Marathon tie still not settled as injury time stunner denies Rose

Andy Shirra shields the ball from Wick's Gary Weir
Andy Shirra shields the ball from Wick's Gary Weir

Linlithgow Rose’s long-running Scottish Cup tie with Wick Academy remains to be settled after an injury-time equaliser forced Rose to host a replay.

After five postponements the match finally went ahead at Harmworth Park on Wednesday night.

But the long midweek trek to Wick took its toll on the Rose squad with a number of key players unable to travel due to work commitments, which meant that long term injured Alex King found himself on the bench, as did goalkeeping coach Billy McAdam.

The home side made the stronger start as Linlithgow struggled to adapt to their new surroundings and Gary Weir poked a long ball towards Ally Adams, but it lacked power to trouble the Rose keeper.

A tactical switch from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2 allowed Rose to get a foothold as the game went on and Tommy Coyne twice blasted off target when he could have done better.

At the other end a Jamie Pickles shot from the edge of the penalty area was palmed clear by Adams.

Rose’s Gary Thom was the first player to be booked minutes later and Mackay’s resultant free-kick went straight to Adams.

With 26 minutes played, the Rose opened the scoring when a high ball downfield cleared the Wick defence and Colin Strickland ran onto the ball and slotted home in style.

Chris Gray was booked just after the half hour mark before Adams did well minutes later to punch away a shot from Richard Macadie.

But Wick squared the tie in the 39th minute.

Referee Don Robertson awarded the home side a penalty after Weir went down in the box under a challenge from Gray and Macadie stepped up and sent Adams the wrong way from the spot.

As half-time approached Rose should have retaken the lead when Strickland’s weighted pass presented Coyne with a one-on-one opportunity, but Wick’s Sean McCarthy spread himself well to make a crucial save, turning the ball out for a corner with his feet, to keep the scores level at half-time.

The Rose came out strong in the second half and within seconds had a goalbound shot cleared off the line by Farquhar.

But four minutes into the second period the visitors were back in front.

Coyne drove into the box and fired a low shot across goal which McCathy palmed wide, but Kevin Kelbie was on hand to bury a low shot into the corner of the net.

The longer the game went on the more the tension racked up, with clear-cut chances becoming fewer and further between; Linlithgow content to protect their lead by sitting back and hitting on the counter.

With just over 20 minutes remaining, Wick substituted Macadie with Allan. The Rose were playing well, keeping hold of the ball, and McCarthy needed to pull off a great save to deny Callum Robertson, tipping his ferocious shot over the bar.

In the 86th minute Wick’s Steven picked up a yellow card as the home side pushed for the equaliser which would earn them a trip to Prestonfield.

Adams would have been glad to have been experiencing a much quieter time in the second half than he had in the opening period.

But he needed to be at his best again in the 88th minute when Weir’s flick-on ran into the path of substitute Ross Allan whose shot was well blocked.

But with Wick throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the Linlithgow rearguard, they grabbed a dramatic equaliser well into stoppage time.

Rose failed to clear a high ball into their penalty area and Davie Allan latched onto a knock down and lashed the ball into the roof of the net, via the underside of the bar, from six yards.

In the final 10 seconds of the match, Strickland had a shot cleared off the line, but there was no time for a winner and the sides will have to do it all again at Prestonfield on Tuesday with a home tie against League 1 side Forfar Athletic the prize awaiting the winners in the fourth round.