Beefy ups the stakes with last gasp winner over Gretna

Posted on Saturday, April 16th, 2016

A second half injury time finish by Keith Murray secured a last gasp win over Gretna in a dramatic Ferrari Packaging Lowland League encounter at Ainslie Park.

The striker’s 15th goal of the season finally separated the sides after the visitors looked to have salvaged a point with a late equaliser courtesy of Connor Graham.

After making his 100th appearance from the bench in midweek, Alan Brown returned to the starting line-up whilst Keith Murray was back in the Manager’s XI after serving his one match suspension.

Spartans, unbeaten on league duty since January 2nd, were looking to continue their winning ways and there was almost an early goalscoring chance for George Hunter who was thwarted by the quick thinking of Gretna keeper Vince Parker.

That save was little more than momentary respite for the visitors as Hunter despatched his header beyond the goalie to deliver the perfect execution of Michael Herd’s cross.

Dean Horribine was unlucky not to double the lead midway through the opening stanza however he didn’t count on Parker pulling off a fine stop that saw the ball tipped over the bar.

It was to be the final action for Horribine who retired with a knock and was replaced by Ross Gray.

When Parker was adjudged to have upended Brown on the box, Referee Burns had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.  After a lengthy delay for the official to administer the paperwork, Murray stepped up but could only look on as his dead ball effort cleared the crossbar with gusto.

Half Time: Spartans 1-0 Gretna 2008

North Edinburgh hailstones made an early appearance in a second half that struggled to offer many highlights outside the final five minutes of the game – perhaps with the exception of the outrageous ‘Karate Kid’ style footwork by Hunter that saw his shot rattle the framework where post meet bar.

As the game entered the final quarter of an hour, Spartans made a further change, with Jack Beesley coming on for scorer Hunter.

With any game where the lead is slender, there’s always a risk where the team chasing the game could snatch a late equaliser.  That threat looked to have turned into harsh reality when Connor Graham delighted the small band of travelling support when the found the net with just two minutes left on the clock.

The match looked to be heading for a share of the spoils when Murray shifted the ball onto his right foot before sending his hopeful hit netbound.  Parker could only get a solitary glove to the ball but it was not enough to prevent the stoppage time winner for Dougie Samuel’s side.

Full Time: Spartans 2-1 Gretna 2008

Match winner Keith Murray noted, “It’s always nice to bounce back after the disappointment of missing a penalty and score the winning goal, so I’m happy with that.

“As I’ve said previously, we’ve got the desire to go into the last 5 or 10 minutes to win the game and we’ll do what we need to do to achieve that.  Today was another important three points for us as we look to finish in second place.”

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: David Greenhill

Spartans: Carswell, Herd (Maxwell 58), Stevenson, Dishington, Bruce, Greenhill, Brown, Thomson, Murray, Horribine (Gray 22), Hunter (Beesley 78). Subs (Not Used) Gilpin.

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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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