Dumbarton moved into the third round of the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup with a 3-2 win over Banks O’Dee in a game that had just about everything.
Sons looked to be heading out of the competition for much of the afternoon as goals from Hamish MacLeod and Gary Wood had the Highland League side 2-0 up after 51 minutes.
However, a Tony Wallace penalty brought the hosts back into the tie before an injury to referee Ross Clark brought the match to a halt for 15 minutes.
That resulted in a call for a qualified official from the stand to report to the tunnel, a request which was answered by Sons season ticket holder Jordan Brownlee, who then took on the role of assistant referee with original linesman Cameron Telfer stepping up to referee for the remaining quarter of an hour.
In the 20 minutes plus of added time, Michael Ruth popped up with a brace to send Dumbarton into the third round of the competition on a day where three fellow League Two sides were knocked out of the competition by lower league opposition.
Boss Stevie Farrell was forced into a re-shuffle for the tie with a number of first-team players missing through injury.
Captain Mark Durnan was out with an ankle knock picked up in last weeks loss at Spartans with David Wilson and James Hilton also ruled out alongside long-term absentees Greig Young and Callum Wilson.
Durnan, Wilson and Kalvin Orsi were all out of the starting line-up with Finlay Gray, Ryan Blair and Ross MacLean handed starts.
The afternoon didn’t get off to the best of starts for the hosts with the Dee taking the lead inside the opening five minutes.
MacLeod found himself out on the left and was able to squeeze a shot away across goal that hit the inside of the post before finding the net.
It took a while for Dumbarton to fully get going against a well organised visiting side – who still looked a threat on the counter as they kept two strikers up top – but Carlo Pignatiello managed to dance through the defence on a couple of occasions with one shot blocked and another cross put behind for a corner.
A succession of set pieces for Sons followed as the game approached the half-hour mark with Ruth looking well positioned to shoot as he turned from close range, only for a superb intervention to prevent him from finding the net.
The hosts continued to look for an equaliser before the interval with two opportunities falling to Aron Lynas as he popped up at the back post to meet a cross with that effort blocked before the ball fell to him on the edge of the box, but his left footed strike was comfortable for Daniel Hoban to collect.
Despite all their possession, Farrell’s side hadn’t created a clear opportunity in front of goal and their task suddenly got twice as hard five minutes into the second-half.
Blair Malcolm lost out to Max Alexander in the final third and he advanced towards goal before squaring for Wood, who had the simple task of stroking the ball into the net.
Alexander should have put his name on the score sheet a minute later but he hit the post from close range in a miss that would turn out to be pivotal.
Kalvin Orsi and Ryan Wallace were introduced for the home side as they looked for a way back into the tie with Sean Crighton’s header missing the target and Pignatiello got in behind the defence to put a low ball across goal, but there was no Sons shirts waiting for an easy tap-in.
Dumbarton were handed a golden opportunity back into the game on 71 minutes when Gray was wiped out in the box and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Tony Wallace stepped up and found the net to reduce the deficit and swing the momentum in his sides favour.
Just a few minutes later, play was brought to a halt for 15 minutes as referee Clark was unable to continue and a call was issued for a qualified official.
Jordan Brownlee was the man who stepped up and became the standside linesman for the remainder of the afternoon as Cameron Telfer became referee.
After play resumed, there was another golden chance for the visitors to find a third but Kane Winton blazed over the bar from close range and a few minutes later he was made to pay.
Pignatiello and Orsi were having plenty of joy down the right and this time found the finishing touch when the formers delivery across goal was met by Ruth who slid the ball into the net.
Sons looked keen to get the job done in regulation time and found the winner on 102 minutes with Ruth heading in from Blair’s cross to put his sides name in the hat for Sunday’s third round draw.
After the excitement of the cup, league football resumes at the Rock in Dumbarton’s next outing with the visit of Bonnyrigg Rose.