Lowland League: Spartans see off Stirling in season opener

Posted on Saturday, July 30th, 2016

Spartans got their 2016/17 Ferrari Packaging Lowland League campaign off to a flying start with a 0-3 win at the Falkirk Stadium against University of Stirling.

Goals from Scott Maxwell, Jamie Dishington and captain David Greenhill secured the first opening day victory for Dougie Samuel’s side since the inaugural Lowland League season in 2013.

After a trio of back-to-back pre-season friendly wins, the Ainslie Park side took on Shelley Kerr’s students at a seasonally sunny arena with the Kelpies in the distance and a brace of Deer roaming free where the old stand once graced the land.

For the third successive year in a row, the teams locked horns on day one of a season that takes in no fewer than 11 calendar months with the ultimate prize of promotion to the SPFL.

The match was merely four minutes old before the day-glo ball found it’s way into the home net.  Unfortunately for the visitors, the electric pace of Alan Brown saw him fall foul of the stand-side linesman’s flag.

Shortly after, it was the fingertips of Uni keeper Tim Hughes that kept the scoreboard from registering when he pulled off a fine save from the feet of Jamie Dishington.  Meanwhile, at the other end, it was the turn of Blair Carswell to grab the limelight by pushing MacEwans effort onto the bar.

With neither side troubling the keepers for some time after, all signs were leading towards a stalemate at the break.  Spartans however hadn’t subscribed to that script.

Two goals in eight minutes proved to be a deadly double blow for the University side that made for a different pep-talk in the changing rooms for both backroom teams.

First up in the 37th minute, Andrew Mair turned his marker before threading the ball to Scott Maxwell who curled a sublime effort into the postage stamp to put Spartans a goal to the good.

Then, deep into first half injury time, Mair was the provider once again, this time with a well-weighted cross that found the head of Jamie Dishington who met the ball with power to bullet home from inside the box.

Half Time: University of Stirling 0-2 Spartans

The second half failed to live up to the lively passage offered at the end of the opening forty-five, with the closest either goal frame came to being threatened coming when Blair Carswell clattered into the base of his near post whilst making a save.

As the sun set behind the main stand and the temperature dropping accordingly, there was warm applause from those inside the ground when Craig Stevenson’s cross-field pass found Andrew Mair out wide.  The youngster whipped in a delivery that was met by David Greenhill who couldn’t quite direct his shot home.

With just five minutes left on the stopwatch, Stirling had an opportunity to halve the deficit.  A free-kick circa 25 yards out was well struck by Michael Touhy, only for Carswell to save down low and diffuse the danger.

All three points were confirmed as heading back to the Capital deep into injury time when Chris Townsley’s header in the penalty box was saved on the line, only for the ever alert Greenhill to be on hand to poke the ball over the line.

Full Time: University of Stirling 0-3 Spartans

The opening day victory, including a clean sheet, pleased an ebullient skipper David Greenhill. “Naturally it was great to get the win but I think we can do better.  We perhaps didn’t pass the ball around as well as we know we can however fair credit to Stirling who are tricky opposition and stopped us at times from playing our game.

“That said, it was just good to get the three points and sometimes it doesn’t matter how you play to achieve that as you will get sharper game by game.”

 

 

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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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