Cumbernauld United battled back from two goals down to earn an important point from a 2-2 draw at Rutherglen Glencairn on Saturday.
The Super League First Division encounter at the Clyde Gateway Stadium got off to the worst possible start for the visitors as they conceded a goal in the first minute.
Goalkeeper Stevie McGuire, in for the injured Barry Fraser, lost control of a Glencairn effort and allowed home striker Mark Duffy to prod home.
This early opener shocked United and McGuire had to look sharp to prevent a second goal minutes later.
The Cumbernauld team were taking time to settle and skipper Ryan Sullivan had to make a timely clearance from the eager home forwards to save an addition to the Glencairn goal tally.
It was fully 25 minutes before United tested the Rutherglen goalkeeper Hutchison.
Following a visiting attack Scott McHaffie sent a tremendous shot at the home goal which saw Hutchison make a magnificent save to preserve the Glencairn lead.
In the 30th minute, however, United went further behind when an awkward bouncing ball was diverted off Ryan Sullivan to Glencairn’s Mark Batchelor who lobbed McGuire to put the home side two up.
A fine Mikey McLaughlin/Dylan McGuigan move produced a corner but Kris Irvine’s flag kick was plucked out of the air by Hutchison, preventing Ryan Sullivan from heading home.
Dale Clark then looked to be clean through on goal only to be beaten to the ball by the Glens ’keeper.
But United got the goal their play deserved in the 44th minute when, following a stramash at the edge of the Rutherlgen box, the ball broke to Ross Foley who calmly stroked it into the net.
Before the half-time whistle a James Brown throw was back headed by Steph McDonald, causing alarm in the Glens defence, and the ball broke to Davie Dickson who blasted over.
Buoyed by the goal prior to the interval, United began to play some good football.
Hoewever it was the home men who almost increased their lead with a goalbound effort which was cleared off the line by McLaughlin.
Dom O’Halloran replaced Irvine before Glencairn were reduced to 10 men, when Alan Muir received a second yellow card followed by a red card for a bad tackle on Dale Clark.
With a man advantage United were in control looking for an equaliser and Foley and Clark had shots saved.
With five minutes remaining manager John Queen replaced Steph McDonald with Stevie Mullen and this change was successful when the home keeper brought down Mullen in the penalty area.
Dale Clark coolly converted the spot kick to give United a hard earned draw although the Cumbernauld team were not at their best in the game.
It is to be hoped that the performance will be improved this Saturday when United travel to Blantyre to meet the local Vics in a league fixture, kick off 2pm.
The United supporters bus will leave Guy’s Meadow at 12.10pm and the town centre at 12.15pm.