Andy Rodgers inspired an unlikely comeback on Saturday as East Stirlingshire drew 3-3 in a frantic game with Barry Ferguson’s Kelty Hearts at the Falkirk Stadium.
Shire, without a win in the league since early December, were looking to rectify last week’s 2-2 draw with Stirling University with a win against a Kelty side going through a similar run of indifferent form. Kelty, having led for much of the season, found themselves trailing to East Kilbride and BSC Glasgow when they arrived in Falkirk but were looking to build on a solid 3-1 win away to Edinburgh University last time out.
Kelty’s intent was evident from the start with Chris Dodd putting the league’s fifth worst defence under severe scrutiny early on. Dodd didn’t have to wait long to make his attacking pressure count when he swept the ball home after a fine team move had cut Shire wide open.
A combination of poor finishing and fine goalkeeping from Jamie Barclay ensured the score remained 1-0 in the opening exchanges. However, more poor defending, indicative of a side that have conceded 32 goals already this season, allowed Kelty target man Scott Dalziel too much room as he prodded home a deserved second.
The second half brought more luck for a dejected Shire when Kelty keeper Scott Christie was dismissed for handling outside the area. Kelty’s misery was compounded further when Andy Rodgers, fresh off the bench, curled home the resultant freekick to half the deficit.
Rodgers’ goal rejuvenated Derek Ure’s side as they attacked with a purpose and energy that had been sorely lacking in a miserable first half. That purpose and energy paid off when Rodgers curled a left footed shot into the top corner to equalise late on.
Kelty’s Staurt Cargill looked to have secured all three points for the visitors when he rose highest to thump an unstoppable header beyond Barclay to give the ten men a narrow lead with time running out.
Shire have made a habit of producing extraordinary moments in games this season and were at it again when Graeme MacGregor pounced on a loose ball in the box to head home straight from kick off to secure an unlikely draw with Kelty.
Though a point doesn’t help either side, both managers will be looking for similar commitment next time out when Shire travel to Edinburgh University while Kelty welcome Stirling University.