two minutes later. Smith fired a strike fit to rival that of McFarland’s straight into the top corner to restore parity.
The visitors’ heroic comeback seemed to be undone when Dean Hoskins became the second Spartans player to be sent off. However, Carswell kept Shire’s incessant attacks at bay and with it, his side’s hopes of taking a point.
In a remarkable conclusion to a hectic game, Spartans stole all three points. Davidson drilled a low strike beyond Barclay to send the away support into a state of euphoria. Ure’s side will have to pick themselves up with a trip to Cumbernauld Colts next.