Defender Gary Cennerazzo is confident Spartans will remain in the title mix this season after holding league leaders Kelty Hearts to a 1-1 draw at New Central Park.
The champions arrived in the Kingdom of Fife having won just one of their previous six matches. The early exchanges saw neither team forge any clear-cut chances as a midfield battle broke out in horribly windy conditions.
A crowd of 545 watched on as the game finally began to open up and Kelty midfielder Stephen Husband registered the first attempt on goal, forcing keeper Blair Carswell into action.
The opening goal of the contest arrived for the visitors after 39 minutes when a corner from Scott Maxwell was met in the air by centre-back Blair Tolmie, who powered a header into the net. Barry Ferguson’s men were handed a lifeline with 20 minutes remaining when Maxwell was penalised for hauling down a Kelty player inside the penalty box. Husband stepped up and converted the spot-kick to set-up a tense end to the match.
Ex-Spartans hitman Errol Douglas came closest late on, but his header flew narrowly wide of the post.
Cennerazzo, back at Spartans for a second spell after recent stints playing in the United States and Czech Republic, felt a point was the least they deserved.
He said: “We’re satisfied with the result because it’s a difficult place to go. Kelty are a decent side and sit top of the table for a reason. It wasn’t the prettiest game at times, but both teams battled hard for a point. It was important to halt our slump in form. A couple of things have gone against us in recent weeks; some individual mistakes and not being clinical enough in front of goal.
“Luck seems to have evaded us, but this is a good point to build on and I’m confident we’re not far away from finding our top form again. It’s a big month for the team and we’ve got a lot of hard games coming up, so hopefully we can kick on now. We’re still in a good position, obviously we’d rather be sitting in pole position, but we’re confident we’ll stay in the hunt.”
The 28-year-old added: “I loved my time in America and the standard of football was of a high level – probably the equivalent to the Championship here,” Cennerazzo stated.
“There were some really good teams in the Czech Republic as well and I’ve got a lot of good memories that I’ll cherish for a long, long time. I’m happy to be back at Spartans now, though, and it would be great to help them win the title again and earn a crack at promotion.”
Meanwhile, Civil Service Strollers returned home empty-handed from their trip to face Edusport Academy, crashing to a 2-0 defeat at Galabank.
Goals from Jean Guy-Lucas and Matthew Flynn either side of the break sealed the points for the home side.
Whitehill Welfare picked up a much-needed point from their trip to Vale of Leithen, despite conceding a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw. Sean Lally opened the scoring for the visitors after eight minutes before Vale were reduced to ten men when David Bonnar was ordered off for a rash challenge on Kyle Mitchell.
The hosts levelled on the hour mark through Liall Smith’s free-kick, but Mitchell restored Whitehill’s lead with 15 minutes left. However, defender Paul Dickson headed home at the back post in the 89th minute to notch a share of the spoils.