Strollers went into this Miller Cup 2nd round tie on the back of a poor run of results and were expected to lose heavily to a Cramond side a division above and sitting 2nd in that league.
Strollers lined up in a 4-4-2 formation with veteran stalwart Mcdermid back in goals, Carson was right back, Tommy Reid was back in at left back, Searl stepped into centre half alongside Jamieson. Clement was right midfield on his 2nd consecutive start after a long term injury with a centre midfield pairing of Dave Allan and Dean Thomson with Langstaff on the left of midfield. Gage and Burden started upfront for the 2nd consecutive game.
Strollers started the game well and took an unexpected lead when Clement was desperately unlucky to see his 30 yard free-kick come back off the post, it rebounded kindly to Jamieson who cooly slotted the ball into the net for his first Strollers goal.
Strollers had something to hold onto and the work-rate and attitude of the lads was much improved than the previous few weeks games, everyone was working for each other and staying positive to try and cause a huge upset against a Cramond side who clearly felt they shouldnt even be on the same pitch as the Strollers players.
The Strollers defence were defending heroically against waves of Cramond attacks and goalkeeper Mcdiarmid pulled off a string of fine saves.
Cramond got level in the 25th minute when a nice team move was finished off leaving Mcdiarmid with no chance.
In previous weeks the Strollers heads would have went down and they would have went on to lose heavily, however they showed grit and determination to fight their way back into the game. The central defensive pairing of Searl and Jamieson were working brilliantly allowing the Cramond strikers very little time and space.
Cramond eventually took the lead just before half-time, however the Strollers were unfortunate not to go in level as Thomson went close with 2 headers, both from Gage's long throws. First he headed wide and then moments later the Cramond keeper produced a fantastic stop to prevent Thomson opening his account for the season. Thomson was having probably his best game of the season in the heart of the midfield for the Strollers and was linking up well with Dave Allen who was also having a very good game.
Half time LBG Strollers 1 - 2 Cramond
Strollers went into the 2nd half on the back of a very positive half-time team talk by Mcdiarmid. Mcdiarmid was having a terrific game in goal and showing how much the Strollers have missed him since his retirement. This was his first game in 8 months.
Cramond were having the lions share of possession in the 2nd half but not really creating much, Mcdiarmid had a few saves to make and their was last gasp defending, Reid was dealing brilliantly with the fast Cramond winger.
Strollers grabbed an equaliser with 15 minutes to go when Thomson scored an absolutely unbelievable goal. There looked little danger when Tommy Reid's brilliant pass found Thomson out wide, however Thomson let the ball bounce before unleashing a brilliant volley from a tight angle into the far corner off the far post and in.
The game petered out a little however a magnificent block from Langstaff stopped Cramond from grabbing a late winner.
Full Time LBG Strollers 2 - 2 Cramond
The game went into extra-time and Strollers made their first change, Burden coming off for Raeburn.
Cramond took the lead with their first attack of extra-time, the winger racing past numerous Strollers players before cutting back, Langstaff was unfortunate in trying to cut the ball out and the Cramond player tapped in at the far post. It was tough to take for the Strollers who had put so much into the game, Cramond had another couple of chances to grab a clinching goal but didnt take them before drama at the end when Gage had 2 chances with free-kicks from the edge of the box however the striker could not take either of them and Strollers went out of the cup in this 2nd round tie.
It was a performance that Strollers can take a lot of encouragement from, particularly the performances of Man of the Match Tommy Reid, John-Paul Jamieson, Aaron Searl and Dean Thomson who were all excellent. If the Strollers put in the same effort in the league for the remainder of the season they should find themselves climbing the table very soon.