Buckie Thistle and East Kilbride are each looking to follow in the footsteps of Edinburgh City, by winning promotion to the Ladbrokes SPFL. But the pair proved impossible to split during an exciting first leg at Victoria Park in the Pyramid play-offs.
The Highland League hosts took the lead on nine minutes, as midfielder Chris Angus volleyed home superbly.
And the Jags doubled their advantage just after the half-hour mark, after Angus was fouled by EK’s Fabio Capuano – with Sam Urquhart netting from the spot.
However, some inspired play from Portuguese forward Joao Vitoria pulled the Kilby back into contention late in the opening period, as he set up former Queen’s Park midfielder Paul Woods, who calmly slotted home.
EK continued to build up momentum but spurned a host of good chances before finally grabbing a much-deserved equaliser on 84 minutes, as towering teenager Russell McLean nodded home.
That leaves things finely balanced ahead of the return leg at K Park on Saturday.
But Kilby boss Martin Laughlan was in confident mood at full time, telling The Scotsman: “On our own surface we’ve not lost many games so I’m always confident at home.”
Whoever does make it through, they’re likely to find themselves up against Cowdenbeath, with the Blue Brazil currently three points adrift with a game remaining in League 2.
With this pair having chalked up a combined 219 goals in the regular season, either club will prove a very stern test for Gary Locke and co.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing