|14||Andy Ward (c)|
In the penultimate game of their debut Lowland League season Colts travelled to Innerleithen to face Vale of Leithen on the back of a four game winning run. On what can only be described as the poorest playing surface they've played on this season the game kicked off in a snow shower with the home side bright and the Colts sluggish.
In fact, within twenty four seconds of the Colts kick-off they found themselves 1-0 down, Broadfoot looking to go direct from the centre but the long diagonal towards Ramsay on the left was cut out, the home side playing a couple of passes forward before crossing into the box from the Colts left. Oliver unusually got himself caught under the ball, the home striker not likely to look a gift horse in the mouth, controlling well before sweeping past the helpless Fahey in the Colts goal for an early lead.
And it was to get worse for the Colts as less than five minutes later it was 2-0 and again the visitors had no-one but themselves to blame as they gave the ball away cheaply in midfield, left one of their centre backs exposed 1v1 (one of many occasions) and tried to play offside with no pressure on the ball, Oliver stepping out but seeing the striker played through on Fahey again, no mistake for a second time as he slotted in for number two.
Unbelievably for the side chasing fourth against the side sitting third bottom it was to get even worse, again fairly self-inflicted as a poor header fell at the feet of the Vale attacker who, spotting his forward 1v1 again played him through, Morris trying to get a block on the shot from 18 yards but only able to divert the ball away from Fahey with the deflection. Fourteen minutes in, 3-0 to the home side and Colts with Fahey in goal to thank for two fine saves which stopped things getting any worse.
To their credit they showed a bit of character, a flashpoint in the corner annoying them enough to get them riled. The home forward lashed out off the ball at Morris, in full view of both the referee and his assistant, the man in the middle inexplicably deciding that a yellow card for both players, presumably Morris should have moved out of the way of the arm thrown at him, one in a series of poor decisions on the day by a whistler who struggled all afternoon.
Midway through the half the Colts did manage to pull one back, Broadfoot delivering a free kick to the back post where Oliver did well to keep the attack alive, heading back across goal. The ball ricocheted around before landing on the head of Andy Hunter who dived to head home for a Colts lifeline.
And it wasn't long before it was 3-2, another delivery into the box by Broadfoot not dealt with by the home side and when it found its way to Barclay in an almost identical manner to Hunter he obliged by heading in off the post to claw the Colts back into the game.
Half time, 3-2 to the home side.
Into the second half and Fahey in the Colts goal was a virtual spectator as the home side sat deeper and deeper, looking to soak up the Colts pressure and it on the counter. Good chances were spurned by Hunter and Munn before an excellent tackle in the box stopped Pirrie from bringing Colts level.
Black and Fergus replaced Munn and Hunter and Black was involved on the right as the home side were reduced to ten men, the midfielder gliding past his man to be taken out late, already on a yellow an easy decision, though given the afternoon it looked as though a second yellow wouldn't be forthcoming!
Broadfoot moved to the left and was the recipient of a very heavy challenge from behind which led to a Colts foul and inexplicably a yellow card for Broadfoot but nothing for the offender.
The home side defended their box well, Colts not really doing enough in the second half to get back into the game as play was broken up by two lengthy stoppages, a good five minutes for an injury to Pirrie followed by a similar timeframe for an injury incurred by Oliver challenging the home keeper.
Into stoppage time and in the 92nd minute the Colts did manage to draw themselves level, Black curling an excellent effort from 25 yards that bounced high of the bar which Ramsay, who had showed great energy down the left flank all afternoon, the first to react to head into the net with the keeper helpless.
As the Colts grabbed the ball thinking they could go on and grab a winner it took a minute or so for the game to restart, the official blowing for full time much to the annoyance of the visitors in the ascendancy. Just over four minutes of stoppage time played in total for both halves of a game with two five minute stoppages, 6 goals, a red card and countless other stoppages.
For Colts, credit for battling back from three goals down to grab a point, but lessons must be learned from the opening twenty minutes or so of the game which was by some distance as poor a display as they have put in all season. It means that their pursuit of fourth place now comes down to a final day tussle with Whitehill Welfare at the start of May. It's a game the Broadwood men now know that nothing less than a win will see them finish in fourth spot.
Before then they welcome Threave Rovers to Broadwood in the first round of the Lowland League cup.