Largs Thistle 2 Hurlford United 2


It was the centre halves to the fore for Largs Thistle in a pulsating draw in the first leg of this Macron Scottish Junior Cup semi final.
Both Creag Little and Nicky Jamieson - who have been injury concerns during the past month - were re-united for the first time since the 5-0 demolition of Kilwinning in the previous round.
And the defensive duo played their part by each scoring at the other end to keep Thistle's hopes of a third Scottish Cup final appearance intact after a topsy-turvy affair with Hurlford.
The opening goal arrived on 14 minutes from Millar's looping corner out on the right which was met by a soaring header by Little who rose above the Hurlford rearguard.
There was enough power in the header to see it past a defender on the line who desperately tried to clear but couldn't keep the ball out.
Scott Adam had the best chance of doing so as he turned his man in the box after a John Carter cross on the right, and his fleet footed move and shot whizzed wide of the post.
The East Ayrshire side managed to score a goal out of nothing on 36 minutes after enduring a torrid spell.
Following a headed knock-down from a cross into the Largs box, Paul McKenzie's curling shot from 12 yards bounced off the right post and finished up in the back of the net. 
It almost look like a mis-hit which outfoxed Largs keeper Jamie McGowan, and the goal was celebrated in near silence as the bustling Largs support couldn't believe it had somehow squirmed in.
The danger signs had been there as Liam Caddis had just fired a good opportunity over the bar.
As half-time approached, Struthers nearly scored a wonder strike to give Largs a valuable lead but his clever turn and hooked shot from the edge of the area shaved the right hand side of the crossbar.
Although a draw at half-time it was frustrating for Largs who edged the opening 45 in terms of chances created but Hurlford nearly notched an early second half goal as Calum Watt's seemingly hit in hope bending effort from 20 yards out on the right wing rocketed off the left hand crossbar.
McGowan then had to make a good two handed save to deny Ford sub Morrison, and there was a sense that the away team were slowly getting the upper hand in this contest, and indeed, they took the lead following a low corner into the near post which was finished off in style on the angle by Caddis.
However, the burgeoning Largs support kept offering encouragement, and a leveller arrived on 81 minutes as Jamieson forced the ball over the line during a goalmouth scramble following a floated free kick into the danger area by Millar. 
The goal sparked massive celebrations at the Barrfields shed - and has re-invigorates Thistle for an exciting 2nd leg.
It was a timely equaliser and both sides managed to shut up shop for the final minutes.
Thistle showed magnificent spirit to fight back and keep this tie alive and kicking, and will recommence battle next week at Blair Park for the coveted place in the Scottish Cup final.
It's all to play for.


LARGS: McGowan, Orr, McMaster, Little, Jamieson, Faulds, Carter, Millar, Adam, Struthers, Muir. Subs: Fleming, Farrell (GK), Harkins, Begley, McKie. 

Next Game: Macron Scottish Cup semi-final 2nd leg, Hurlford United v Largs Thistle, 2.30pm kick-off, Blair Park, (penalties if a draw after 90 minutes).