Edinburgh City manager James McDonaugh was disappointed his players were unable to extend their lead over Saturday’s opponents Berwick Rangers to four points.
Despite having the lion’s share of possession at Shielfield Park, the Capital club needed a second-half equaliser from Ashley Grimes to salvage a 1-1 draw after Jack Hamilton had given the hosts a fortuitous lead ten minutes after the half-time interval.
However, the gap between the SPFL League Two clubs remains a solitary point leaving City, crucially, ten points better off than relegation play-off-threatened Cowdenbeath at the foot of the table.
“We’re disappointed not to have won the game as I thought we were the better side,” McDonaugh said. “I thought we edged the first half. We had four or five corner kicks in the first 15 minutes. It wasn’t a great game of football as the pitch didn’t allow for that but I always thought we were the team on the front foot.
“I was pleased with the response as the boys came in for a bit of criticism on Tuesday night after the defeat by Clyde as we didn’t do well enough and I told them that.
“Their goal was an uncharacteristic mistake from Calum [Antell] but I thought we edged it. We’re the team away from home so we’ll take the point but I’m disappointed not to have won the game.
“They look quite happy with the point too. It’s another game down and another game towards the end of the season.”
McDonaugh must rally his troops for their sixth game in the space of 17 days as he takes his side to promotional play-off hopefuls Stirling Albion tomorrow night. The former Hibs youth coach conceded the amount of games in such a short space of time has taken its toll on some of his squad.
“In January we were going out with the same 11 or 12 players as we had a few injuries but it’s good to have some more bodies back now,” he said. “I think having that extra game on the Tuesday has been a big ask for some of them and that has been reflected in some of our performances. We’ve been fairly decent on the Saturdays but on Tuesdays against Cowdenbeath and Clyde, for example, we’ve maybe just been a wee bit off it.”
The least said about the first half at a sun-kissed Shielfield Park the better. A snap-shot from Berwick captain Steven Notman that flashed wide of Antell’s right-hand post was as good as it got in terms of goalmouth action.
However, Antell didn’t look too clever at the home side’s opener ten minutes into the second half. With little sign of danger following a long ball out of the Berwick defence, the Welshman got into a tangle with team-mate Pat Scullion and the ball ran through for Hamilton to knock into the empty net.
Former City striker Ousman See then saw his tame effort gathered by the City No.1 before the visitors drew themselves level.
A long throw into the Berwick penalty box caused panic in the home side’s rearguard and there was Grimes to guide a controlled finish into the bottom corner from 12 yards.
Cameron Blues had a great opportunity to fire City into the lead just a minute later but the midfielder completely miscued his shot.
The Borders outfit then had a late appeal for a penalty waved away by referee Duncan Williams following John Dunn’s tackle on Paul Willis.
Berwick Rangers: McCrorie, Orru, Notman, Willis, Phillips, Stewart, O’Kane, Wilson, Hamilton (Murrell 84), Todd, See (Lavery 73). Subs: Brennan, Fleming, Thomson, Murrell, Petkov, Cook.
Edinburgh City: Antell, Laird, Thomson, Blues, Beattie (Rodger 24), Grimes, El Alagui, Dunn, Garcia Tena, Scullion, Taylor (Trialist 77). Subs: Morton, McKee, Hall, Watson.
Referee: Duncan Williams