This CNR International League clash started slowly but was to reach a crescendo by the time the final whistle blew.
Cults took a fifth minute lead after fine work by Samuel Sandilands on the right.
His cross was cleared by the Harlaw defence but only as far as Lewis McDONALD. The first shot was blocked, but he picked up the loose ball to shoot over Jack King’s head and into the net.
Harlaw retaliated and from a free-kick well out, Benjamin Dalglish tested Ben Crawshaw. But the keeper was up to it and gathered confidently.
Sixteen minutes were played when Cults doubled their advantage. Chino Orisakwe sent a delightful pass in the direction of McDONALD who held off three defenders before rounding King and planting the ball in the empty net.
The deficit was reduced two minutes later in bizarre circumstances.
A long ball towards the Cults box saw Jack Turner and Ben Crawshaw get in a fankle and, under a challenge from Chris Aikamhenze, the former put the ball into his own goal.
The equaliser was only delayed by four minutes. A throw-in saw Aikamhenze through again but King saved well in conceding a corner. The flag kick was blocked, but when the ball came to Charlie STEWART he shot strongly and the ball took a deflection off Sandilands as it made its way into the net.
The half was almost ended when there was a nasty clash of heads but fortunately Harlaw’s Stephen Holland and Cults’ Lewis McDonald both recovered.
Cults began the second half in explosive fashion and restored a two-goal advantage within five minutes.
A weak clearance from Jack King in the second minute was gathered by Lyle INNES, who sent a low drive into the far side of the goal beyond the keeper.
Then a fine run down the right ended with Chino Orisawke firing the ball across for Charlie MILNE to finish in fine style.
A fifth Cults goal was only delayed. A fine spurt down the left by Grant Peddie gained a corner and when it came across, Lewis McDONALD sent a super drive into the roof of the net.
Once again, Harlaw were back in it quickly. Gary LIVINGSTONE gathered a smart throw and shot past Ben Crawshaw.
Benjamin Dalglish presented Jack McPherson with a chance but the ball went over. Then, with eight minutes left to play, a long ball out of defence saw Peddie put under pressure and he sent the ball past King.
Cults made changes and it looked to have paid dividends when, with four minutes left, another long ball saw Lewis McDonald test King. He did well to block the attempt, but the ball rebounded to MILNE who found the net.
Additional time was being played when hesitancy in the Cults defence saw Stephen HOLLAND find himself in plenty of space and he beat Crawshaw, for what most observers saw as a consolation strike.
Harlaw were not prepared to settle for defeat, however, and when there was a clip on a Harlaw forward in the box in the fourth minute of extra time, a penalty was awarded. Stephen HOLLAND made a good job of the spot kick and the sides were level.
The final whistle sounded seconds later amid scenes of great excitement or disappointment, depending on which side players and observers found themselves.
All in all it was a top class game with perhaps a share of the spoils the correct outcome. If nothing else, it keeps open the possibility of another contest between the two teams, should the league require a play-off.
HARLAW ACADEMY U13s: Jack King, Struan Lumsden, Leon Forbes, Mario Reynard, Benjamin Dalglish, Chris Aikamhenze, Charlie Stewart, Travis Reynard, Ryan Nicol, Stephen Holland and Gary Livingstone. Subs – Dylan Foote, Aidan McLagan, Jack McPherson, Archie Whyte and Sultan Ahmed.
CULTS ACADEMY U13s: Ben Crawshaw, Jack Turner, Harry Chalmers, Reis Webster, Grant Peddie, Chino Orisakwe, Samuel Sandilands, Charlie Milne, Lewis McDonald, Lyle Innes and Reid Hamilton. Subs – Keilan Bremner and Eli Whitelaw.
Referee – D Yule.