Keith on Cloudy number nine as hat-trick sees Spartans go top

Posted on Saturday, October 26th, 2013

A Keith McLeod hat-trick helped Spartans head back to the top of the Scottish Sun Lowland League with an emphatic 4-0 win over Preston Athletic.

The autumnal late afternoon sunshine in the Capital lit up Ainslie Park arena as the sides took the field and it turned out to be an illuminating display from the home side over the following ninety minutes.

Spartans took a 9th minute lead when Keith McLeod capitalised on a Preston defensive faux-pas before composing himself on from twelve yards out to thump the ball past Liam Robertson.  1-0.

The tidal wave of early pressure almost resulted in another goal in the 16th minute when Gary Cennerazzo came close when his shot from the edge of the box was well saved by the Preston keeper and turned away to safety.

Spartans strong shouts for a 22nd minute penalty were waved aside by Referee Scott Lambie after Willie Bremner was manhandled in the box and bundled to the ground.

Another attacking run by Danny Main up the flank saw the big defender whip in a cross which eventually fell to Jack Beacher whose final delivery went over the bar.

Robertson was by far the busier of the two keepers and a 35th minute shot by Kevin Motion saw the Preston shot-stopper scramble across his goal line as the ball skimmed past the post.

Half Time: Spartans 1-0 Preston Athletic

Spartans started off where they continued and it was a special goal that saw the double their lead in the 52nd minute.

McLeod latched on to a through ball, collected in on the edge of the Preston penalty area before he shimmied one way, shammied the other
and unleashed an unstoppable drive to double the Spartans lead.  His strike was also a historic one – the Spartans legend’s 250th goal for the Club. 2-0.

The 65th minute saw the lead increased to three when Beesley’s audacious lob in the box over a Preston defender’s head saw Beacher take a fine first touch, open his body then smashed the ball home. 3-0.

McLeod came close to his hat-trick when he rattled the underside of the crossbar however he didn’t have long to wait to grab the match ball winning third goal.

Main was once again on the money, chasing hard to keep the ball in play at the bye-line then delivering an inch perfect cross for McLeod to rise and head home. 4-0.

David Bingham’s men came close to grabbing a consolation goal in the 80th minute however Scott Bennett was equal to the task as he spread his giant frame to thwart Devlin with his outstretched foot.

Kevin Motion was came close to making it five when the goal frame was battered once again, a 30 yard screamer chipping away at the paintwork on the bar.

Final Score: Spartans 4-0 Preston Athletic

Hat-trick hero Keith McLeod was “absolutely delighted” to have burst through the 250 goal barrier.  “I’m absolutely delighted to have scored my 250th – and 251st – however to be fair, I’m just happy to carry on playing and scoring”

On the team’s performance, the player described as a ‘talisman and a Club legend unlikely to be surpassed’ by Manager Dougie Samuel said, “I still think Preston are a really good side but I think today’s result shows how well we played as a team.  We let ourselves down a few weeks ago at Pennypit but to bounce back and respond today with the big win was fantastic.”

Coming back from injury and grabbing his first competitive goal for his new club was also extremely pleasing for striker Jack Beacher. “I’m delighted to have broken my scoring duck however the main thing was that we got the win and
three points as well.”

Spartans: Bennett, MacKinnon, Cennerazzo, Sivewright, Main, Bremner, Brown, Motion, Beacher, McLeod, Beesley.  Subs: Blaikie, O’Day, Atkinson, MacCuish, Gilpin

Malt and Hops Man of the Match:  Hat-trick hero Keith McLeod

Next Fixture

Date: 23/07/24
Opponent: Forfar Athletic
Venue:Ainslie Park
Competition: Premier Sports Cup
Kick off: 7.45pm

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