Ronnie Swan Challenge Trophy: Penalty kicks see Pars win pulsating Final

Posted on Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Spartans took SPFL Division 1 side Dunfermline Athletic all the way in the Final of the Tennent’s Ronnie Swan Championship Trophy before narrowly losing out 2-3 in a pulsating penalty shoot-out at Ainslie Park.

A great atmosphere had built up at the Spartans Academy ahead of the Final, with many Livingston and Falkirk fans staying back after their 3/4th place play-off to witness a match that had thrills, spills and heartaches.

Spartans had the bulk of the early possession however it was the visitors who almost took and 18th minute lead after Williamson’s strike was tip away to safety by Swain in the home goal area.

Errol Douglas came close to opening his Spartans account after a Beesley run to the bye-line saw the ball cut back, however the summer signing couldn’t direct his shot home.

Mercer tried his luck at the opposite end as the Pars came back into the game.  Swain was equal to task as the mercury began to rise over North Edinburgh.

As the players looked forward to seeking some shelter in the sheds at half-time, Donal Henretty put the home side ahead.  The striker’s looping header creeping home despite the best efforts of Williamson on the line.

Half Time: Spartans 1-0 Dunfermline

Murray Jackson replaced Kevin Swain in the Spartans goal at the interval as Dougie Samuel made the first of his four changes during the course of the tie.

Unfortunately for Jackson, the replacement keeper conceded an equaliser just five minutes later.  Ross Drummond slotting the ball home from a tight angle via the post.

Samuel made three further changes over a 13 minute period, with Ian Ballantyne, Matthew Cunningham and George Hunter replacing Errol Douglas, Sean Muhsin and Donal Henretty respectively.

With two minutes left on the clock, Dunfermline looked as if they’d secured the winner in regulatory time.  Williamson made space down the flank to send Gavin McMillan in to put the Pars ahead.

The game still had an interesting twist to take.  Dunfermline keeper Gill was penalised by the Ref for infringing the six-second rule in his box as time and the game seemed to race away from the home side.

Beesley touched the indirect free-kick into the path of Craig Stevenson who thundered the ball past Gill to send the Spartan Army wild and the game to a dramatic penalty shoot-out.

Murray Jackson saved Finn Graham’s opening kick followed by Beesley who put Spartans ahead. Cammy McClair brought the sides level at 1-1 before Craig Stevenson saw his shot saved 1-1.

Lewis Spence and Kevin Motion both converted before James Thomas nudged Dunfermline ahead before Michael Bruce pulled his penalty wide. 2-3

Jackson pulled off his second save of the shoot-out leaving Sivewright with the unenviable task of the final spot kick.  Cammy Gill was to be the hero for the Pars and his save saw the Fifers secure the silverware.

Dunfermline Captain Finn Graham collected the Ronnie Swan Challenge Trophy from Ronnie’s grandchildren Lauren Swan & Andrew Frost.

Spartans: Swain (Jackson HT); Pyda, Cennerazzo, Sivewright, Bruce, Stevenson, Muhsin (Cunningham 62), Motion, Douglas (Ballantyne 58), Beesley, Henretty (Hunter 68)

In the lunchtime kick-off, Livingston defeated Falkirk 3-0 in the 3th place play-off with goals by McKenna and Mullen x 2.


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