It came down to the pot luck of a penalty shootout to split two evenly matched sides, as Arniston Rangers emerged as victors in a thrilling cup tie at Birkenside Park over divisional rivals Redhall Star who had battled back from two goals down.
It wasn’t quite a game of two halves, although Arniston Rangers led 2-0 at the interval. Redhall came out in the second half having switched to a back three and moments after the change, the game began to swing in their favour.
The visitors deservedly pegged it back to two each and despite an extremely open final 15 minutes, neither side could find the winner with penalties looming large.
The first ten minutes gave an indication of how the game was going to go, back and forth with neither team able to grab a hold of the tie, without a great deal of chances being created.
However, it was the home who struck first, a corner sent into the box that wasn’t dealt with on the bounce. The ball sat up nicely for Ross Durnion who lashed the ball into the top corner from close range.
Redhall pushed forwards in search of a swift reply, with Ryan Munro and Robbie Haines both coming close in the opening 15 minutes.
The visitors continued to created chances, a neat exchange between Aayan Khalid Sharif and Sam Higgins sent the latter in behind the back three, but the angle was tight and led to a comfortable save for Logan Black.
Another chance fell the way of the visitors after 24 minutes when Munro picked off a kick out by Black. The winger watched in agony as his clipped effort bounced across the face of goal with the goalkeeper well beaten.
Haines then forced Black into a reflex save high to the keeper’s right. From the resulting corner Arniston Rangers would spring a sweeping counter attack, which was drilled into the far corner by Durnion once again. Jamie Jones, who’d had limited action until this point, found himself picking the ball out of the net for a second time as the half time whistle went, 2-0 at the break.