Euan Spark admitted a poor Elgin City performance earned a fortunate point thanks to Darryl McHardy’s last minute equaliser for the ten-man Black and Whites.
Stenhousemuir led 2-0 before Elgin got one back through a Kane Hester penalty.
Ross County loan defender Tom Grivosti’s late red card left City staring defeat in the face until captain Spark won a last minute free kick which McHardy met with a last-gasp header to keep Elgin four points above bottom club Cowdenbeath in League Two.
“It’s a massive point,” said Spark, who returned to the side after missing the previous week’s 4-1 defeat at Annan through suspension.
“We wanted the three points when we arrived here off the back of a bad result last week.
“About 20 minutes in were were 2-0 down and you begin to think ‘surely not’ – but fair play to the boys after that.
“It was not pretty and we rode our luck. But the goal came at a great time and we could have won it in the end because we had a couple of chances after the equaliser.
“It was a real rollercoaster ride.”
Spark was one of four additions to Elgin’s starting XI from the Annan loss, with Cove Rangers loan man Ross Draper making his home debut and Aidan Sopel and Tony Dingwall restored in the team.
But Elgin looked lost in the Borough Briggs fog and it was no surprise when Stenny scored first through Michael Miller’s deflected 25-yarder on 16 minutes.
Five minutes later, Thomas Orr punished a defensive error to slot home from close range and double the Warriors’ advantage.
City were crying out for inspiration and Kane Hester provided it with a pacy raid into the visitors penalty area which was halted by a Ross Lyon trip for a penalty which Hester scored himself to pull back a goal on 37 minutes.
The second half saw Stenhousemuir look for a killer third goal and they missed some good opportunities to go 3-1 up. Darren Christie’s attempted cross seemed to glance off a defender and struck the post, and midway through the half Christie raced clear of the offside trap only to fire inches wide with only Tom McHale to beat.
It got even harder for Elgin when Grivosti brought down Euan O’Reilly on a clear run to goal and was shown a straight red on 80 minutes, leaving his team with a mountain to climb.
City manager Gavin Price threw stopper McHardy into attack and when the home side won a free kick on 90 minutes, even goalkeeper McHale was up in the opposing penalty area.
Russell Dingwall floated in the ball from the right and McHardy rose highest to nod across goalkeeper David Wilson and the ball dropped inside the post, sparking scenes of joy in the home camp.
Price was critical of his team’s display on the day and said a point was a good outcome given the circumstances of the game.
“The fact that we were 2-0 down and down to ten men and still getting a point, I’ll applaud the players for that,” he said.
“In terms of the performance, we were nowhere near it.
“Sometimes a situation like this is a springboard and we’ve got to use it as that because we showed great character and desire to keep going.
“We came back from a terrible first 25 minutes, where we were really, really poor.”
Price now wants to take the good feeling of his team’s comeback into Tuesday night’s match at Stirling Albion, a match both clubs have brought forward from Boxing Day.