Spartans Saunter into League Cup Semi-Final

Posted on Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

Spartans progressed into the Scottish Sun Lowland League Cup Semi-Final with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Preston Athletic at an overcast Ainslie Park.

Goals from Craig Stevenson, Ally MacKinnon, Jack Beesley and Dean Horribine ensured the North Edinburgh side earned their passage through into the next round.

It was the visitors who created the first chance of the match, Max Todd’s shot on the turn lacked power but forced Spartans keeper’ Blair Carswell into an early save.

Dean Horribine and Jack Beesley linked up well as both sides searched for an early breakthrough, the latter firing a cross-cum-shot across the face of goal which lacked a killer touch and the ball trundled agonisingly wide.

The opening goal of the match arrived on 19 minutes following a sustained spell of Spartans pressure. Paul-Jon Sludden broke the offside trap on the right before driving into the box and squaring the ball to Stevenson who drilled the ball low into the unguarded net. 1-0

The home side doubled their lead on the half-hour mark. Sludden’s rasping free-kick from roughly 30 yards was tipped onto the post by Preston keeper’ Sean Brennan and the ball broke kindly to the feet of defender Ally MacKinnon who displayed a natural striker’s instinct in rolling the ball into the net. 2-0

Willie Kirk’s side were awarded a free-kick just outside the box late in the first half after a clumsy foul. Scott Devlin’s effort had Carswell rooted to the spot as he curled the ball over the 5-man wall, but the ball clipped the top of the crossbar much to the relief of the home support.

Half-Time: Spartans 2 Preston Athletic 0.

Matthew Cunningham, who has impressed with his recent performances for the East of Scotland side, had a chance to increase the hosts lead early in the second, but he skied his effort harmlessly over the bar.

Any hopes of a Preston comeback evaporated on the hour mark when Max Todd was given his marching orders for lashing out at Ally MacKinnon following a strong challenge. Referee Scott Millar had little option but to send the young striker off.

Spartans manager Dougie Samuel made a double substitution on 67 minutes which saw Eddie Malone and Matty Cunningham replaced by Keith McLeod and Kevin Motion.

The home side made the extra man advantage count with a third goal on 81 minutes. The potent duo of Horribine and Beesley linked up well again, as they had done all match, with the latter sent through one-on-one with the keeper. The winger displayed good composure in dispatching his effort past the helpless Brennan. 3-0

Two minutes later, the tie was put to bed following a well-worked move. Substitute Jack Beacher hit the by-line before cutting the ball back for Horribine who rifled his shot low under the keeper’s body to seal a semi-final place. 4-0

Full-Time: Spartans 4 Preston Athletic 0.

Man of the Match: Paul-Jon Sludden

Team Lines:

Spartans: Carswell, Cennerazzo, Malone (McLeod; 67), Sivewright, MacKinnon, Stevenson, Beesley, Cunningham (Motion; 67), Sludden (Beacher; 76), Brown, Horribine

Unused: Douglas, Herd, Cairns (GK)

Preston Athletic: Brennan, L Todd, O’Hara, J. Todd, Bruce (Gibson; 64), S. Devlin (Strachan; 75), McIntyre, Henderson, P. Devlin, Aitchison, M. Todd

Unused: Thomson, Foster, Stewart


Next Fixture

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

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