Albion Rovers were defeated in the fourth round of the Irn-Bru Cup, following a winner from the Buddies Lawrence Shankland in the first period of extra-time.
It was the perfect start for Rovers, a corner kick finding its way to Ross Dunlop inside the box, who lashed an effort into the bottom corner of the net.
It got even better for Rovers and just under ten minutes later, it was this time Michael Dunlop who found his way past St Mirren goalkeeper Jamie Langfield, with a bullet header.
Despite Rovers continuing to threaten on the counter, the Buddies’ Lewis Morgan gave St Mirren a lifeline, the youngster cutting onto his left foot before firing an unstoppable effort into the corner of Ross Stewart’s net.
Thereafter, Saints began to look fairly comfortable and the team most likely to score, which they did so just five minutes after their opener. Their leveller came through midfielder Stephen Mallan, the in demand 20 year old scoring a wonderful effort from 30 yards.
The Saints were in complete control and the comeback was complete just ten minutes after their opener, John Sutton beating Mick Dunlop in the air to loop a header into the back of the net from Tom Walsh’s cross.
The away sides lead was short-lived however, and just a minute later, the Dunlop’s were at it again – Mick Dunlop heading the ball down to Ross, who poked a shot into the corner of the net.
Half-Time: Albion Rovers 3-3 St Mirren
Although chances were much fewer compared to the first-half, Rovers did continue to look impressive whilst going forward, Ryan Wallace forcing Langfield into a number of vital stops.
The Rovers defence held strong, and despite the Buddies dominating in terms of possession for the last quarter, the game went into extra-time.
End of 90 minutes: Albion Rovers 3-3 St Mirren
Rovers almost had the perfect start to extra-time when player/manager Darren Young – who came on in the second-half – blasted over the bar, after a neat lay off from the hugely impressive Ross Stewart. It was an opportunity that Rovers would rue missing, with Lawrence SHankland nodding a header past Stewart from close-range.
With Rovers needing to pull one goal back and two to win the match, the task was made all the more difficult when Mark Ferry received his second yellow of the afternoon after a kick-out at Shankland.
Despite Rovers being awarded with a concession of corner-kicks in the closing minutes – with goalkeeper Ross Stewart also coming up – Alex Rae’s side held out for victory and progress into the next round of the Irn Bru Cup.
After Extra-Time: Albion Rovers 3-4 St Mirren
Albion Rovers: Stewart, Reid, Turnbull, M. Dunlop, R. Dunlop, Ferry, Fisher, Willis, Wallace (Gilmour 79), Stewart, McBride (Young 53).
Subs Not Used: Lightbody, Johnston, O’Kane, McManus, Potts (GK).
St Mirren: Langfield, Irvine, MacKenzie, Webster, Stewart (McDonald 46), Morgan, Hutton (Quinn 76), Mallan, Walsh, Sutton, Clarkson (Shankland 53).
Subs Not Used: Naismith, Baird, O’Keefe, Gallacher (GK).
Referee: Mike Roncone.
Assistant Referee: Alan Mulvanny.
Assistant Referee: Ivan Stankovic.
“It was a real classic cup-tie that one. It was frustrating to surrender our lead after a couple of wonder strikes from them, but fortunately we showed great character to get back into it again.
“I missed a guilt-edged opportunity to make it 4-3, then they go up and score so that was really frustrating.
“Overall though, I can’t really ask for any more from the players really. We were a wee bit walking wounded as well – which is probably why I needed to come on.
“The sending off I didn’t feel was needed, there was a little bit of handbags between Shankland and Ferry on the floor – one trying to get back up and other trying to hold him down – but the referee could’ve just had a wee word with them, but he sent off Fez and that kind of spoiled the game to be honest.
“But to take a Championship side to extra-time is definitely a positive we can take from the game.
“Usually though, if you score three goals at home you’d expect to win the game.
“Having said that, if we continue to show that fighting spirit, attitude and character in the league games then I don’t think we’ll be too far away from what we’re looking to do this season.”