GeoSonic Lowland League: Spoils shared in scrappy derby draw

Posted on Sunday, December 30th, 2018

Spartans and Civil Service Strollers shared the spoils in a close encounter of the North Edinburgh kind as the curtain came down on the 2018 Lowland League season, with an opening minute Stephen MacDonald strike cancelled out by a late Strollers penalty.

Blair Tolmie returned to the starting line up in the heart of defence whilst Les Atkinson’s Under 20s team made up the bulk of the bench with talented youngsters Nicky Reid, Joe Tait, Murray Hand and Cameron Dawson receiving call-ups once again to the squad, offering a further ringing endorsement of the Academy player pathway.

Strollers kicked off in what was a chilly afternoon in the capital and set off with an aerial launch up the park.  It was headed back into the path of Blair Atkinson who set Stephen MacDonald off on ball chase.  Forced out wide, the American looked like he’d require assistance to ensure fluidity was maintained however the striker slipped the ball inside and beyond Mark McConnell before beating Josh Donaldson at his near post.  19.82 seconds gone and the ball in the net before some of the home coaching team had even made the changing room to dug out pilgrimage.

It was the most ideal starts for Spartans who looked like they were keen to put their Muirhouse-based opponents on the ropes shortly after as Atkinson burst through the middle, only to be hauled back by Kevin Waugh, the first of a handful of Strollers players to be shown yellow by Referee Duncan Williams.

Blair Tolmie was next to try his luck as he rose above his marker in the box before heading downwards towards the sticks.  His effort took a deflection and narrowly fell on the wrong side of the post.  He’s got 99 appearances – and the goal ain’t one.

The ebb and flow of the derby fixture continued and Atkinson was denied a goal by a last ditch block whilst at the other end, David Churchill had three bites of the proverbial cherry, the first resulting in a golf swing and a miss before recovering with a shot that rebounded for him to try with the head instead.

Half Time: Spartans 1-o Civil Service Strollers

As far as clichés go, the next goal in a tight game is always crucial and Ian McFarland wanted in on the action when the ball came his way inside the Civil box. Facing away from Donaldson’s net, the Spartans man went into full acrobatic mode, launching himself like some FIFA19 character with the overhead kick, only for the whistle to be blown for ‘dangerous play’ as Alieu Faye went in for the challenge.

Atkinson then had an opportunity to put light between the sides when he raced in on goal, but he was denied by Donaldson who ventured to the edge of his area to make himself big and block the shot before it was unceremoniously hoofed to safety.

Spartans made a change, with Murray Hand replacing Scott Maxwell.

It was becoming a scrappy affair, one of the purists you could argue.  Then, things were tasty again.  A Strollers free-kick was launched into the box and fell comfortably into the hands of Blair Carswell.  Unfortunately Strollers man McConnell also fell, with the whistler adjudging that he’d been offered some assistance in making his way onto the ground and a penalty was awarded.

Jack Downie stepped up and despite Carswell correctly guessing the direction, the twelve yard kick was too powerful for the Spartans keeper to stop.  All square with ten minutes left on the clock.

Both teams looked for that elusive winner and the tempo of the game was to rise once again. Spartans then made another late replacement, with youngster Joe Tait coming on for David Greenhill.

It was heading towards a share of the spoils as one last launch into the visitor’s box was undertaken.  Keeper Donaldson was obstructed by his own defender who could only head the ball yards away.  Under pressure from Mikey Herd, Strollers scorer Downie appeared to initially control the ball with his arm however the man in the middle was unmoved by the home protests.

FT: Spartans 1-1 Civil Service Strollers

 

 

 

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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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