Ardencaple Amateurs let slip a 3-2 lead to lose 4-3 at home to crack Premier Division side Eastfield in a stormy M&M Cinema Cup tie on Saturday which saw the hosts finish with nine men.

Although Caple were missing a few players with longer-term injuries, the hosts were still able to field a strong XI and, unusually, had the luxury of a full complement of five substitutes.

Torrential overnight rain made for heavy conditions on the Navy Pitch in Rhu, and both sides opted to try and get the ball into the opposition half as quickly as possible on a surface which wasn’t exactly conducive to silky football.

Ardencaple took a deserved lead in the second-round tie after 10 minutes following a penetrating run down the right and cross by Gary McKell; the visitors failed to clear their lines, and Brian Harkin curled a fantastic shot into the top corner from the edge of the box.

Caple continued to press, but Eastfield were more than capable of launching counter-attacks and causing problems for the home defence, and the Cumbernauld side equalised just before half time when Caple keeper Kyle Furphy made a brilliant save to keep out a 20-yard free kick, but couldn’t prevent Eastfield’s striker lashing home the loose ball.

Both sides started the second half brightly and it was the visitors who edged ahead courtesy of a powerful header from a corner kick taken from the left.

But Caple knew they were still very much in the game and forced an equaliser when Shaun Wallace retained possession wide on the left before delivering an inch-perfect cross into the box for Ross Jeffrey to calmly guide the ball past the helpless Eastfield keeper.

A few minutes later and Jeffrey was on target once again, this time beating his defender inside the box and drawing the advancing goalie before knocking it past him to make it 3-2.

But despite holding the upper hand, Caple’s hopes of holding on to their lead were thwarted after a very harsh penalty award which left players from both sides stunned – though Eastfield’s number 10 kept his head to level the tie from the penalty spot.

And a few minutes later the same player latched on to a loose ball on the edge of the box and fired his shot through a crowded penalty area into the far corner to put the visitors 4-3 up.

Caple found it hard to control their frustration in the closing stages, and tempers soon flared, with the referee finding it hard to control the game.

Any hopes Caple still had of levelling a thrilling tie were dealt a terminal blow when the man in the middle reduced the home team first to ten men and then to nine, with Brian Harkin and David Holborn both picking up soft second yellow cards in quick succession.

Team: Furphy, Mallett, Cameron, Marshall, Hyslop, McKell, Holborn, Cavana, Harkin, Wallace, Jeffrey. Subs: Louden, Hassan, Angus, Livingston, McAreavey.

Both sides now look forward to the third round of the West of Scotland Cup this weekend, with Eastfield hosting current Scottish Cup holders Shortlees from Ayrshire, and Caple on their travels again to meet Tynecastle AFC.