Edinburgh University boss Dorian Ogunro felt his side more than deserved their 1-1 draw with Lowland League champions Spartans at Ainslie Park.
Jack Guthrie’s late header earned a point for the students despite Spartans having chances to win the match after Jack Beesley’s first-half strike. But Ogunro believes his team were well worth a share of the spoils in an encounter where both sides finished with ten men.
“I thought the first half was pretty even, but maybe some things didn’t go our way,” he said. “Their goal was a mistake – our goalkeeper should have caught the ball, I think he was in two minds but I don’t know why. I don’t think we deserved to be 1-0 down. Second half they had a good spell for about 15-20 minutes when they were on top but we were quite strong.
“While they had chances I never really felt hugely threatened or overwhelmed and we came back into it and got a deserved equaliser. Looking at the whole game, I’m disappointed that we didn’t get more out of it.”
This one took a while to get going, with both sides having spells of possession without really testing either goalkeeper. The breakthrough came after half an hour and was the first real incident of note, coming when Spartans were down to ten men for around seven minutes after John Grant’s injury. It didn’t hinder them as Beesley tapped in after Willie Bremner’s shot was fumbled by Uni keeper Asher Tufail.
Uni came close six minutes later but Ross Patterson’s free-kick produced a smart stop from Kevin Swain low to his right. Patterson had another effort from distance just on half-time, but his dipping shot from 30 yards bounced wide of Swain’s right-hand post.
Spartans pushed for a second which would have likely sealed it after the break, and Beesley’s 53rd-minute cross required Tufail to tip the ball over to prevent it drifting in under the crossbar. Bremner was then denied by an excellent save from Tufail after a defensive mix-up presented him with a great chance, before Keith McLeod’s lob landed on the roof of the net.
It seemed as if Spartans would grind their way to the three points, only for Uni to level just seven minutes from time. From a free-kick on the left, Patterson sent in a wicked delivery and Guthrie used the pace on the ball to glance a header past Swain, who could barely react before the ball zipped into the far corner.
The game ended with a flashpoint which saw Hamish Flett shown a second yellow for a foul on McLeod, and the Spartans striker a straight red for his reaction.
Spartans boss Dougie Samuel drew comparisons to the teams’ 2-2 draw at Peffermill earlier in the season, and admitted they must improve ahead of the looming Scottish Cup fifth round tie with Berwick. “It was a case of déjà vu,” he said. “It was similar to the game at Peffermill. We dominated possession of the ball and created good chances, We didn’t put them away and were made to pay the price. We’d be naïve and kidding ourselves on if we thought that this was great prep for the Scottish Cup game – it’s not.”
Former Dundee man Eddie Malone featured as a trialist for Spartans, and Samuel revealed he plans to sign the defender. “We’ll try and sign Eddie in the next few days. I think he’s done well the last two weeks, coming into a side that’s a bit short of confidence.”
Spartans: Swain, Brown, Cennerazzo, Malone (T), MacKinnon, Stevenson, Beesley, Grant (Motion 31), Bremner, McLeod, Sludden (Douglas 76).
Edinburgh University: Tufail, MacFarlane, Sutherland, Flett, Black, Daniels-Yeoman, Aitken (Oswald 78), Jackson (Ward 46), Guthrie, Evans (Irvine 72), Patterson.