GeoSonic Lowland League: Rovers return to secure controversial second half win over Spartans

Posted on Sunday, October 7th, 2018

Spartans saw their undefeated GeoSonic Lowland League run come to an end in a controversial fashion as they went down 3-1 to Gala Fairydean Rovers at Netherdale.

In almost perfect autumnal conditions with a blue sky and sunshine enveloping the iconic stand, Spartans took the game to their hosts from the off, with Willie Bremner causing early inconvenience to the home defence, that saw him go down in the box under a challenge only for the Referee to wave away shouts for a spot-kick from the visitors.

Both sides showed their skills with the ball at feet, offering an expansive game to the decent crowd that required sunglasses and sweatshirts in equal measure.

A number of robust challenges in the opening quarter of the match certainly showed the intent of the players to get stuck in, none more so than Adam Corbett and Kieran Watson who both required treatment following a clunk of heads following a committed attempt to win the ball in an aerial challenge.

Spartans had the first clearcut opportunity to break the deadlock when Bremner turned in the box to set up David Greenhill however he could only pull his effort wide.

Greenhill almost atoned himself shortly after when he let fly with a thunderous shot that cannoned off the crossbar before being launched to safety.

Craig Stevenson was next up when he curled an effort towards the top corner only for Martin between the Rovers sticks to push the ball behind for a corner.

Then, with two minutes to go before the interval, Spartans took the lead. Jamie Dishington coming up with the goal with an unstoppable drive that bulged the onion bag.

HT: Gala Fairydean Rovers 0-1 The Spartans

Just seven minutes into the second half and it was all square. A free kick in back play was taken quickly – and not necessarily from the vicinity of the transgression – and with the Spartans defence caught on the hop, McKirdy delivered a decent finish to beat Carswell.

Six minutes later and the pendulum swung in the favour of Rovers when Ruairi Paton shot the Borders side into the lead for the first time in the game.

It prompted a double substitution with Stevenson and Corbett withdrawn and the two Jack’s, Nixon & Smith entering the fray.

Paton had a great opportunity to put further light between the sides when he found himself in a one-on-one with Carswell, only for the keeper to come up trumps in the battle of minds.

The drama came moments later when Jack Smith drilled what he thought was the equaliser home through a sea of legs and into the net. As the Spartans striker made his way back to the halfway line for the restart, two of the home players raced towards the far-side assistant to vent their frustration over the award of the goal. With no flag and no reason for the innocent bystander to question the status quo, the Referee took his colleague aside and after much deliberation, an offside decision was decreed. Suffice to saw, it wasn’t a popular one amongst the Spartans contingent on and off the field.

As Spartans pushed for a late – and valid – equaliser, Rovers defended resolutely. Then with a minute of regulation time on the clock, the points were secured. A challenge on the outskirts of the box was deemed to be worthy of a free-kick and from the dead ball set-piece, Tommy Patterson kept the ball low and beyond Carswell to send his side into Champions League-esque celebrations at the final whistle.

FT: Gala Fairydean Rovers 3-1 The Spartans

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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