Leith leave it late to grab point

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Leith Athletic 1

Spartans 1

Leith ATHLETIC belied their lowly Central Taxis Premier Division league position when they stunned leaders Spartans with a late equaliser from Lewis Tracey to grab a 1-1 draw.

Leith currently occupy second bottom spot and are a massive 32 points behind Spartans, but the point gained could yet save them from relegation, while Spartans could rue the loss of two valuable points as they strive to win the title for the fourth consecutive season.

Spartans started on the offensive and in the opening few minutes Keith McLeod shot wide before John Grant and Gavin Malin combined for Omar Kader to shoot high over the bar then Kader brought out a good save from Iain Gordon.

Spartans did take the lead in the tenth minute when a Kader corner was cleared only as far as the edge of the Leith penalty box. McLeod hit a powerful shot which was heading wide of the target until Chris Anderson directed the ball behind Gordon from eight yards.

Leith’s best effort was a Lewis Cairns free kick which Chris Flockhart held low to his left.

Spartans continued to dominate the possession and the chances with Malin shooting over before a Donal Henretty shot was pushed away by Gordon. Kader then missed an opportunity when he guided a Henretty cross past the post from close range.

It was a different Leith Athletic who appeared for the second half as they took the game to Spartans with substitute Jason Stevens causing problems for the visitors’ defence on the right flank.

Dougie Thom and Martin Macaulay both went close before Jack Combe headed over from a good position. However, Leith’s hopes were given a severe dent in the 70th minute when captain Gary Black was sent off after picking up his second yellow card for a trip on Kader. Combe missed another chance to equalise before Spartans rallied with McLeod and Anderson going close.

But Leith deservedly equalised two minutes from full time when a Steven Lynch free kick was headed into the danger area by Willie Bremner, and Tracey was handily placed to nod the ball into the net.

Derek Riddel, the delighted Leith manager, said: “I was very disappointed with the way we played in the first half because we gave Spartans too much time and respect and allowed them to play. We were probably lucky to go in only one down at half time.

“In the second half we rolled our sleeves up and worked hard to create chances. We then scored a good goal and in all honesty we could have snatched a win. The one point is extremely valuable and other results also went for us. We are in good form at the moment and that is seven games unbeaten.”

Sam Lynch, the Spartans co-manager, said: “I honestly thought that Leith fully deserved their point and all credit to them, although in the first half we could probably have been further ahead. There are no complaints from us and in the bigger picture that’s another point on the board.”

Leith Athletic: Gordon, Barrie (Stevens 46), Thom (Cornago 75), Lowson (Tainsh 60), Macaulay, Black, Cairns, Lynch, Combe, Bremner, Tracey. Subs: Tulloch, Manson.

Spartans: Flockhart, Grant, Donnelly, Sivewright, Seeley, Malin (Beesley 83), Kader, Manson, Anderson, McLeod, Henretty (Finnie 89). Subs: Wringe, O’Donnell, McTurk.

Referee: R. Kilgour