GeoSonic Lowland League: It’s beginning to look a lot like Dish-mass as Spartans out-fox Gretna

Posted on Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

A Man of the Match double from Jamie Dishington showed Spartans were no turkeys in coming from behind to beat Gretna at Ainslie Park in the Christmas GeoSonic Lowland League showdown.

Injury and unavailability saw Manager Dougie Samuel shuffle the pack and he dealt an unfamiliar back division which handed teenager Josh Wishart his first start for the Lowland League side whilst Scott Maxwell returned to the squad following paternity leave.

Unless you’ve been out of any form of signal area since the end of the game, you’ll be familiar with a certain incident that occurred near the end of the match.  More on this later in this report…

So, onto the game itself and there was almost an early opportunity for the hosts, who had four Academy Graduates starting plus four on the bench, when Jamie Dishington made a dash to the byeline before whizzing the ball across the danger area.  The pass just with too much pace on it to have been met by the incoming Blair Atkinson.

Next up saw a free-kick from just outside the box that produced a decent effort from David Greenhill and an equally sound save by Gretna goalie Graham Wright.

The visitors, looking to build on their emphatic win last week, took the lead just after the half hour mark.  Arguably against the run of play, a corner kick was floated into the box and the alert Daniel Smales nipped infront of the static Spartans defence to head home, much to the delight of the merry band of Gretna followers in the stand.

It was almost all square ahead of the half time trip to the sheds when Blair Atkinson dug the ball out from under his feet to boot it netbound, only for keeper Wright to somehow throw his body in front of the shot to deny a certain goal.

HT: Spartans 0-1 Gretna FC 2008

Whatever was said in the home changing room at the interval was possibly unprintable in a family journal but it sure saw a change of pace as the teams came out of the traps for the second half.

A stramash inside the Gretna six yard box saw the ball ping around as is the players legs were levers in a game of Pinball and finally Stephen MacDonald’s long lanky Yankee legs couldn’t get enough purchase on it to direct home.

Nine minutes after the restart, the sides were level.  Jamie Dishington channelling his inner Moses as he parted the Gretna sea of defenders to race in unopposed before sidefooting the ball beyond the beleaguered Wright between the visiting sticks.

With the scores tied and Spartans confidence rising, Gretna were put further on the back foot when scoring Smales was shown his second yellow of the afternoon, sending him for the early shower.

Matters went from bad to worse for the Dumfriesshire side when Dishington delivered a metaphorical killer Christmas blow midway into the half.  A Mikey Herd powershot from the edge of the box was spilt by Wright and following out-muscling defender Jamie Hope, the Spartans man netted his seventh goal of the campaign.

A couple of replacements saw Scott Maxwell make his return at the expense of Stephen MacDonald whilst Blair Atkinson traded places with another Under 20s starlet Murray Hand with a quarter of an hour left to play.

Despite a goal and a man down, Gretna continued to push for an equaliser and Spartans stopper Blair Carswell needed to look lively, getting down low to push a useful Malcolm Holliday drive behind for a corner.

If that save was sublime, then the next talking point has proved to be nothing short of the ridiculous – or as we now experience – famous!  Referee Colin Whyte called a temporary halt to proceedings and approached the home bench requesting Groundstaff removed some form of ‘foreign object’ from the park.  Club Chaplain Gary Ketchen was despatched to alert Academy Head Groundsman Paul McMillan who was ‘shovel ready’ to pick up the unwelcome dollop of Fox plop to allow play to rage on.  Quite how it remained on the park for 80 minutes without anyone noticing is a mystery to your scribe…

Back on with the show and with ten minutes left, another goal would be crucial at either end however neither keeper was up for conceding further and Spartans held out for the Christmas gift of three points in what one media outlet described as ‘A Game of Poo Halves’.  They’re weren’t wrong.

Full Time: Spartans 2-1 Gretna FC 2008

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: Jamie Dishington

 

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Next Fixture

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Date: Friday 18th January
Opponent: Tranent Juniors
Venue: Ainslie Park
Competition: Football Nation Cup Quarter Final
Kick off: 7.30pm

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