Saunderson’s late strike puts halter on Colts cup hopes

Posted on Saturday, February 13th, 2016

Ewan Saunderson’s strike deep into Extra Time saw Spartans come back from behind to proceed in the South Challenge Cup at the expense of Cumbernauld Colts.

The sides had meet on league business just seven days previously at the same venue and Colts returned looking for a different outcome to break their duck against Dougie Samuel’s side.

There was an early opportunity for the home side when Alan Brown’s pass played George Hunter into the Colts box and it was the lively, but less colourful than last week, Chris Fahey who palmed the shot round the post.

It was an opening half where both sides struggled in the bitterly cold conditions to make their mark on a game that lacked fluidity ahead of the half time interval.

Colts almost grabbed the unlikeliest of openers in the dying stages when Andy Hunter pounced on a defensive lapse before rounding Carswell.  Unfortunately for the Colts striker – and gratefully for the home side, the Spartans keeper done just about enough to put the player off and the chance went a-begging.

HT: Spartans 0-0 Cumbernauld Colts

The early stages of the second half were as equally as memorable as the first and it took until the 76th minute before either keeper was forced into action.  Stephen O’Neill’s long range effort saw Carswell retreat and push the ball over the crossbar, sparking a few audible ‘oofts’ amongst the home crowd.

Carswell’s crossbar was in the thick of it just three minutes later when a rasping shot by Blair Munn crashed off the woodwork and bounced over the line to give the Cumbernauld men a 79th minute lead.

With time running out and Referee Pensome looking at his watch, Spartans launched one final late salvo in order to rescue the tie.

Alan Brown’s penetrating run into the box saw the wiry playmaker pole-axed under the whistler’s nose and the inevitable outcome of a penalty gave Spartans the chance to take the game to Extra Time.

Keith Murray stepped up and calmly slotted the ball beyond Fahey to score the last gasp equaliser.

FT: Spartans 1-1 Cumbernauld Colts

Spartans substitute Jack Beesley almost marked his return to action by pulling off one of his trademark free-kicks, only to see his dead-ball attempt hit the outside of the post.

Then, with just five minutes left on the clock, Spartans secured their place in the 4th Round draw with a goal from youngster Ewan Saunderson.

David Greenhill’s cross into the six yard box saw the ball bounce off a plethora of legs like a pinball before Saunderson’s final touch sent it spinning into the empty net and kept his side’s interest in the coveted piece of silverware alive.

ET FT: Spartans 2-1 Cumbernauld Colts

Spartans: Carswell, Saunderson, Stevenson (Raiker 110), Malone, McNab (Dishington 55), Greenhill, Brown, Herd, Hunter (Beesley 77), Horribine, Murray.  Subs: Maxwell, Rae (GK)

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: Eddie Malone

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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