|CB||5||Andy Ward (c)|
CUMBERNAULD Colts� dream of reaching the third round of the William Hill Scottish Cup for the second successive season is still alive after being held by Forres Mechanics.
Goals from Andy Selkirk and Jamie Barclay put Colts in the driving seat despite falling behind to Scott Graham�s early opener for the Highland League side.
However Stuart Soane�s header for the visitors levelled the entertaining cup tie at Broadwood and ensured the teams will meet again next week at Forres� Mosset Park.
But James Orr and Craig McKinlay�s men will be the more disappointed after failing to convert a number of gilt edged chances in the second period which would have seen them go into Tuesday�s third round draw with their place already secured.
Colts started the game nervously and were shell shocked inside 4 minutes when a short headed back pass by Jamie Broadfoot allowed Graham to break through between Andy Ward and Daniel McFarlane before coolly sliding the ball under the advancing Chris Fahey to give the Highlanders the lead.
The visitors looked to capitalise on their bright start and in 16 minutes they almost doubled their advantage when a corner from the left caused problems in the Colts defence and when the ball fell kindly for Kyle Scott the midfielder was unfortunate to strike the outside of the post much to Colts� relief.
Fahey then had to be at his best in 20 minutes when scorer Graham broke free inside the box before hitting an angled drive towards the bottom corner, but the experienced Colts keeper was equal to it making a wonderful low save at his right hand post.
The home side began to realise they were in a cup tie and in 30 minutes they responded brilliantly by pulling level when Selkirk sent a thumping volley from 15 yards into the top right corner of Stuart Knight�s net after the striker got onto the end of Owen Ronald�s dangerous cross from the right.
Colts finished the first half stronger and continued to show their dominance at the start of the second period and only the width of the post prevented them from edging ahead in 53 minutes.
Ronald was sent free on the left by McFarlane�s defence splitting pass and the winger cut inside and curled a shot towards the far corner which had the beating of Knight but the woodwork came to the visitors rescue.
Colts continued to take the game to their visitors and their persistence paid off in 67 minutes when they completed the turnaround.
Steven O�Neil and Richie Kirwan combined superbly on the left which resulted in Kirwan pulling the ball back to Barclay at the back post and the big midfielder composed himself brilliantly before finding space in a crowded penalty box to drill the ball low past Knight and send the home fans wild.
But just as the delirious Colts fans were taking their seats again the Highlanders forced a quick corner from the restart before Graham sent a dangerous ball into the penalty area and defender Soane jumped highest to bullet a header past Fahey and draw the tie level.
The Cumbernauld side once again responded well after letting their visitors back into the game and they threw caution to the wind as they pushed forward in search of a late winner with good chances falling to Kirwan, Ronald, O�Neil and Selkirk.
But neither could convert the chances which came their way and the visitors defended resolutely in the closing stages and held out to ensure the teams will meet again next Saturday in the Highlands.
Cumbernauld Colts; Fahey, Batchelor, Kirwan, McFarlane, Ward, Broadfoot, Ronald, Barclay, Selkirk, Murray, O�Neil. Subs; Giles, Tennant, Pirrie, Black, Brown, Hunter, Foggin.
Forres Mechanics; Knight, Allan, Grant, G Fraser, L Fraser, Khutsishvili, Graham, Cameron, Scott, Finlayson, Soane. Subs; Storrier, Groat, Moore, Forbes, Baxter, McGovern, McLean.