Tartan Spartans win the Ronnie Swan Challenge Cup

Posted on Saturday, July 25th, 2015

Goals by Eddie Malone, Dean Horribine and a penalty from Aaron Murrell ensured The Spartans headed back up the A1 with the Ronnie Swan Challenge Cup after a 2-3 victory against Blyth Spartans at Croft Park.

Captains Robbie Dale and Ally Mackinnon posed with the trophy ahead of kick-off in what was dubbed the ‘Battle of the Spartans’ with a merry band of travelling fans enjoying the hospitality offered in the Supporters Club.

The match burst into life in the 13th minute when Eddie Malone blasted the tourists into the lead with an unstoppable effort from 20 yards. The Spartan Army barely had time to celebrate before Blyth were back on level terms.

Michael Richardson collected the ball out wide before chipping Blair Carswell to equalise less than 60 seconds later.

Aaron Murrell almost put Spartans ahead 5 minutes later after latching on to a through ball that caught Blyth keeper Adam McHugh in two minds. The striker rounded the goalie but was forced out too wide to get a shot in on goal.

At the other end, Blair Carswell pulled off a fantastic save with a strong arm preventing Sean Reid from putting the hosts ahead.

The Spartans took the lead for the second time in the 33rd minute after a mazy run by Michael Herd saw the ball break to Dean Horribine on the edge of the box and the midfielder’s effort made its way over the line despite the best efforts of McHugh.

HT: Blyth Spartans 1-2 The Spartans

Carswell was in the thick of the action early in the second half after seeing his clearance from outside his penalty area land into the path of a welcoming Blyth midfielder however an Ally Mackinnon intervention halted the progress of any attack on goal.

Last season’s under 20′s shot-stopper redeemed himself moments later by closing down the Blyth trialist who was racing in on goal.

Spartans made a 60th minute substitution when Danny Main replaced Michael Herd.

Moments later, a collision in the home box saw Spartans physio Craig Samuel assist with treatment of the injured Blyth defender. A fine touch of sportsmanship noted across the ground.

With 20 minutes left, youngster Alex Imlah replaced Keith Murray. Three minutes later, Spartans extended their lead in perhaps fortunate circumstances. Dean Horribine met the turf inside the home box under a mild challenge, enough contact for Hulme to decide it warranted a spot kick. Up stepped Aaron Murrell who sent McHugh the wrong way and Spartans 1-3 ahead.

With two minutes left on the clock, Blyth set up a grandstand finish after Sean Reid headed home a corner kick.

Deep into injury time, Blyth came within a shoelace breadth of taking the game to penalties when a low cross whizzed across the six yard box only to evade the outstretched boot of the substitute Trialist and with that, the trophy’s destination was secured.

FT: Blyth Spartans 2-3 The Spartans

Spartans XI: Carswell, Herd (Main – 60), Malone, Thomson, Mackinnon, Ward, Horribine, Stevenson, Murray (Imlah 70), Murrell, Brown.  Unused: Beesley

 

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Next Fixture

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Date: Saturday 15th December
Opponent: Dalbeattie Star
Venue: Islecroft Stadium
Competition: GeoSonic Lowland League
Kick off: 3.00pm

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