Edinburgh City boss James McDonaugh admitted it was déjà vu after his team conceded a 95th-minute equaliser against League Two play-off chasing Stirling Albion.
Having twice gone ahead through Scott Shepherd and then Gareth Rodger – Danny Jardine having restored parity during the first half – City were on course for all three points until Neil McLaughlin bundled home in the fifth minute of stoppage time to earn a share of the spoils.
It was a damaging blow for McDonaugh and his coaching team who had watched bottom side Cowdenbeath snatch a late leveller to cancel out Graham Taylor’s strike just four days beforehand.
Saturday’s stalemate saw City move a point clear of Berwick in eighth ahead of the Capital side’s visit to Shielfield Park this weekend. However, McDonaugh and his players have tomorrow night’s visit of Clyde to contend with first.
“It’s very frustrating and the late goals we’ve lost have deflected away from a lot of good things in the last couple of games and we just end up concentrating on what happened in the last few minutes of the game,” a disappointed McDonaugh said.
“It’s one of those things where it only becomes a problem once it happens and it sticks in your mind. We’ve thrown away four points in the space of five days. It would be a feeble excuse to say whether the referee should have played as much injury time as he did. If he decides to play 92 minutes or 96 minutes you’ve got to play until the game is finished.
“The boys are sitting in there deflated but that’s four games we’re unbeaten and that’s something that Edinburgh City don’t do too often. There are plenty positives to build on and that’s not sugarcoating the fact that we need to stop conceding late goals.”
McDonaugh, however, rightly praised his players for more than matching a team who are flying high in third.
“It wasn’t a classic as the wind made it really difficult for the players to get down and pass the ball,” he said. “I don’t think there was anything in the match so I definitely think we deserved the point. I think we did enough to warrant being in front against a team who have been going really well.
“You’ve got to remember we were a team who couldn’t score a goal and were 15 points behind Berwick in January and now we’re one point ahead.”
Stirling striker Peter MacDonald’s header ruffled the top of the net following a cross from the left as the visitors went in search of the breakthrough on a bitterly cold afternoon.
However, Shepherd continued his recent goalscoring spree with the opening goal after 25 minutes, latching on to a long ball and shrugging off the attention of former Hearts defender Darren Barr to coolly lob the advanced Cammy Binnie and into the net.
But City’s lead was to last just seven minutes, MacDonald again showing his prowess around the penalty box to set up Jardine who rifled a low shot from 20 yards beyond Calum Antell.
The second half burst into life 12 minutes from time as Graham Taylor’s corner fell kindly to Rodger who stabbed home from just a couple of yards to restore the Capital side’s lead.
Then, with just seconds to spare, Ewan McNeil’s in-swinging corner clipped the front post and McLaughlin duly applied the finish much to the dismay of those in yellow.
Edinburgh City: Antell, Walker (Dunn 67), Laird, Thomson, Blues, Hall (Beattie 71), Rodger, Taylor, Shepherd (El Alagui 71), Garcia Tena, Scullion. Subs: McKee, Grimes, Watson, Morton.
Stirling Albion: Binnie, McGeachie, Hamilton (Smith 77), McNeil, Barr, Moon (Kavanagh 73), McLaughlin, Jardine, MacDonald (Little 80), Robertson, Dickson. Subs: Noble, Caddis, Banner, Wight.
Referee: Alan Newlands