ARBROATH will have to face Inverurie Locos yet again tomorrow (Saturday) after the home side produced a magnificent comeback to force the replay.
And both teams go into tomorrow’s clash, knowing a money-spinning trip to Celtic is at stake for the team which makes it through to the fourth round.
The Lichties looked to be comfortable at 3-0 up thanks to goals from Steven Doris, Paul Currie and Darren Gribben.
But a late surge by Locos saw them level the game and earn the replay with a 90th minute equaliser.
Paul Sheerin made several changes to the Lichties who lost 2-0 at Ayr United the previous week, with Scott Morrison coming back in to replace Tony Bullock in goal and the suspended Currie also returning.
Gribben earned a starting jersey, although Daniel Rennie and Scott Robertson had to make do with being dropped to the bench.
And after just four minutes the Lichties went one up.
Centre-forward Doris drifted in from the right as Ryan Broadhurst appeared to clear a cross.
But it came back to Doris who went over the trailing leg of Neil McLean.
It was a clear penalty and DORIS duly sent goalkeeper Andy Reid the wrong way with his spot kick.
The home side quickly tried to get back in it when Jamie Michie floated in a cross but it was too strong as it flew away from the reach of Clark Bain.
Locos’ best chance followed when Bain took a pass from Andy Low and he drove for goal but saw his thunderbolt deflected through a ruck for a corner.
However, the Lichties’ second goal came on 23 minutes against the run of play.
Experienced player/boss Paul Sheerin’s chip was head-flicked on by Derek Holmes, running across the face of goal for Paul CURRIE to slip it under the body of ‘keeper Reid.
Locos, strangely, had looked the more likely side to score and despite trailing by two goals, they responded by piling in shots from Broadhurst and young Mark Souter with Bain only being denied by last ditch defending.
Half-time: Inverurie Loco Works 0, Arbroath 2.
The killer blow appeared to have been applied not long after the interval on 57 minutes, when the Lichties seemed to have the game wrapped up.
Doris raced on to a low pass and only the combination of Locos’ defenders kept him out at the expense of a corner.
However from that flag kick, Holmes played in and GRIBBEN tapped a cheeky back-heel into the net.
It seemed to be game over for Locos but they were rewarded on 67 minutes for their never-say-die attitude.
Man-of-the-match Jamie Michie powered in the cross from the right for BAIN, who grabbed Locos’ first goal from close range.
This sparked an amazing 23 minutes for the home side as soon after Stuart McKay ended a great passing move by firing a shot onto the top of the crossbar and over.
However with four minutes to go the ball broke kindly for Neil GAULD to fire high into the roof of the net.
And just into added time, the equaliser came.
This time Bain chased down a ball that he looked second favourite to reach.
But he got there before Lichties ‘keeper Scott Morrison, heading the ball over the number one.
The ball was cleared on to the post, but GAULD was there to knock home his second of the game and earn Locos a replay at Gayfield.