Murray’s mint as clean sheet keeps Vale threat at bay in Cup win

Posted on Saturday, January 25th, 2014

Spartans secured their passage to semi-finals of the Image Printers Cup with a 4-0 win against Vale of Leithen at Ainslie Park.

Manager Dougie Samuel handed the Club’s East of Scotland side’s keeper Murray Jackson a shift between the sticks, his first outing since his debut against Whitehill in May 2012.

The visitors were quick off the mark in getting into the match official’s notebook, with James Young seeing yellow in the opening minutes following an unorthodox challenge on the stand-side touchline.

With a place in the last four at stake, it was a war of attrition in midfield with both sides keen not to give anything away in the opening exchanges.

A clash of heads in the middle of the field brought a temporary halt to proceedings with Vale’s Ryan McKenzie & Willie Bremner colliding.  Thankfully after treatment, both players were ok to continue.

Spartans took the lead in the 23rd minute and it was no surprise to see Keith McLeod grab his 22nd goal of the season to continue his phenomenal run.  McLeod burst into the box after Vale’s McKenzie misjudged a punt up the field before drilling the ball low and hard to christen the brand new red and white nets. 1-0

It was a bad day for Vale’s McKenzie who still looked groggy from his earlier head knock as he turned John Grant’s 25th minute shot past his own keeper, with Willie Bremner in close proximity following a fine move in midfield. 2-0.

Vale looked to get back into the game however their attempts at goal were few and far between with a speculative shot from Ross Aitchison high, wide and perhaps wouldn’t have looked out of place at nearby Murrayfield.

Former Spartan John Ferguson was booked for simulation as he pressed hard towards the home box as he looked to path a way back into the game for the Borders side.

Half-Time Spartans FC 2-0 Vale of Leithen

Spartans made all the running after the break and it took just seven minutes to further extend their lead.

Jack Beesley played a neat ball to the feet of Kevin Motion who came back inside onto this favoured right foot before unleashing a shot with went over the Vale keeper with the aid of a deflection to make it 3-0.

Dougie Samuel made the first of his changes in the 62nd minute, with Sean Muhsin replacing Willie Bremner.

Seconds later, the game was put to bed with the fourth and final goal of the afternoon.  Motion flicked the ball over two Vale defenders at the edge of the box to allow McLeod to run on to it and half-volley his 267th Spartans career goal into the net.  4-0.

The Spartan Army were on their feet as McLeod left the field in the 68th minute to be replaced by Chris Anderson.

There was another unexpected stoppage in proceedings in the 73rd minute when a Dalmatian dog made its way onto the park from the neighbouring flats.  Thankfully its owner was in quick pursuit and the dog was shown the red card and left the field of play with it’s tail firmly between it’s legs!

Final Score: Spartans 4-0 Vale of Leithen

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: Jack Beesley.  A notable mention to rookie keeper Murray Jackson on keeping a clean sheet – well done lad.

Match highlights can be found on our You Tube channel

In other goalkeeper news, Chairman Craig Graham starred between the sticks in the lunchtime East of Scotland side’s friendly which ended 1-1.

Spartans line-up: Jackson, MacKinnon, Main, Sivewright, O’Donnell, Grant, Beesley, Whatley, Bremner, McLeod, Motion.  Subs: Cennerazzo, Henretty, Anderson, Muhsin, Brown

Next Fixture

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

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