Davidson delivers injury time winner as 9-man Spartans slay the Shire

Posted on Sunday, December 8th, 2019

Davidson delivers injury time winner as 9-man Spartans slay the Shire

A 94th minute sublime solo effort by Jake Davidson saw 9-man Spartans defy the odds to defeat 10-man East Stirlingshire at a dreich Falkirk Stadium.

With Blair Atkinson struck down late in the week with a virus, Jack Smith made a welcome return to the starting XI in a match that wasn’t shy of incident and drama.

Any stragglers heading into the ground would have likely missed the opening goal which came after just 80 seconds with Nicky Low giving the hosts the lead.

It wasn’t looking like it would be Spartans day when, in the 8th minute, a low cross into the six yard box was hooked into his own net by the unfortunate Michael Bolochoweckyj whilst attempting to hoof it to safety. 

Spartans rallied and a decent ball into the Shire box by Scott Maxwell found Dean Hoskins who was forced onto the astro under a challenge that saw the man in the middle look decidedly disinterested in any shouts for a spot kick.

A telling run by Jack Smith saw the striker place a teasing ball across the face of the Shire six yard box only for it to fall just behind Aaron Murrell who had made a late run in a valiant attempt to make contact.

A caution for Dean Hoskins, which was to be costly later in the game, saw the defender booked after an attempt to rob the Shire keeper of the ball ended with a bit of theatrics and a unfortunate yellow for the Spartans man.

Good tidings of comfort and joy may ring out at carol services this month but a robust challenge with bells on by Ian McFarland saw the no-nonsense Spartans man become the latest player to receive a card in this Christmas cracker.

It all started to get a bit silly when a sliding challenge by Alan Brown was deemed worthy of an early shower invitation and Spartans were down to 10 men and a two goal deficit with just half an hour played.

Then, from nowhere, came a route back into the game. Scott Maxwell collecting the ball in midfield, he squared it to Ian McFarland who looked up and with one touch to steady himself, he let fly from fully 30 yards to beat the keeper and get Spartans back into the game. 

Just two minutes later, the visitors had, remarkably, drawn level. 

Advantage played by the Ref following a foul just outside the Spartans box saw play rage on with Jake Davidson sending a long ball down the paddock towards Aaron Murrell.  He collected after a poor header from his marker, went on a run back in field before passing to Jack Smith. In almost a carbon copy to what was witnessed moments earlier, he let fly beyond the outstretched stopper to level proceedings ahead of the break.

HT: East Stirlingshire 2-2 The Spartans 

The visiting bench were incandescent with rage shortly after the interval when Ian McFarland deftly flicked the ball to make a better opening in the box which appeared to have clearly hit the defender’s hand but no penalty was to be forthcoming.

There may not have been the flurry of goals to note in the opening exchanges of the second half however both sides searched for a way to break the deadlock.

After clawing back to level proceedings, Spartans were delivered a further blow with fifteen minutes left on the clock when they were reduced to nine men. 

After being booked in the first half, Dean Hoskins was offered an early exit after a second yellow for a jersey tugs. 

Before play could resume, Michael Allan was brought onto the park to shore the Spartans defence at the expense of Maxwell. 

As one would suspect, Shire smelt blood and set out to secure a winner against the depleted Spartans side. They hadn’t however banked on a series of superlative saves by Malt and Hops Man of the Match Blair Carswell, including a point blank stop which proved to be telling shortly after.

A further replacement saw Gregor Woods come on for the industrious Murrell with the gaffer looking to close out and secure what would have been an excellent point considering the circumstances.

With a handful of stoppages, it was anyone’s guess as to how long the period of added time would be from the Referee.

Into the fourth minute of injury time, Jake Davidson took a throw-in on the stand side touchline. The ball was headed back into his path and with such audacity, Davidson cut back inside and as three defenders stood off, he pinged an eighteen yard drive low into the bottom corner.  Cue absolute scenes from the Spartans bench. 

Still, we’ve seen this movie before and it’s seldom over til the Twitter Guy sings. Everyone in a blue jersey awaiting the Ref placing his whistle to lips one final time.

Before he did, there was one final caution – and it was a red for one of the Shire lads. 10v9 on the park. 2v3 on the scoreboard, quite the afternoon.

Full Time: East Stirlingshire 2-3 The Spartans 

Next Fixture

Date: Saturday 30th September
Opponent: Bonnyrigg Rose
Venue:Ainslie Park
Competition: SPFL 2
Kick off: 3.00pm

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