BetFred Cup: Spartans earn plaudits but Killie come good in the end

Posted on Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

A more than spirited Spartans side held off their lofty Premiership opponents Kilmarnock for over an hour in their final BetFred Cup outing before succumbing to a 0-3 defeat at Ainslie Park on Tuesday night.

Coach Derek Riddel rung the changes from Saturday’s leg-weary battle at Hampden with no fewer than five swaps to the side that narrowly lost out to Queen’s Park.  Summer signing Stephen MacDonald took up his first spot in the squad whilst Scott Costello made his debut between the sticks.

A busy night at the sun soaked Pilton arena saw a sizeable travelling support make the trip to the capital hoping to see skipper Kris Boyd add to his hat-trick at the weekend and they looked to have been rewarded within the opening two minutes when an Iain Wilson cross saw Boyd hit the net however, the former Scotland striker was all over Blair Tolmie like a cheap suit and was pinged for climbing in the process.

It truly was the proverbial David v Goliath clash however despite the loftier listing of the tourists, the home side competed well throughout to frustrate the Rugby Park outfit.

Whilst the Ayrshire side may well have had the greater of the chances, it quickly became the Boyd and Costello show as the Spartans stopper thwarted the 18 times capped former Scotland striker on two occasions before the break.

For their troubles, Spartans pressed and their dogged determination saw Jamie Dishington thrive on the opportunity to lock horns against the full timers with David Greenhill, Craig Stevenson and Alan Brown amongst those taking the game to the visitors with probing runs.

HT: Spartans 0-0 Kilmarnock

The half time bovrils had barely been consumed by the time Boyd was at it again.  Thankfully for the hosts, the only roof of the net his effort from a Ryan McKenzie corner found, was the top of the adjoining five-a-side cage.

Costello made it a hat-trick of stops to deny Boyd when he pulled off a first class one handed effort, drawing warm applause around the ground as Kilmarnock stepped up a gear to find the opener.

That finally came in the 63rd minute.  With Spartans being forced to defender deeper than Barry White’s voice, Wilson’s delivery into the box fell favourably for Lee Erwin who showed great composure under pressure before sending his shot across the body of Costello into the far bottom corner.

There was further light put between the sides in the 78th minute when dangerman Wilson whipped in a telling cross and the impressive replacement Mikael Ndjoli scooped his foot round the ball past a stranded Costello.

It was the same player who put the icing on the Killie cake at the death when he latched onto the ball before guiding it home despite the despairing defending efforts on the line to prevent it from crossing into the net.

A very credible performance once again from the Lowland League side who have more than equipped themselves against three SPFL sides during this pre-season tournament.

Full Time: Spartans 0-3 Kilmarnock



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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