Lowland League: Maxwell’s Civil hammer gets New Year off to a bang, bang!

Posted on Sunday, January 7th, 2018

Scott Maxwell’s 15th minute header was the difference between the sides in a closely fought North Edinburgh derby that saw Spartans edge out neighbours Civil Service Strollers 1-0 at Ainslie Park.

For many a home fan, the personnel in the visiting line-up was as familiar as their own team’s listing with several ex-Spartans players and backroom staff in their ranks, giving that derby feel an extra sparkle to it.

A popular man, outwith match winner Maxwell, around the ground was Chairman Craig Graham with all and sundry congratulating the Academy Chief on his recent New Year’s Honours news, which saw him deservedly awarded the MBE.

With the Christmas trees lining the pavements awaiting collection, one would be forgiven for thinking the season of goodwill was behind us, however perhaps Strollers keeper Stuart Burnside was counting his lucky stars when he let a Craig Stevenson free-kick slip through his fingers and into the path of Scott Maxwell. Unfortunately the striker couldn’t borrow a spade in time to dig the ball out from under his feet to get any purchase on directing a potential gift-wrapped goal home.

Next up was Craig Stevenson’s dynamic dash to the bye-line, one of a handful in relative quick succession, this time his delivery whizzed across the six yard box, with Jason Stevens hitting the back on the net, sadly sans the ball.

The wave of home pressure finally paid off after a quarter of an hour.  A trademark long throw by Jack Nixon catapulted itself into the box and found the head of Stevens.  His flick on found the welcoming noggin of Maxwell who nodded home past Burnside to break the deadlock.

David Greenhill came closest to doubling the lead when he was a mere shoelace length away from connecting as he slid in on goal keen to convert another fine delivery by the in-form Stevenson.

HT: Spartans 1-0 Civil Service Strollers

A change at the interval saw Alan Brown replace Jack Nixon.  The replacement didn’t take long to get in on the action, with his long stride style runs up the line causing chaos amongst the Strollers defence.

Greenhill finally had the ball in the net early in the half only for jubilation turn to frustration with the stand-side linesman rooted to the spot with his flag flapping freely in fresh feeling Pilton wind.

As clichés go, a one goal lead often never feels enough, and as Strollers started to work up a mild head of steam in order to forge an opening to get back on level terms, David Churchill progressed deep into home territory.  Happily for the hosts, but not for the player, his final effort didn’t match his run and the shoot drifted decidedly wide of the target.

Samuel made two further changes as the game balanced on a proverbial knife edge, Ross Allum replaced Jamie Dishington whilst Willie Bremner continued his comeback trail with 15 minutes at the expense of goal scorer Maxwell.

It was Bremner who almost set up what would have put the contest to bed when his cross found Stevens at the back post however the striker was unable to extend his legs enough to give enough direction towards the net.

FT: Spartans 1-0 Civil Service Strollers

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: Ian McFarland

Spartans: Carswell, Herd, Stevenson, Nixon (Brown 45), Tolmie, Greenhill, Dishington (Allum 63), McFarland, Stevens, Corbett, Maxwell (Bremner 75).  Subs (Unused) Thomson, Atkinson, Khutsishvili, Stobie.


Next Fixture

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

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