Broxburn Athletic captain Nicholas Locke thought his side were robbed of all three points and their fifth Super League victory on the trot by referee Stewart Luke’s decision to send off striker Zander Miller.
Striker Miller was shown his second booking seven minutes from time for dissent after voicing his displeasure at assistant referee Kian Gallacher, with his first yellow shown for a harsh handball. That evened the teams up at ten men each after Penicuik defender Darrell Young had earlier received his second booking.
The hosts went on to secure a deserved point with almost the last kick of the game when substitute Gary Hamilton shot in off the post to leave Broxburn gutted.
“It was devastating to lose a last minute goal, I think the boys deserved a wee bit more than that,” said Locke.
“We fought hard towards the end and we were throwing our bodies on the line. I think we should have scored a goal beforehand and controlled the game a little bit better when we were a man up.
“The referee has cost us the game a wee bit by sending our boy off; he had a bit of a disaster there. I don’t know where he got the injury time from at the end. It was a right kick in the teeth.”
Locke, usually a midfielder, was imperious as he deputised at centre half for Brian McNaughton’s men as they looked set to make it five shut-outs in succession.
Victory would have lifted Broxburn up to second in the table and Locke says their target has to be to end the season in the top three.
“A clean sheet would’ve made it five-in-a-row but it just wasn’t to be,” he continued. “It’s hard to take, it’s been a good run and three points would have been massive to take us up the table again.
“We’ve got a good set of boys. We’ve just not done as well as we could have the last few seasons. We’ll kick on, it’s not over until it’s over, we’ll push for Bonnyrigg and push for the top three at least.”
Broxburn striker Miller looked like being the matchwinner for the Albyn Park men having given them an early lead after eight minutes.
The former Bo’ness United forward found the top corner with a fine strike across goal which crept just out of reach of the fully spread Kyle Allison.
Penicuik volunteers had worked hard in the lead-up to ensure the pitch was playable. Despite conditions being difficult underfoot on a wet surface which cut up at ease, both sides tried to play football.
Sean Jamieson cracked a shot off the crossbar as Penicuik sought parity, before John MacDonald then found the woodwork with another shot from distance.
Lumbert Kateleza should have found the equaliser midway through the first half after a mix-up involving Broxburn goalkeeper Connor Wallace and defender Grant Gavin. The ball dropped at the feet of the striker, but with the goal gaping, somehow he shot over.
Sam Jones then found the side netting for the hosts as they ramped up the tempo in search of an equaliser before the break.
Penicuik suffered a setback in their search of a leveller when Young was sent off for dissent on 58 minutes after being booked in the opening half.
Broxburn continued to defend doggedly, with Penicuik unable to get in behind them. The visitors also carried a threat on the break with the pace provided by Kieran Anderson and Miller.
Miller looked set to get his second until a fine last ditch block from stand-in defender Callum Connolly, who stepped into the backline after Young’s sending off.
Miller then saw red, before Anderson’s free-kick brought out a stunning one-handed stop from Allison to deny Broxburn a second.
When it looked like it wasn’t going to be Penicuik’s day they finally got a break of the ball from Allison’s long punt, which came off a black shirt and landed at the feet of Hamilton who fired in.
Penicuik boss Johnny Harvey felt a point was the least his side deserved. “I’ve never really celebrated a draw, but I’m just happy because of the attitude of my players,” he said. “I think it would have been an injustice if we didn’t get anything from the game.
“For 83 minutes I thought we dominated the game. It was us that were on top and us that were pressing all the time. I was really surprised at how deep they sat.
“I’m really thankful for the supporters for the work they put in to get the game on. I thought we did magnificent on it considering.”
Penicuik Athletic: Allison, Forbes, Williams (Hamilton), Hume, Young, Connolly (Mendes), MacDonald (Baptie), Jones, Jamieson, Kateleza, Ponton.
Broxburn Athletic: Wallace, Gillen, Donaldson, Scott, Gavin, Linton, Locke, Miller, Murray (Beesley), Richards (Valentine), Anderson.