Midfielder David Wilson’s first goal for the club helped Ardeer Thistle pull off the shock of the round as the Ayrshire League minnows KO’d Premier League giants Ashfield on their own patch.
The all-important strike arrived in the 38th minute when a terrific Ricky Allan corner from the right found Wilson, who gave his marker the slip before heading powerfully past keeper Stephen Hall from six yards.
It was no more than the visitors deserved as they had to withstand some early Ashfield pressure before battling their way back into the game.
The Glasgow outfit should have opened the scoring in 20 seconds when Tony Chalmers, who looked offside, was allowed to run on and shoot only for keeper Chris Lamb to turn the ball away for a corner.
The resultant flag-kick was cleared off the line and the rebound lashed over the bar, then Ashfield were unlucky again when another effort came back off the woodwork.
But, having survived the opening onslaught, Ardeer soon found their feet and, following a good spell of pressure, Derek Gemmell almost broke the deadlock when he shot just wide from the edge of the box.
Moments later, Wilson sent the noisy travelling support into raptures with that great headed goal but both teams were reduced to 10 men just before the break when referee David Dunne showed Ardeer’s Kevin Ramsay a straight red card for apparently stamping on Ashfield captain Mark Thomson who picked up a second yellow for retaliation.
A half-time tongue lashing from manager Stevie Rankin saw Ashfield throw everything at their opponents after the break.Ardeer were pressed back into defence, and Chalmers wasted a great chance to equalise when he fired over from inside the box.
As time wore on and the Ardeer defence began to grow in confidence, a cup shock looked on the cards.
An increasingly desperate Rankin sent on big guns Chris Hall, Shaun Fraser and Paul Maxwell who had been rested for the game and Hall made an immediate impact with a fierce shot which was blocked by Lamb before falling to Chris McCann, who turned the loose ball home but was correctly ruled offside.
Lamb was the hero again with a terrific save from a Hall header, then the Ardeer keeper cut out a series of corners as Ashfield chucked everything at the visitors.
Lamb was eventually beaten by a Shaun Fraser shot in the dying seconds but Ardeer substitute Craig Breen saved the day with a last-ditch clearance which would see Ardeer safely into the fourth round.