Super First Division leaders Petershill salvaged a draw against Troon on Saturday - but only just.

An unfortunate own goal by Ayrshire stopper Lewis Clark, literally with the last kick of the ball, resulted in a 3-3 scoreline that doesn’t come close to telling the story of a hugely entertaining 90 minutes in which the Springburn outfit enjoyed the bulk of the play and scoring chances only to be almost undone by a defensive Achilles heel.

Having victory snatched away at the death seemed cruel on the visitors who had withstood near incessant pressure.

However, their manager Jimmy Kirkwood, forced to watch from the terracings on account of serving the last of a 12 game suspension, was delighted to come away with a point.

He said afterwards: "We were forced to field one of our youngest line-ups ever out there today because of the enforced absence of Gavin Collins, Dale Keenan and Scott Chatham so to come away with a draw against the title favourites and in front of their own supporters to boot is a terrific result.

“I felt we competed really well in the first half but the injury forcing Dale Shirkie to come off severely restricted our attacking options and the second period was all Petershill who came strongly at us with lots of energy and forced the guys onto the back foot.

“But the character and fighting spirit of the players was there for all to see and I truly believed we were going to hold out for a wonderful victory until their last gasp equaliser.

“And yes I’m bitterly disappointed to lose a goal in that manner but I’d say a draw was a fair result on the balance of play.”

A fresh-faced Troon found themselves under the cosh in the early exchanges but a boost to confidence arrived just five minutes in when Petershill’s defence failed to deal with a long kickupfield from Troon goalkeeper Ally McInnes and the ball broke kindly for 16-year-old Jack Patterson who gleefully rifled home a low shot that eluded the grasp of Peasy No.1 John Gibson.

The home team roused themselves to press for an equaliser which almost came when Jason Hardie smashed a 25-yard free kick off the crossbar but they were again shocked in 18 minutes as Troon doubled their advantage to 2-0.

Patterson’s flighted free kick from out left picked out team mate Ross Barbour running criminally unmarked into the Peasy penalty area and he sidefooted the ball home from only six yards out.

One felt Petershill would need to score before half-time to get themselves back into contention and they duly obliged with a well struck Jordan Murch effort in 25 minutes making the scoreline read 2-1 before being denied by the woodwork again as the unlucky Hardie saw a shot rebound of the upright nearing half time.

Troon survived several near things on the resumption and a wonderful McInnes save denied that man Hardie and the rebound fell to Scott McManus, whose low drive beat the keeper only to strike the base of the post and rebound to safety.

Even more pressure was applied to the visiting goal with the introduction of Peasy attacking substitute Chris Hall and the hitman duly served up a levelling score with only his second touch when he headed home a 66th minute back post cross from fellow bench replacement Ian Gold for 2-2 .

Troon were now reverting to kill the game at every opportunity as the home side turned the screw however the Ayrshiremen were left rightly furious at the other end of the pitch as previously yellow carded Peasy full back Fraser McGhee tugged back Patterson as he raced clear but inexplicably escaped a second booking by referee Connor Ashwood who then compounded his glaring error by lecturing the Troon dugout for their protestations.

Peasy boss Willie Patterson used his 'Get out of jail free' card to immediately substitute McGhee.

But he must have thought why he had bothered as his central defender Jordan Kennedy tripped Troon forward Chis Vance to bring an 87th-minute penalty kick award that also saw Ryan Haxton red carded for voicing his disapproval.

The best player afield, Ross Barbour, stroked the ball home for 3-2, and he was then one of three Troon defenders left in the wake of a wonderful injury time Hall solo run that saw him shimmy his way into the six-yard line only to fire his parting shot against the upright when it looked easier to score.

However, all was not lost as the half cleared rebound delivered back into the crowded area duly deflected off Hall and past goalkeeper McInnes for 3-3.

Peasy gaffer Willie Patterson reflected: “ To come close to losing that game defies belief considering we have struck woodwork four times and missed countless other scoring chances.

“But I suppose that’s the price you pay for defending as we did in the opening 20 minutes and leaving ourselves with a mountain to climb.

“ There’s work to be done on the training ground and lessons to be learned before Largs Thistle come here next weekend.”

Saturday afternoon proved similarly frustrating for the other Super First Division sides to have been boasting 100 per cent winning ways …Cambuslang Rangers and Renfrew …after they both succumbed to disappointing draws and passed up the opportunity to go atop the standings on their own.

Renfrew playing out a 0-0 New Western Park stalemate against Maryhill while Cambuslang were left kicking themselves at home to Kello Rovers where they led three times through an own goal, Calum McRobbie and John Gemmell only to be pegged back on each occasion by the battling Ayrshiremen.

And fourth-placed Darvel also being held to a 0-0 share of the spoils by visitors Irvine Meadow paved the way for Largs Thistle to promote themselves among the leading pack through a hard fought 1-0 victory over Shettleston with the winning goal coming from a second half Alex McWaters penalty kick conversion.

Kilsyth Rangers chalked up their first league win of the season with a 3-1 victory over near neighbours Cumbernauld United and a memorable high-scoring Gasworks Park contest saw Larkhall Thistle thwarted by Rutherglen Glencairn for whom new signing Liam Gormley bagged a brace of goals and Jay Mackay netted an injury time penalty kick to seal a 5-4 triumph.


McBookie Com.Super Premier Division: Glenafton 3 Kilbirnie Ladeside 1, Hurlford Utd 3 Cumnock 2, Beith 2 Auchinleck Talbot 0, Clydebank 0 Arthurlie 0, Kilwinning Rangers 5 Girvan 3, Rob Roy 1 Pollok 1.

McBookie Com. Super First Division: Kilsyth Rangers 3 Cumbernauld Utd 1, Cambuslang Rangers 3 Kello Rovers 3, Renfrew 0 Maryhill 0, Petershill 3 Troon 3, Darvel 0 Irvine Meadow 0, Larkhall Thistle 4 Rutherglen Glencairn 5, Largs Thistle 1 Shettleston 0.

McBookie Com.Central First Division: East Kilbride Thistle 2 Forth Wanderers 1, Lesmahagow 4 Neilston 2, St Roch's 2 Port Glasgow 1, Glasgow Perthshire 2 Shotts Bon Accord 6, Blantyre Vics 0 Rossvale 1,Thorniewood Utd 3 Wishaw 6, Benburb 1 Greenock 2.

McBookie Com.Central Second: Division. Lanark Utd 2 Carluke Rovers 1,Royal Albert 8 Newmains Utd 1, Vale of Clyde 4 St Anthony's 0, Bellshill Athletic 3 Johnstone Burgh 0, Ashfield 2 Vale of Leven 1, Dunipace 1 Gartcairn 2.

McBookie Com.Ayrshire District Division: Ardrossan Winton Rovers 0 Whitletts Vics 3, Lugar Boswell 0 Maybole 0, Saltcoats Vics 0 Dalry Thistle 6, Ardeer Thistle 3 Annbank Utd 1, Irvine Vics 4 Craigmark 1.