If Edinburgh City do fall short in their quest to be crowned Ladbrokes League Two champions this season, then there’s one fixture they’ll look back at with particular regret.
The Citizens make the trip across the Border tomorrow to play bottom-of-the-table Berwick Rangers. However, it was their last jaunt to Shielfield Park in the final days of 2018 that continues to eat away at James McDonaugh’s men.
Two goals to the good with little more than a couple of minutes remaining, Lewis Barr’s strike in the 88th minute caused panic in the City defence. And three points quickly became one as the home side’s John Neill pounced in the fourth minute of added-time to snatch an unlikely draw.
Midfielder Andrew Black still remembers that day as if it was yesterday, the 23-year-old insisting there is no margin for error this time round as the Capital side try to overhaul leaders Peterhead’s five-point gap at the top.
“These sorts of games do sometimes come back to haunt you and that one at Berwick definitely stands out,” Black explained. “It was definitely two points dropped as we were in cruise control and dominated the match so it’s one of those that you want to make sure doesn’t happen again.
“The gaffer made that clear immediately after the game and put it in no uncertain terms that it can’t happen again. But, if you look at Peterhead, they lost down there recently so it just shows that it doesn’t matter what end of the table you are competing at. But that isn’t an excuse. We should never be 2-0 up with just a couple of minutes left and end up drawing.
“The fact that Berwick have now gone to the bottom means it’s a huge game for them too. They are fighting for their lives down there so they will be desperate for the points. It was never going to be an easy game but that result on Tuesday night (Albion Rovers defeated Cowdenbeath 1-0) has probably just made it a lot more difficult for us. There’s a lot at stake for both teams.
“If you had said at the start of the season that we’d still be in with a chance of winning the league with six games to go then we would have taken it.”
Black is honest enough to admit it’s very much a case of the what if. He is also mindful that after a disappointing first period from City in last weekend’s top-of-the-table clash against the Blue Toon, the gap at the top could have been far greater.
He said: “We could have been a couple of goals down if it wasn’t for [goalkeeper] Callum Antell last week but we were definitely the better side in the second half. We’ve played Peterhead four times and we haven’t lost to them.
“But there’s no point in being negative about it. It will be an exciting end to the season and the gaffer has reminded us that it’s not too often that you’re trying to win a league title in your career. It’s not in our hands anymore but that might not be a bad thing.
“We have to take six points from these next two games at Berwick and Cowdenbeath if we have any intention of winning the league and that’s no disrespect to those teams. With Peterhead playing Clyde next weekend something has got to give there too.
“I knew Clyde wouldn’t rest on their laurels with the points deduction so they’re right back in the mix. We just need to concentrate on ourselves.
“I still think there would be that disappointment if we were to end up in the play-offs though having been top for so long.”