Motherwell Under 20s came back from two behind to draw against Dunfermline, but left wondering how they didn’t take all three points.
The Steelmen were two down when former Hamilton and Hearts wide man David Hopkirk grabbed a double to put his side in a commanding lead.
However, ‘Well were creating chance after chance throughout, and when David Clarkson pulled one back with twenty-five minutes left to play, the comeback was on.
Countless chances came and went before sub Dylan Mackin flicked home a Cadden cross with three minutes left on the clock.
Incredibly, ‘Well created and missed five more chances after that goal, and left Airdrie scratching their heads at how they only managed a single point.
Stephen Craigan was able to call on the likes of Dom Thomas, Kieran Kennedy and David Clarkson, but also had David Ferguson, Chris Cadden and Luke Watt, both of whom having limited first-team experience.
The Pars had several recognisable names including the aforementioned Hopkirk, former Accies and Dundee front man Mickaël Antoine-Curier and ex Rangers and Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Rhys McCabe.
The Pars made a positive start and Hopkirk flashed a shot over the bar inside the opening sixty seconds. However, he wouldn’t be denied ten minutes later when he put his side ahead.
Ryan Wallace picked up on a loose Thomas pass and he quickly threaded a neat ball in behind Watt for the wide man who drilled through PJ Morrison to give his side the lead.
It took the Steelmen 27 minutes to really test the Pars’ goal and it took an incredible save from Cammy Gill to deny Kennedy from close range. The former Man City and Leicester defender got on the end of Thomas cut back, but his close range effort was somehow tipped onto the frame of the goal from the Pars stopper.
From the resulting corner, the keeper was again in action, tipping a Clarkson header over for a corner.
Pars were content to sit in and hit on the counter, and they almost did just that when Hopkirk collected a long pass before firing just wide.
However, it was only a temporary reprieve as ‘Well were soon on the attack again, creating chances. Ryan Watters curled over, Clarkson had a shot at goal blocked on route for a corner, Ferguson could only aim a shot straight at Gill after Kennedy’s header across goal and Watt had a long-range hit bounce wide of target.
The second half began much in the same vein as the first ended, with the Steelmen having wave after wave of attack. Clarkson’s downward header, following a Watters cross from the right, again forced Gill to save well before Kennedy again went close with a near post header from a Thomas corner.
Then, incredibly, Dunfermline doubled their advantage, again on the counter. Hopkirk, who had just returned to the pitch following a head clash with Kennedy, found himself one-on-one with the ‘Well defender. He cut inside before curling a lovely effort high past Morrison, giving the hosts a mountain to climb.
Stephen Craigan made a double sub, introducing both Dylan Mackin and Allan Campbell in place of David Turnbull and Ryan Watters.
Dom Thomas almost pulled his side level, sending a low teasing cross across goal with no takers. Soon after, a Kennedy header was blocked on route before a Clarkson effort was again turned around by the resilient Pars backline.
However, the hard work was eventually paid off in the shape of a goal in the 65th minute. Campbell released Cadden down the right with a nice pass, only for the midfielder to pull it back for Clarkson on the edge of the area. He took a touch away from his marker before drilling hard and low into the net.
‘Well then proceeded to pepper the home goal, creating chance after chance after chance. Mackin almost levelled within a minute of that Clarkson goal, but his low shot was well held by Gill.
Robbie Leitch then had a shot held by Gill before a the same player’s cross hit a hand on route, but despite loud protests from the Claret and Amber men, the best they got was a corner.
From the resulting kick from the quadrant, Thomas’ ball found Kennedy, but his header came back off the frame of the goal for the second time.
Thomas then had a shot that was headind for the corner before yet another Pars sliding block before Craigan’s men hit the woodwork for a third time. Cadden’s cross was punched out by Gill, landing at the feet of Leitch. His lobbed effort hit the bar and dropped over, much to the disbelief of everyone inside the ground.
Finally, Motherwell got themselves level and it was top-scorer Mackin who scored the important goal. Cadden was again involved, his cross from the right found the striker and he flicked it past Gill to make it 2-2.
With just minutes left on the clock, ‘Well had several chances to win it. Mackin had a good low shot saved by Gill again before the big striker was so close to connecting with a Thomas pass but it rolled just wide of target.
Incredibly, Dunfermline almost robbed a winner when both McCabe and Byrne were denied by good goalkeeping from Morrison, but that wasn’t the end of the chances.
Mackin had another deflected shot that was spectacularly turned around by Gill, before the resulting corner again found the big striker but he headed wide when a goal seemed certain.
It was an astonishing finish to the game – another scintillating Under 20s game that had a bit of everything.
Motherwell: Morrison, Watt, McMillan, Ferguson, Kennedy, Turnbull (Campbell – 59mins), Watters (Mackin – 59mins), R. Leitch, Clarkson, Thomas, Cadden
Subs Not Used: Long, J.Moore, Falconer, Maguire, MacLean