Lowland League: Stevens shakes Vale with late brace as Spartans bag win in the Borders

Posted on Sunday, August 5th, 2018

American striker Steven MacDonald recorded his first goal for this new club as Spartans recorded their first win of the season with a 1-4 victory over Vale of Leithen at Victoria Park on Saturday.

With a plethora of competitive fixtures during the opening few weeks of the season, including the BetFred Cup, squad rotation and player welfare was once again a key contributory factor for the Gaffer, with MacDonald starting up front along with Harry Girdwood, the Academy Graduate.

It didn’t take long for MacDonald to assert his presence on the park and in the fourth minute, he was the meat in the Vale sandwich, bundled to the ground by a combination of former Spartans players Sean Stewart and Jack Blaikie.  Scott Maxwell lined up to take the free-kick out wide of the penalty area and his launched effort into the busy box evaded all and deceived Ross Gilpin to nestle in the net for an early lead.

Sometimes, they say, you can score too early.  Despite having the bulk of possession in the opening period of the game played in the tranquil Borders setting of rolling hills and smoking chimneys (ok, we’ll overlook the gargantuan comms tower that sits and looks down on proceedings), the next goal came at the other end.

A long ball into the Spartans danger area wasn’t picked up and when it was headed back across the six yard line, who else but the former Ainslie Park hero Keith McLeod to be on hand to tap in the equaliser.

Spartans pressed to poke their noses back in front however the high line of the Vale defence saw the stand-side Referee’s Assistant possibly requiring the Physio to treat him for RSI at the break, such was the volume of flag waving for offsides as a result.

However, the visitors were to sneak behind Chris Anderson’s back division and it was that man MacDonald who raced towards goal before sliding under Gilpin to net his first for the club since signing from Musselburgh Athletic in the summer.  The delight in big lad’s celebration of breaking his duck was clear to see and the sizeable travelling SpartanArmy support showed their appreciation too.

Half Time: Vale of Leithen 1-2 Spartans

There was almost further light put between the sides shortly after the interval when MacDonald’s quick throw found Girdwood who presented Craig Stevenson with an opportunity to shoot, but his curled effort was just narrowly wide.

Jack Smith was desperately unlucky not to get on the scoresheet when his fantastic finish was flagged offside whilst Blair Carswell had to look lively to get down low to time his save and push the ball away from the shoelaces of Liall Smith.  Stevenson was next to protect the lead with a timely tackle as the hosts threatened to earn Spartans the unwelcome tag of ‘draw specialists’.

Two goals inside as many minutes however from Jason Stevens saw Spartans taken the three points back up the road.

An injection of pace from substitute Alan Brown saw him glide down the wing past his man before his telling delivery was rammed home by Jason Stevens.  The striker bagged himself a brace moments later after Gilpin could only parry away a David Greenhill powerful drive and Stevens duly obliged by returning the ball with added oomph to find the net.

Full Time: Vale of Leithen 1-4 Spartans

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: Jack Nixon



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Next Fixture

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Date: Saturday 15th December
Opponent: Dalbeattie Star
Venue: Islecroft Stadium
Competition: GeoSonic Lowland League
Kick off: 3.00pm

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