Premier league high fliers Cowie Thistle provided stiff opposition for Halliburton in the AFC Trophy 2nd Round.
Halliburton, with games in hand, top their own league so the scene was set for an epic encounter.
Halli had one no show, two Pittodrie spectators and one offshore. Add to that Mutch struggling with flu and Webster scheduled to arrive late then not the best of preparation for the home side.
But they burst into the game straight from the off. A corner was forced inside 2 minutes but well defended by Cowie. After 6 minutes K Jaques was taken late and N Duncan swung in the free kick. It was unchallenged making life easy for giant centre back Mathews who cleared for a corner.
When that was delivered the ball appeared to be cleared and as play moved upfield the referee awarded a penalty kick, much to the surprise of all involved. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth up stepped Laing to make it 1-0.
This prompted a period of sustained pressure from the visitors.
K Jaques had a half chance when the ball fell to him but he was leaning back and blasted over the top. Halliburton were matching their Premier opponents and produced a superb play when they cleared from a Cowie corner kick. K Jaques collected and found Laing with a searching pass. He held it up and played a one two but K Jaques shot straight at keeper Valentine.
In 18 minutes a huge let off for Halli after Sct Marlow made a mess of challenging for a ball in from the left. He called for it but got nowhere near it, N McDonald bailing him out with a hooked clearance off the line.
Halli’s Wilson had a decent opportunity when he raced onto a Mutch pass, only to hesitate and square when a shot would have been better.
Mid way through the half Cowie were pressing and Simpson got in the way of a shot to head over the bar for the first of two corners in quick succession.
R Fulton of Halli and Cahill of Cowie received yellows before Mr Barrowman blew for the break.
Neither side made any changes at the break but Halliburton were warned to expect Cowie to press from the start.
In 51 minutes a freak goal levelled the proceedings. Credit to Cahill who did well to collect and turn at the edge of Halli’s box, but his low shot took a huge deflection off N Duncan and flew into the top corner giving Sct Marlow no chance.
The visitors took the lead in 66 minutes. A ball up the left caught S Jaques flat and when it was squared, Watson fired home.
Halli levelled a minute later. Webster collected and fed K Jaques up the line. His cross was knocked back to the keeper but his clearance was poor and straight to Wilson. He picked out Laing who controlled looked up and slammed it into the net.
The referee missed a free kick which resulted in a yellow each for Laing and G Fulton, but Halli were stunned seconds later as the referee called back G Fulton and brandished a Red only to completely rescind it and shove it back in his pocket!
As 90 minutes approached it was Cowie that had the last chance, however Adie sclaffed it harmlessly wide.
Extra Time started with the visitors taking the lead after only three minutes. Halli fell asleep when a free kick was chipped into the box and Watson glanced it home.
R Fulton had an unrealistic effort from the halfway line, prompting a volley of disgruntled comments all around.
In 94 minutes, Marlow saved well off a header then G.Fulton defended well against Irvine. Brown came on for R.Fulton in midfield in 101. K Jaques sent a snap shot over the top after a G Fulton free kick landed at his feet. Halli had a number of chances to level the game in the final 15 minutes.
Robertson fell over allowing Laing in on goal but the striker could only fire straight at Valentine, who was quickly off his line.
Link play saw K Jaques set up Webster who rifled a low shot just wide. Brown sent in a good ball but poor control from Wilson saw the chance gone and the game ended 2-3.
Halli had a number of big chances in the last 15 minute but it was not to be.