FNQ Cup | Spartans suffer red rage on the road in Round 1 exit

Posted on Saturday, August 17th, 2019

Spartans reign as Football Nation Qualifying Cup holders came to a premature halt after they fell to a 2-0 defeat to Berwick Rangers at a blustery Shielfield Park.

With injury and unavailability, the visitors were once again forced into a reshuffle of the side that won last time out at Gala with Michael Allan claiming a starting berth with David Greenhill on the bench following his decision to put pen to paper for another campaign.

A cross-border classic this wasn’t to be however it was the hosts who were to come out on top in an at times tousy affair that saw a series of niggly tackles throughout and Spartans finishing the match with 10 players following the late dismissal of Dean Hoskins.

The opening quarter of an hour saw both sides struggle with the windy conditions and the lush turf that made any passing game challenging.

Berwick took the lead after 24 minute when Bell was on hand to tap home following a sweeping move from defence to attack.

HT: Berwick Rangers 1-0 The Spartans

Spartans came out of the traps with a degree of eagerness to level proceedings and when the ball was sent into the box by Hoskins, the aerial challenge saw Corbett cause some chaos but he couldn’t control the direction of travel and the chance went abegging.

Midway through the second half, Berwick put light between the teams.  A mix up in the heart of the Spartans defence saw the ball break to Healy who had the freedom of Shielfield to guide the home into the empty net.

A grandstand finish was almost set up when Hoskins once again flighted in a well weighted delivery that found Blair Atkinson however the striker could only flash his header wide.

With 10 minutes left on the clock, Spartans loose grip of the trophy all but slipped when they were reduced to ten players in controversial circumstances.  Hoskins was involved in a one-on-one footrace, herding his man away from goal.  The seasoned campaigner put in a robust but fair looking challenge, only for the Referee to whistle, pull back proceedings and brandish a red card leaving a bemused and confused Hoskin heading for the sheds.

FT: Berwick Rangers 2-0 The Spartans

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: Ian McFarland

Next Fixture

Date: Saturday 27th April
Opponent: Peterhead
Venue:Ainslie Park
Competition: SPFL 2
Kick off: 3.00pm

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