Carswell heroics hailed as Derby dishes up New Year drama

Posted on Saturday, January 2nd, 2016

Spartans goalkeeper Blair Carswell pulled off a sensational hat-trick haul of penalty saves in a breath taking Edinburgh Derby that saw the home side finish the game with eight players in front of over 530 first footers at Ainslie Park.

The opening exchanges were akin to a game of chess as both sides engaged in a midfield war of attrition, looking for an opening to seize an early advantage. That came with just ten minutes on the clock.

A long ball from Blair Carswell was misjudged by Joe Mbu on the edge of his penalty box and the quick reactions of Aaron Murrell saw the youngster hook a first class strike past a stationary Andrew Stobie to give the home side the lead.

That lead was extended in the 39th minute when Dean Horribine latched on to a perfectly weighted pass up the middle of the park before looking up to see Stobie off his line. The audacious lob saw the City keeper scuttle back but he could only assist the ball net bound whilst trying to prevent its journey home.

Ally MacKinnon, on his comeback from injury, took a knock in a challenge just inside first half injury time and was replaced by Paul Thomson. The break in play benefitting the visitors most with Joe Mbu netting via a deflection from a free-kick awarded prior to the withdrawal of the Spartans skipper.

Half Time: Spartans 2-1 Edinburgh City

The opening fifteen minutes of the second half barely allowed for a draw of breath in what where incredible scenes that shaped the outcome of this pulsating encounter.

Just two minutes after the restart, Referee Craig Napier pointed to the spot after Blair Carswell was adjudged to have upended Ousman See. Eddie Malone appeared to have been clipped in a tangle of legs between the players prior to the coming together with the keeper however play was allowed to rage on.

Carswell redeemed himself as he flung himself the right way to push Dougie Gair’s penalty round the post for a corner. It was a momentary respite as the resultant corner was headed net bound by Ross Allum despite the despairing efforts of Craig Stevenson on the line. After consultation between Ref and his far-side assistant, the equalising goal was allowed to stand.

Spartans were reduced to 10 men in the 54th minute after Conner Duthie was shown his second yellow of the afternoon after a challenge on the visitors by-line.

He was joined in the sheds three minutes later by team mate Eddie Malone who was offered an early shower after a tackle inside the box on Ross Allum saw the City man tumble and the Spartans man see red for what was described by the man in the middle as a goal scoring opportunity.

Up stepped Blair Carswell once again who made his second accurate guess of a frantic few minutes, this time thwarting the aforementioned Allum with a fantastic save.

The ball broke free and See and Alan Brown tangled just inside the home 18 yard box. Referee Napier despatched Brown as temperatures on the pitch didn’t match the mercury levels off it.

With 12 yards separating them, Carswell and Allum locked horns again. The outcome was no different as the sensational Spartans stopper made it a hat-trick of penalty stops to keep his numerically disadvantaged side in the game.

The heroics of Carswell continued as the game entered its dying moments. First of all he stopped See from a full two yards with his feet then spreading himself to deny Donaldson from close range.

A cruel twist in this edge of the seat tale came as the game entered injury time. After 25 minutes of resolute defending against a wave of yellow jersey attacks, the Spartans depleted rear guard was finally breached by Ross Allum who scored his second of the afternoon to secure victory for City at the death.

FT: Spartans 2-3 Edinburgh City

Spartans: Carswell, Cennerazzo, Stevenson, Malone, MacKinnon (Thomson 45), Greenhill, Brown, Dishington (McNab 87), Murrell (Saunderson 64), Duthie, Horribine. Subs: Trialist, Murray, Morton (GK).

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: Blair Carswell

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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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