Spartans hang on in Star thriller

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NINE-MAN Spartans secured a hard-fought point in a thrilling 2-2 draw with Dalbeattie Star at a soggy Islecroft Stadium.

The Capital side started strongly and following a frantic first few minutes took the lead after just six minutes. Jack Beesley played a short corner to John Grant, who whipped the ball into the box where Danny Main rose high above the defence to bullet a header into the net.

Beesley forced Dalbeattie keeper Darren Martin into an excellent save with a strike from inside the box as Spartans looked to double their advantage.

At the other end Jamie Struthers had the ball in the net for Star but his attempt was ruled offside, much to the frustration of the home support. Spartans continued to put on the pressure however and Beesley was unfortunate to see his curling strike hit the bar and bounce clear in the 20th minute. On the half hour, another corner caused problems as Martin had to get his fingertips to the ball to clear. The ball fell to Cennerazzo who fired it along the front of the goal, just inches past the stretched leg of Danny Main.

Dalbeattie got themselves back on level terms after a goalkeeping error in the 35th minute. Scott Bennett dropped a cross right at the feet of Scott Milligan who poked the ball into the net. The goal gave the home side a boost and they started to come more into the game. Neither side were creating chances however as the majority of the play was taking place in midfield.

Spartans were awarded a penalty in the 68th minute when Willie Bremner was fouled in the box. Keith McLeod stepped up to fire home, sending Darren Martin the wrong way.

Dalbeattie pulled themselves level again however in the 80th minute as a long clearance caught out Spartans defender Danny Main which allowed Jamie Struthers to race clear and flick the ball over Scott Bennett in the Spartans goal.

As the game moved into injury time Spartans were reduced to nine men. Robbie Ross was initially warned for using his elbow when jumping for a ball. The referee changed his mind and decided to book the striker. Ross questioned the decision and was then shown a second yellow seconds after. John Grant was then shown a straight red card for allegedly swearing as he showed his frustration at a truly bizarre piece of refereeing. However, the visitors managed to hold on for the final few seconds and gained an important point on the road.

Dalbeattie Star: Martin, Wilson, Warren, Steele, Wells, Dunglinson, Cameron (Cook), Fergusson, Milligan (Robinson), Sloan, Struthers.

Spartans: Bennett, Grant, Cennerazzo, Sivewright, Main, Blaikie, Bremner (Beacher), Whatley, Henretty (Motion), McLeod (Ross), Beesley.