Lowland League: Clean sheets make for perfect match in Gretna

Posted on Sunday, April 8th, 2018

Spartans returned to the top of the league following a comfortable three goal victory on the road at Gretna on Saturday, setting up an exciting final seven days of an enthralling Ferrari Packaging Lowland League season.

With a full squad to choose from, gaffer Dougie Samuel kept his selection til the final moment, perhaps with the dreich Dumfriesshire conditions a contributory factor in his choice of personnel.

The Raydale Park surface hasn’t had it’s challenges to seek of late with the extended wintry weather however a Racing Post rating of ‘Soft’ meant a day of dynamic fast flowing passing football might have to take a raincheck as it started to cut up as the game got under way.

A frantic opening spell with Blair Carswell having to look sharp at a corner kick whilst at the other end, both Willie Bremner and Alan Brown set out their stall with some impressive pace down the flanks.

Carswell was called into action a quarter of an hour in, when he looked to have tipped a tasty effort behind for a corner.  The stand-side Assistant flagged for a bye-kick however a late Saturday night Retweet from the goalie surely recognition enough that he was claiming it as a goal stopping save!

The deadlock was broken on the half hour mark.  David Greenhill outmuscling Jamie Hope to offer some of his own and with Gretna goalie John Wightman racing out from his line, the Spartans man kept his composure and lobbed the keeper and despite the attempted goal line heroics of Daniel Wadge, the ball nestled in the net.

That advantage was almost doubled when Jamie Dishington directed a header towards the onion bag, only for a scrambling Wightman to gratefully look on as the ball narrowly went past the post.

HT: Gretna 2008 0-1 Spartans

A change at half time (sadly not the rain going off) saw Adam Corbett replaced by Jack Nixon.

Spartans looked hungrier than a Greyhound in the traps as they set out to extend their lead in order to secure the points.  The legs of Jake Smith and Wadge both coming to the home side’s rescue as Dishington and Greenhill both came close with their respective attempts.

There was an air of inevitability however when Spartans did double their lead.  Craig Stevenson’s turb0-boosted burst up the line saw him leave Liam Studholme behind and his whipped in cross was met by Dishington who evaded a last gasp challenge from Smith to leave Wightman with no chance.

The game was put to bed in the 71st minute.  Substitute Ian McFarland was crudely upended by Michael McAnespie just in off the touchline setting up a free-kick for Stevenson.  The dead ball specialist sending in a delivery that initially looked to have been connected by the head of Guillermo Lamarca however the final touch to send the ball past a sprawling Wightman came from an unfortunate Gretna defender.

Three goals, three points and another clean sheet.  We go again on Wednesday night at Dalbeattie in the oft-postponed league fixture.

FT: Gretna 2008 0-3 Spartans

Spartans: Carswell, Brown, Stevenson, Tolmie, Corbett (Nixon), Herd, Dishington (Stevens), Greenhill (McFarland), Lamarca, Bremner, Maxwell.  Subs (Unused) Atkinson, Allum, Malin, Peterson (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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