Spartans go through in FNQ five goal thriller in the mist

Posted on Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Holders Spartans saw off a spirited challenge from Kelty Hearts to progress into the draw for the 2nd Round of the Football Nation Qualifying Cup in a five goal tussle at Ainslie Park.

The floodlights cut through the grey North Edinburgh sky as Spartans kicked-off their defence of the trophy against the Fifer’s who had former Spartan Errol Douglas in their ranks.

Tenacious early play by Willie Bremner almost saw an opener as he beat a dilly-dallying defender out on the touchline to race into the box however he couldn’t beat keeper Kyle Marley at his near post.

Kenny Adamson came close with a header from a set-piece, sending his header over the bar.  It should have served as a warning shot for the hosts and it was a similar scenario that led to the deadlock being broken.

A free-kick out wide was sent into the box and Sean O’Neil was first to react to out-jump the defence to send a looping header home.

Two goals in the three frantic minutes then turned the game round for the Cup holders, with Craig Stevenson influential in both.

On the half hour mark, Stevenson made a dash to the bye-line before whipping in a delightful cross that was absolutely leathered home by Willie Bremner.  Then, just three minutes later, the same provider demanded an early corner and his delivery was headed into the net by Jack Nixon.

Blair Atkinson outpaced his marker down the far-side touchline and the woodwork was rattled by Michael Herd’s subsequent header as Spartans looked to put light between the sides.

HT: Spartans 2-1 Kelty Hearts

Minutes after the restart and Blair Atkinson almost put light between the sides only to find Marley equal to the task.  However, the pacey youngster wasn’t to be out-done on the hour mark following a three pass move from defence to attack that saw Scott Maxwell break free before squaring the ball to Atkinson who tapped into the unguarded net.

The drizzle descended upon the Pilton San Siro and there were a few challenges to whet the appetite of the fans inside the ground in what was a tousy affair at times.

With ten minutes left on the clock, Kelty made the final stages just that little more interesting when Stuart Cargill capitalised inside the Spartans box before reducing the deficit to a single goal.

Malt and Hops Man of the Match winner Willie Bremner was then denied by a tag-team defender / goalkeeper stop that saw his power header diverted over the bar.

As time edged towards the final whistle, the only effort that almost hit the target was Paul Thomson’s no-nonsense clearance that earned an audible ‘Aaaaaoooooohhhhh’ from the crowd as it whizzed narrowly past a Mother and Buggy walking by to their seat!

FT: Spartans 3-2 Kelty Hearts


Malt and Hops Man of the Match: Willie Bremner


Spartans: Carswell, Herd, Stevenson, Tolmie, Thomson, Nixon, Wilson (Brown 72), McFarland, Maxwell (Dishington), Atkinson (Guthrie 78), Bremner.  Unused Subs: Greenhill, Corbett, Archibald, Stobie.

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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