Edinburgh University boss Dorian Ogunro admitted he felt slightly deflated his players had failed to take maximum points in their Capital derby with Spartans on Saturday.
A first-half Nathan Evans strike had the students deservedly in front at the interval as the hosts, who had overcome SPFL League 2 opposition Berwick Rangers to reach the second round of the Irn-Bru Challenge Cup last Tuesday, struggled to find any fluency when in possession.
They did, however, earn themselves a point midway through the second half as Dean Horribine headed home Alan Brown’s cutback to give both teams a share of the spoils.
And, although Ogunro revealed he would have been more than happy to leave Ainslie Park beforehand with a point, he did feel his players passed up a prime opportunity.
“To be honest, I’m frustrated it’s only a point as while Spartans came out with a bit of pressure in the second half, they didn’t really threaten us. It’s a mistake that’s cost us so I’m more annoyed that we haven’t won,” he said.
“But I suppose I’ve got to be happy with a point. We’re not at our strongest yet, the boys have worked really hard in pre-season and a lot of them have never played anywhere near this level. It’s a good start for us as we lost our opening game last season so we’re already one step ahead.”
Uni midfielder Tim Rawlinson, who had to be replaced midway through the first half, stung the hands of goalkeeper Blair Carswell with a fierce drive from 20 yards as the visitors grew in confidence.
Evans then tried to outfox Carswell with a low-driven free-kick from just outside the area that had the Spartans No.1 scrambling across his line with the ball having to be tipped round the post.
Finn Daniels-Yeoman was next to try his luck on the home side’s goal but his rising shot failed to trouble Carswell.
Defender Eddie Malone was cautioned for a robust challenge on Evans that had the Uni bench calling for referee Crawford Allan to issue a red card before Jack Beesley almost capitalised on Gordon Davison’s indecisiveness which had Mark Tait rushing from his line to clear the danger.
Spartans conceded their first goal of the season eight minutes before the break when Daniels-Yeoman’s pass fell favourably into the path of Evans and the former North Merchiston striker coolly slotted over Carswell.
Dougie Samuel’s men had far more purpose about their play in the second half, Beesley again the dangerman as his free-kick from 20 yards had to be palmed away by Tait.
Andrew Mair and Malone then worked the left channel well before the latter’s cross into the box fell into the path of Horribine but he could only blast over from eight yards.
The striker did atone for his earlier miss, though, when Craig Stevenson’s pass to the byline was clipped over by Brown for Horribine to plant his header into the roof of the net.
Last season’s Lowland League runners-up sensed a winner was well within their grasp but their efforts went in vain as they were met by a resilient Uni defence well marshalled by Jordi Vila.
Spartans midfielder Jamie Dishington felt the exertions from their win at Berwick four days beforehand contributed to a somewhat laboured display.
“After last Tuesday’s result against Berwick we wanted to try and keep the momentum going,” he said. “But I thought we were a bit leggy the last 20 minutes because of that but to be honest, we didn’t deserve anything after our first-half performance.”
Spartans: Carswell, Herd, Mair, Malone (Raiker 71), Tolmie, Stevenson (Archibald 90), Beesley, Dishington, Thomson, Horribine, Brown. Subs: Gilpin, Dawson, Grotlin, Girwood.
Edinburgh University: Tait, Murray, Condi, Vila, Davison, Daniels-Yeoman, Swan, Rawlinson (Verkaik 28), Guthrie, Evans, Ness (Connington 82). Subs: Davidson, Frain, Swinney, Scott, McCrory-Irving.
Referee: Crawford Allan.