TITLE-CHASING Spartans closed in on top spot after Michael Herd earned all three points against Stirling University with a late strike.

The former East Stirlingshire midfielder’s goal just three minutes from time was enough for a 1-0 victory.

And the win takes Dougie Samuel’s team to within six points of leaders East Kilbride with three games in hand.

Samuel said: “We know we have to win each game to overtake East Kilbride as it’s unlikely they will drop points in the run in.

“We had to be patient today as Stirling University frustrated us for long periods.”

Hawick Royal Albert are all but relegated following the basement battle defeat with Dalbeattie Star at Islecroft Stadium.

Craig Tully’s team had an early Unpha Korma strike chalked off before Liam Park, Mark McKenna and Lewis Sloan netted for the home team.

The 3-0 defeat leaves Hawick 13 points adrift at the foot of the table.

Star’s win takes them to within a point of Vale of Leithen in third-bottom.

Gala Fairydean Rovers ended a barren spell with a vital victory over Gretna at Raydale Park to move away from the second-bottom dogfight.

Trialist Fraser Malcolm, who is only 17, netted late for the 2-1 win after Kevin Connolly had cancelled out Sean Guiney’s opener.

Gala manager Steven Noble told us: “That was a huge three points for us.

“I thought the young boys who stepped up from Border Amateur football did exceptionally well, although our keeper Lewis Muir was tremendous in keeping us in the game.

“We still need a few more points yet to make sure of being safe but I’m a lot happier after getting the win at Gretna.”

Gala’s win moves them to level on points with Edinburgh University and Edusport Academy.

All other Lowland League matches were postponed due to the weather.