Spartans score five without loss as Cloudy reigns in the rain

Posted on Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

Keith McLeod grabbed his second hat-trick in seven days as Spartans hit five without reply at Vale of Leithen.

A depleted Spartans squad arrived at a wet and wild Victoria Park for their latest Scottish Sun Lowland League test against the Borders men.

Pre-match preparations were disruptive and frustrating for both sets of players as match officials and the home team’s groundstaff deliberated over the suitability of the pitch. At 2.15pm, the man in the middle decreed the game to be on.

Vale kicked off as the rain finally subsided and it was clear from the outset that ‘stay on your feet’ was to be the call of the afternoon.

Spartans looked the hungrier of the two teams, with Motion having an early attempt, testing O’Brien with a shot that skimmed dangerously across the face of the goal.

Vale ventured in the visitors box and it took some fine defending from Ally Mackinnon to head the ball from the danger area to set Whatley up on the counter-attack before the midfielder was taken out on the edge of the box. Motion’s free-kick went up and round the wall however it couldn’t curl back in enough to trouble the Vale keeper.

A 21st minute breakthrough for the league leaders saw playmaker Motion thread a delightful ball into the path of Keith McLeod who beat the offside trap before slotting the ball low and just about hard enough past O’Brien to give his side the lead. 0-1.

A bursting run into the Spartans box by Scott McCulloch saw him tangle with Gary Cennerazzo but the loud appeals from the home side were waved away by the Ref.

Half-Time: Vale of Leithen 0-1 Spartans

The pie stand took a battering at the interval as the supporters in the stand looked for warmth in the shape of a pie and a bovril in what were fairly chilly conditions for spectating.

Beesley was unlucky not to double the lead shortly after the restart however it took an athletic dive and great save from O’Brien to deny the Spartans man.

The second goal did come and it was in fortuitous circumstances for the Ainslie Park side. Beesley outfoxed McAleavy on the touchline before riding the next challenge to send the ball into the path of the en-rushing Young who only succeeded in turning the ball past O’Brien who was glued to his sticky goalmouth. 0-2.

McLeod had a shot cleared off the line by Young but as play raged on, Motion collected the ball 20 yards out and took a speculative pop at the target. It’s unclear if the deceptive pace of the shot or some average goalkeeping allowed the ball to squeeze between O’Brien and his inside post. 0-3.

Worse was to follow for the home side when Bremner chased hard to keep the ball in play on the Vale bye-line. As he looked to recover the ball and set up a shot, the oft-mentioned Young had a rush of blood to the head and clattered the big midfielder rather unceremoniously. The easiest decision of the day for the man in the middle and from the spot, McLeod grabbed his second and Spartans fourth of the afternoon. 0-4.

A nasty clash of heads in the middle of the park saw Mackinnon and Vale sub Daniel Rennie both stay down, with the Spartans player having to require a visit to the hospital for a nasty gash. Danny O’Donnell replaced the bloodied warrior.

The word legend in terms of describing any sportsman or women is often misused or not quite understood. In Keith McLeod, Spartans have a player who earns such a plaudit for this work-rate, attitude and goal-scoring prowess!
The striker collected his second match ball in as many games after he latched on to a Bremner pass before sliding the ball under defender and keeper into the unguarded net to record another hat-trick for Cloudy.

Youngster Blair Atkison came on with 15 minutes left on the clock to replace Beesley who contributed significantly to his side’s victory that saw three points head back up the road to Edinburgh.

Full Time: Vale of Leithen 0-5 Spartans

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: He’ll be booking in to the Betty Ford Clinic at this rate. Unsurprisingly, it’s hat-trick hero Keith McLeod.

Team vs Vale: Bennett, Grant, Cennerazzo, Sivewright, MacKinnon, Whatley, Brown, Beesley, Bremner, McLeod, Motion. Subs: O’Donnell, Main, Beacher, Atkinson, Gilpin

Scottish Sun Lowland Football League Results:
East Kilbride 1-3 Edinburgh City
Gretna 2008 3-3 Dalbeattie Star
Preston Athletic 5-2 Gala Fairydean Rovers
University of Stirling 2-0 Threave Rovers
Whitehill Welfare 0-1 Selkirk

Finally, our thoughts go out to East Kilbride on the sad loss of their highly respected Amateur’s Coach Rab McMillan who passed away at K Park this afternoon.

Next Fixture

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

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