Heads we win! Spartans go top after victory at Gretna

Posted on Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

“An excellent team performance…” was how Spartans Manager Dougie Samuel described his side’s 3-0 win on the road at Gretna that saw the Ainslie Park side go top of the Lowland League.

With a host of players out due to non-availability and injury, an opening minute injury scare for Alan Brown was the last thing Spartans needed however after a few minutes on the touchline, the midfield playmaker made his way back on to the field and into the action.

Spartans took the lead in the 13th minute after a Motion cross picked out Whatley who out-jumped Blake and goalkeeper Wright could only watch the spiralling header agonisingly loop over his head into the net. 0-1.

McLeod was desperately unlucky as he latched on to a slack pass-back and after rounding a stranded Wright, he slipped as he stroked the ball towards the line, taking the sting out of the shot and allowed Johnston to slide in to rescue the moment.

Danny Main was enjoying a licence to control the flank and the defender was found in the Gretna red zone on a handful of occasions.  Finally, his work paid off in the 33rd minute as another perfectly whipped in cross saw John Grant leap above Inglis to bullet his header into the net.  0-2.

As Grenta looked to get back into the game, Sivewright found himself in the Referee’s black book for an untidy challenge.  Moments later, Motion joined him after his attempt to block Johnston’s shot saw the ball hit his arm.

A final flourish by the home side saw Todd with a great chance to pull one back on the stroke of half-time however his tamely hit shot was welcomed by the safe hands of Bennett in the Spartans goal.

Half-Time: Gretna 0-2 Spartans

It was another McLeod v Wright one and one that brought the second half to life and once again, the keeper timed his challenge to perfection, smothering the ball at the striker’s feet.

The 3rd goal came in the 55th minute after Grant was needlessly bundled to the ground out on the touchline which resulted in a Spartans free-kick. Motion stepped up and his cross eluded everyone in the box to nestle into the back of Wright’s net.  0-3.

On the hour-mark Beesley replaced Brown, who lasted 59 minutes longer than seemed likely after his early knock.

Bennett was forced into action as he pushed Gretna substitute Lucock’s net-bound strike away at point-blank range.

Robbie Ross and Chris O’Day were introduced into the game as they replaced the hard working duo of Kevin Motion and Keith McLeod.

O’Day, who has featured in the East of Scotland side this season, showed his intent with his first touch of the ball as he tried to skip past a Gretna defender who had a fair old grab of his jersey.

Both teams tried valiantly to put more goals on the scoreboard but with neither keeper in a generous mood, the final whistle by Referee Munro saw Spartans secure a valuable three points on their travels and a third clean sheet in a row.

Full Time: Gretna 0-3 Spartans

Spartans Manager Dougie Samuel was delighted with the outcome of the afternoon’s events, “I thought it was an excellent team performance today.  I don’t think we had any ‘failures’ in what is a very difficult place to visit and pick up points, so we are delighted with that.

The win of course, sets us up for another difficult clash next week, away against Preston Athletic.”

Spartans starting XI: Bennett, Grant, Main, Sivewright, MacKinnon, Blaikie, Brown, Whatley, Henretty, McLeod, Motion. Subs: Beesley, Ross, Anderson, O’Day, Gilpin.

Malt & Hops Man of the Match: Donal Henretty

Crime Count: Sivewright & Motion (both yellow)





Next Fixture

Date: Saturday 27th April
Opponent: Peterhead
Venue:Ainslie Park
Competition: SPFL 2
Kick off: 3.00pm

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