The Thistle travelled the short distance to face Stirling and District AFA Champions, Stenhousemuir AFC in the second round of the Scottish Cup.
In a tough, physical encounter, it was the visitors who impressed early in the contest. However, as the first half ebbed and flowed, the home side eventually gained more possession and threatened on the attack.
On 32 mins, Thistle had the ball in the net when Heeps played in Orr but the referee adjudged the latter to be offside.
Into the second half, Thistle’s superior fitness had a significant impact on proceedings. Heeps carved out a one-on-one sitiation with the keeper, who he rounded. With an open goal and the travelling Linlithgow support already celebrating, the ball bobbled at the crucial moment and the on-fire striker poked wide. This seemed to galvanise the players and the much deserved goal came on 63 mins. Orr worked hard and through a hard challenge, the ball broke to captain marvel, G Deans who calmly lifted the ball over the out rushing keeper.
The home side were given a fortuitous penalty on 76 mins after the ball glanced off the Cruickshanks’ arm from short range. It was neatly converted.
The game turned to drama with ten minutes remaining. Orr again played in G Deans who battled hard to slide the ball beyond the keeper. With defenders scrambling to clear the ball, poacher Heeps nipped in to smash the ball over the line. A couple of minutes later, Orr was tripped in the box and a penalty was awarded. The resultant kick was disappointing, with the keeper saving with ease.
Then, as the match approached full time, Stenhousemuir floated a freekick into the box. From 4 yards, the striker flicked the ball into the net to secure a replay at Kettil’stoun Mains next Saturday.
The Thistle turned in a colossal performance but just failed to kill the game. In contests involving class opposition, chances have to be taken. However, the Linlithgow side will go into the replay full of confidence.