Watt make it hard fought but Spartans see off Students in Cup win

Posted on Saturday, November 14th, 2015

Spartans made progress in the South Challenge Cup after defeating a dogged Heriot Watt University 5-2 at Ainslie Park.

Ahead of kick-off, the Spartans Academy fell silent as players and supporters alike paid their respects in relation to the tragic events that had unfolded overnight in Paris.

The match was just five minutes old when the East of Scotland side offered their Lowland League hosts some food for thought after Anton Dowds rattled the crossbar from inside the box.

That miss was to prove crucial when, just sixty seconds later, Spartans took the lead.  Conner Duthie’s beautifully flighted corner kick finding the head of Eddie Malone who left Saunders flailing as the ball nestled in the back of the net.

Aaron Murrell almost doubled the home side’s advantage moments later however it took the timely intervention of David Kerr’s leg to deflect a net-bound strike away for a corner.

At the other end, Blair Carswell had to look sharp to acrobatically flick Chris Donnelly’s powerful 18 yard drive over the bar however the shot-stopper was to be less fortunate from the resultant set-piece as Adam Woolven nodded the Students back on level terms.

Michael Herd’s running repairs finally put paid to the playmakers participation in the tie and he was replaced in the 33rd minute by Brad Raiker.  The youngsters first involvement was to offer an impromptu point of confusion in midfield to allow the ball to break to Aaron Murrell who unleashed an unstoppable strike to restore his side’s single goal lead.

Watt Manager Ian ‘Yano’ Little’s half-time team-talk was dented with four minutes left in an eventful first half.  Conner Duthie’s Fred Astaire-esque footwork inside the penalty area was too tempting for one Student who transgressed under the whistler’s nose, leaving Duthie face down on the pitch.  Aaron Murrell stepped up to guide the ball home from 12 yards.

Half Time: Spartans 3-1 Heriot Watt University

Murrell enjoyed the luxury of the empty shower area as Manager Dougie Samuel introduced Robbie Ross for the second half.

Ross was to play an integral part in securing a fourth goal for Spartans when he set up Keith Murray in the 59th minute who then rounded Saunders before stroking the ball into the empty net.

Ross went from provider to poacher to grab a fifth with his head in the 68th minute, sending Alan Brown’s telling cross beyond Saunders into the back of the onion bag.

With the game heading into injury time, Watt netted a 90th minute consolation effort after dangerman Chris Donnelly won a 50/50 with the en-rushing Carswell, allowing the ball to run through before sending it over the line.

Full Time: Spartans 5-2 Heriot Watt University

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: Keith Murray

Spartans: Carswell, Malone, Thomson, Stevenson, Brown, Herd (Raiker 34), Horribine, Greenhill, Murrell (Ross 45), Murray, Duthie (Saunderson 63).  Subs Not Used: Gilpin (GK)

There was further Spartans success on Saturday when the East of Scotland team returned from the Border with three points after defeated Eyemouth  0-8.  A Maclean Simpson hat-trick together with braces from Chris Anderson and the unfortunate ‘Eyemouth OGs’ were added to by Andy Howat in a comfortable victory against the basement side.

Meanwhile, back at the Academy on the Community Pitch, the Saturday Amateurs bounced back in style with a 5-1 win over Musselburgh.

Next Fixture

Date: Friday 17th May
Opponent: Dumbarton
Venue:Ainslie Park
Competition: Play-Off Final 2nd Leg
Kick off: 7.30pm

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