Lowland League: Stevens opens account as Spartans see off Students

Posted on Saturday, December 16th, 2017

Spartans made it three wins on the bounce with a well earned 1-3 victory over Stirling University at a freezing cold Falkirk Stadium under the lights on Friday night.

Blair Carswell pulled on the gloves for the 100th time in his Spartans senior career whilst Willie Bremner was named in amongst the replacements following a long road to recovery from injury.

It took just 8 minutes for the deadlock to be broken and it was the visitors who caught the hosts out cold.  Scott Maxwell flighted a well placed corner kick into the danger area to find the talismanic Blair Tolmie who rose above the Stirling defence to thunder his header beyond Kevin Walker in the Uni goal.

That lead was doubled just nine minutes later and it was done so in some style.  A textbook guide defence splitting pass by Ian McFarland saw the Students on the back foot from which they never recovered and David Greenhill was on hand to hammer home from inside the box to put light between the sides.

Paul Thomson showed why he is one of the top defenders in the Lowland League with his mopping up of long balls and his work at the back was to see Ross Guthrie almost capitalise at the other end of the park, only to be squeezed out as he looked to find a shot at the target.

The clear starry sky may have been picturesque and welcoming for those looking for NASA’s new planets, but the lack of cloud cover meant temperatures dipped considerably as the night progressed.  This was causing some challenges across the non-stand side where players looked like they were wearing their baffies instead of mouldies as they slipped around over on the sidelines.

HT: Stirling Uni 0-2 Spartans

Spartans made a change at the break with Adam Corbett replacing Paul Thomson, the replacement yet another fantastic product of the player pathway system in place at the Academy.

It took the heroics of Stirling keeper Walker to deny Jason Stevens from opening his account, clawing the ball away when a goal looked the only likely outcome from the headed finish to Craig Stevenson’s cross.

Blair Lyons then came close for the Students with the thickness of the post coming to Spartans rescue as the hosts began to gradually creep their way back into the game.

Ten minutes into the second half and the deficit was finally halved.  Pressure paid off and a challenge in the box was immediately turned into a spot kick which Lewis Bonar drilled right down the middle.

It could have been worse for the visitors had the match official allowed play to progress with Stirling on the break.  The ball finding its way into the net only for the whistle to have been blown seconds before it trundled over the whitewash and brought back for a free-kick for the hosts outside the box.

Michael Herd came off the bench to replace Ross Guthrie as the game entered its final quarter.

Then, with twenty minutes left on the clock, the half time two goal lead was restored.  Jamie Dishington’s cross evaded the Uni defence and new recruit Jason Stevens didn’t need a written invitation to see off the move with a dynamic header that tested the pegs on the base on the net.

Dachi Khutsishvili was next to peel off the layers to make an appearance at the expense of Dishington who celebrated his 21st birthday on Tuesday.

There was nearly icing on the Spartans cake shortly after when the Georgian substitute beat his man on the flank and his cross was hoofed off the line by Daniel Ashe.

FT: Stirling Uni 1-3 Spartans

Post match, Spartans Centurion Blair Carswell said, “I have to admit I wasn’t aware that it was my 100th game which is obviously a fantastic milestone for me having progressed from the youth ranks.  We came here to get the three points and we done the job we set out to do.

“I think we had control of the bulk of the game and whilst Stirling had a decent amount of possession early in the second half, I felt that our defence held strong, were well organised and prevented their strikers from troubling me too much.  We scored three great goals and that’s all that matters.

“All we can do is play one game at a time and keep going out to record victories and see where it takes us.”

Spartans: 1. Carswell 2. Nixon 3. Stevenson 4. Tolmie (Corbett) 5. Thomson 6. Greenhill 7. Dishington (Khutsishvili) 8. McFarland 9. Guthrie (Herd) 10. Stevens 11. Maxwell Subs (Unused) 14. Atkinson 16. Dawson 18. Bremner GK. Stobie

Images from the game can be found on our Facebook page here and here


Next Fixture

Date: Saturday 30th September
Opponent: Bonnyrigg Rose
Venue:Ainslie Park
Competition: SPFL 2
Kick off: 3.00pm

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