Leith Athletic 97s paid the price for failing to convert their chances after Spartans FC Whites fought back to salvage a 1-1 draw at Leith Links.
Both SERYFA Division 2 sides have started the new season well and were hoping to continue their good run of form. Spartans substitute Fraser Hutton was the hero for grabbing a late equaliser after cancelling out Dale Maitland’s first-half opener – the Leith striker later sent off for a second booking.
Spartans coach David Hiddleston paid tribute to the commitment of his players who gave their all for the full duration of the match.
He said: “Our boys were well organised and we were never out the game so I think we deserved to get something. We have made a good start to the season and it’s great as we’ve had these boys at the club since they were five and have developed them as footballers.”
However, Leith’s Gary Colbert was less than pleased with the final outcome and claimed the referee’s performance left a lot to be desired.
Colbert said: “We had 90 per cent of the game and couldn’t finish so we’ve let them (Spartans) off the hook with a chance at the end. I don’t think the referee allowed the game to flow at all and at the end he lost the plot with some terrible decisions. But fair play to Spartans, they kept plugging away and got a point in the end.”
The home side’s early pressure took its toll on the Spartans defence when Maitland grabbed the opener after 15 minutes. Darrell Oag’s free-kick from just inside the Spartans half picked out an unmarked Maitland at the back post and he had the simplest of tasks in knocking the ball in from close range.
Despite Leith looking the most attack minded, Spartans were just as committed across the pitch and grabbed an equaliser with eight minutes remaining. A simple ball into the box was met by a composed Hutton who showed great agility to loop a header over Johnston and into the back of the net from inside the penalty area.
Leith looked as if they might have turned one point into three in the dying moments when Oag’s attempted cross clipped the underside of the bar and bounced down on the goal line, but there were no takers to poke the ball in and goalkeeper Campbell Thomson gathered.
Leith Athletic 97s: Campbell Johnston, Josh Reynolds, Ryan Colbert, Darrell Oag, Keith Turner, Christopher Slater, Jesse Tucker, Leighton Paterson, Dale Maitland, Patrick Ryan, Lewis Robertson, Jack Watt, Murray Dickson, Brandon Brammer, Wayne Benson.
Spartans FC Whites: Josh Thomson, Luca Vita, Aidan Smith, Jordan Lock, Rory Martin, James Hamilton, Ryan Crombie, Eoghann Douglas, Gavin Gross, Pietro Gagiardini, Michael Cameron, Daniel Hiddleston, Struan Robertson, Fraser Hutton, Lewis Christie, Matthew Young.