Spartans extend run as Beefy brace outwits Preston at Pennypitt

Posted on Saturday, January 7th, 2017

Keith Murray’s second half double saw Spartans extend their Ferrari Packaging Lowland League unbeaten run to six matches with a 2-o win at Pennypitt against basement dwellers Preston Athletic.

Spartans run started against the same opposition at Ainslie Park back in November and were looking to avoid any potential banana skins in their first-footing expedition to the East Lothian town.

Scott Maxwell returned to the squad following the delivery of Mini Maxi last weekend (congrats to all of you from everyone!) whilst Craig Comrie enjoyed a starting berth.  Meanwhile, our fan with the cam, the illustrious Grim O’Grady arrived with his newly coloured locks courtesy of sponsor Perfectly Paris Hair (picture on our twitter feed!).

On with the game and it was a scene akin to a siege from the Alamo in the opening exchanges as Spartans looked to kick-off the New Year with an early strike.

Keith Murray looked hungry from the off and he was denied by a fine save from Pennycuick before seeing a rasper from the edge of the box clip the top of the bar in a busy period inside the home danger zone.

An innocent by-stander at the opposite end for the first 20 minutes, Blair Carswell found himself having to look sharp as Mark Smith’s decidedly difficult to describe effort almost crept under the bar, but for the fingertips of the Spartans stopper.

The early evening dark sky was fast coming in as the half drew to a close and as the players headed to the half time sheds, the Pennypitt lights were flicked on in preparation for a slightly more illuminating second period.

HT: Preston Athletic 0-0 Spartans

Just three minutes after the break, the deadlock was finally broken.

Murray capitalised on some average defending to nip in and send the ball into the back of the onion bag with the isolated Pennycuick left to collect the ball for the first time in 2017.

Chris Inglis was perhaps fortunate to only receive a yellow card with an unhelpful challenge on Craig Comrie shortly after, a tackle that saw Michael Herd cautioned for his remonstrations with the match official.

After the mayhem simmered down into a frenzy, Alan Brown defied the lumpy bumpy surface to show some tasty twinkle-toed footwork to ghost into the box however he could only look on in frustration as his finished product went narrowly over the bar.

Cometh the hour and it was that man Murray to inflict further misery on Craig Nisbet’s side when he swooped like a seagull on chips to seize on a spill from Pennycuick who failed to hold on to Herd’s shot from the edge of the box.  Murray tucked the ball away from close range much to the enjoyment of the travelling Spartan Army faithful in the stand.

There was almost a collectors item as the game entered it’s dying stages when Paul Thomson found himself on the edge of the box and his athletic hook shot attempt was deflected behind by the head of a grateful defender.

FT: Preston Athletic 0-2 Spartans

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: Keith Murray

Spartans: Murray, Herd, Mair (Ward 68), Thomson, Tolmie, Greenhill, Beesley (Maxwell 82), Comrie (Dishington 78), Murray, Brown, Stevenson.  Subs (Not Used) Gabiola, Townsley, Gilpin (GK)



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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