LEITH ATHLETIC’S 100 per cent record in the East of Scotland League came to an end as two late goals from Spartans EOS earned Colin Tomassi’s men a 2-1 win.
The first half was a tight affair with Kai Wilson hitting the bar for Spartans while Lewis Martin and James Hainey went close for Athletic, who were looking to go 12 points clear at the top of the table.
Spartans’ Ger Rossi had to be replaced midway through the second half following a challenge by Athletic captain Gary Black, before Leith opened the scoring on 73 minutes when the in-form Sean Murphy angled a low drive home from the edge of the area.
But the home side equalised on 85 minutes when David Greenhill curled in a free-kick from the edge of the box. And the comeback was complete in injury time when Blair Atkinson finished at the back post.
The result moves Spartans to within six points of Athletic with a game in hand and Tomassi once again hailed the impact of his young guns in grinding out the victory.
“We had to dig deep and Leith can hurt you if you don’t concentrate at the back, so it was important to keep our shape and not lose focus” said Tomassi.
“Blair missed training on Thursday with an illness but he played a very important role on saturday and Chris Anderson was pushed further up as we were missing Andy Howat. It’s a big win for us considering we were missing a couple of bodies. Sean Stewart was also excellent for us and we had a few of the under-20 players on the bench so it all bodes well for the rest of the season.”
In the corresponding fixture last season, Spartans ended the Leithers’ 13-match unbeaten run with a 5-3 victory at Ainslie Park.
In Saturday’s other fixture, Civil Service Strollers bounced back from a 3-2 half-time deficit to triumph 5-3 over Stirling University at Christie Gillies Park.
A hat-trick from Jordan Finnie and two goals from Davy Stewart saw Strollers complete an impressive comeback.
“The second-half performance was much more like us and, if we can tighten up defensively, we’ll improve,” said Strollers boss Alex Cunningham as they prepare to face Whitehill Welfare in the Football Nation Qualifying Cup this weekend.
EoS CLUBS BOOK CUP TIES WITH LOWLAND LEAGUE OPPOSITION
Three East of Scotland League sides have booked dates with Lowland League opposition in the second round of the SFA South Region Challenge Cup.
Heriot-Watt-University shocked Gala Fairydean Rovers at Netherdale with a penalty shoot-out win following a 2-2 draw.
Chris Donnelly scored his 13th goal of the campaign after 15 minutes before Ryan Clapperton equalised for Gala on the half-hour mark. Liam Walker scored for the students midway through the second period but a late equaliser from David Knox took the game to penalties after Watt had missed a spot-kick in extra-time.
Watt keeper Alin Roman had a debut to remember as his two penalty saves helped his team triumph 4-3 in the shoot-out to clinch a second-round tie with Spartans.
Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale warmed up for their William Hill Scottish Cup second-round clash against Montrose this weekend with a 5-1 win over Hawick Royal Albert.
Strikes from Scott Gormley, Richie Wilkes, Dean Cummings, Willis Hare and Darren Smith ensured Lothian will face Edinburgh City in round two.
Ormiston were 3-2 victors at Coldstream, an occasion tinged with sadness for the hosts following the news of the passing of former secretary and treasurer Craig Wood.
Cameron Milne headed Ormiston into the lead but Coldstream equalised through James Scott on the stroke of half-time.
Michael Osbourne put Ormiston back in front on 81 minutes before Hagen Steele levelled matters with a penalty two minutes later.
Almost immediately, Ormiston broke away and when Declan Quinn was fouled, Chris Robertson converted the penalty to hand Ormiston a second-round tie at Preston Athletic.
There was disappointment for Craigroyston, however, as they fell to a 4-1 defeat at Duns, although Zack Williams netted for the second week running.