Welfare woe in South Challenge Cup semi

Posted on Friday, May 13th, 2016

Spartans cup hopes were dashed at Rosewell where they lost out to old rivals Whitehill Welfare in the Semi Final of the South Challenge Cup.

With unavailability, injury and suspension, there were call-ups to the bench for youngsters Brad Raiker, Johnny Grotlin and Harry Girdwood as Dougie Samuel took his depleted squad to Ferguson Park looking to bounce back from the weekend’s disappointment at Gretna.

Samuel was pulling his metaphorical hair out within 90 seconds of the start of the game after a shanked Blair Carswell clearance from out wide fell to the feet of McGregor in the middle of the park and the Welfare man returned with gusto to beat the retreating keeper to send the ball into the unguarded net.

It was a frantic start that failed to be capitalised on by either side in an opening half hour that offered little to the crowd watching the game in unseasonal sunshine in the Mid Lothian village.

Spartans came close to equalising just after the half hour mark when Craig Stevenson’s lung-bursting, tackle hurdling run to the bye-line produced a cross that found Aaron Murrell who could only direct his header onto the welcoming arms of the keeper.

Instead of levelling proceedings, Spartans found themselves two goals behind moments later.  Mikey Bruce’s attempted header back into the comfort of his keeper’s grasp was well intended however Carswell had already made his way off his line, seeing the ball trundle past the stranded goalkeeper to afford Whitehill a two goal lead without the home side having had a notable strike on goal.

The deficit however was reduced with four minutes of the half remaining.  Scott Maxwell’s dogged determination saw him execute a perfectly weighted pass across the face of the goal for Alan Brown to slam home from close range.

HT: Whitehill Welfare 2-1 Spartans

Despite being somewhat galvanised by their late first half goal, just seven minutes after the break Spartans found themselves once again two goals behind.  McGregor popping up to head home a corner to extend his side’s lead.

Worse was to follow in the 57th minute when Bruce was sent to the sheds by the Referee for what he decreed was not only a foul on former Spartan Andy Martin but a ‘last man’ infringement too.  Once the match official completed his paperwork, Dale O’Hara slotted home the spot kick.

Three goals down and a numerically disadvantaged on the park, Spartans looked to forge open an opportunity to give themselves an opportunity of a comeback that Lazarus himself would have been proud of however it wasn’t to be.

Their misery was further compelled by being forced to play out the final few minutes with just players after Brown was forced to retire following and unhelpful challenge by Keane in the corner saw the Spartans playmaker nurse a painful gluteus maximus for his troubles.

FT: Whitehill Welfare 4-1 Spartans

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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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