Scottish Cup | Spartans delivered Boxing Day knockout blow by slick Stranraer

Posted on Sunday, December 27th, 2020

The Road to Hampden was cut short at a soggy Stranraer on Boxing Day when Dougie Samuel’s depleted squad dropped out of the competition after a 5-0 defeat to the SPFL 2 side.

With Mikey Allan, Dan Baur and Michael Bolochoweckyj forced to withdraw from the squad at late notice, the gaffer was allegedly almost one text away from the Twitter Guy appearing on the bench for the 260 mile trek in what were decidedly seasonal conditions.

There was however a place in the squad for goalkeeping coach Steve Ellison due to the original replacement keeper unable to travel. Thankfully for the 50 year old former Meadowbank Thistle & Raith Rovers stopper, he was only involved as per in the warm-up routine!

Stair Park didn’t offer the Ainslie Park side much change back on their last visit in the Irn Bru Cup and alas, it wasn’t to be a different outcome this time round either.

That said, the first clear opportunity of the afternoon did fall to the visitors, with a Scott McCrory-Irving cross into the box deceiving everyone in the swirling wind, falling to Gregor Woods at the back post which potentially took him as much by surprise than anything else and he just couldn’t adjust to make the Stranraer keeper to work a bit harder for his save.

With just shy of ten minutes gone, the hosts took the lead. A spate of chances saw the ball finally go out for a corner which was lofted into the box. Ayrton Sonkur headed it high into the air and as the defence pondered when and where it was going to drop out of the sky, Daryll Duffy raced in to head home.

Spartans rallied and there was a long pass seeking the pacey Blair Atkinson out however the long leg of Scott Robertson poked the ball away to prevent a potential one-on-one with the keeper.

Fine interactive play between Scott Maxwell and Blair Atkinson saw the former race into the box and force Greg Fleming to turn the ball round the post for a corner with his laces. The resultant dead ball effort saw the keeper have to look lively as it swung into the six yard box, seeing him punch the ball to safety with his legs already behind the line.

Two close efforts for the tourists but each were subsequently followed by the same outcome for the home side – a goal.

Andrew Stirling sending in what looked like a speculative cross into the box and it evaded all and sundry but no Ruairi Paton who was hovering around the back post and he tucked it home despite the efforts of Matt Baines.

Another corner for the hosts saw enough light between the sides before the break to suggest that this was not to be Spartans day. Adam Cummins was on hand to drive home to make it 3-0 ahead of the break.

HT: Stranraer 3-0 The Spartans

Aaron Murrell replaced Archie Meekison on the hour mark as Spartans changed things around up top looking for a crumb of consolation on a manky afternoon in the wind and rain.

Blair Atkinson went on a run through the heart of the Stranraer defence, only to be send to the ground by Cummins who manhandled the striker, earning the defender a yellow card. The free-kick was a neat one off the training ground with Scott Maxwell just unable to track the ball going over his head to make contact after finding space.

No-one would have begrudged the North Edinburgh side a goal for their endeavours however, a moment of deja vu up the other end saw Stranraer make it four.

Jamie Hamill sent in a teasing cross that tempted Baines off his line and when the wind didn’t carry the ball that far, it landed on the napper of Matt Yates who nodded over the keeper and into the empty net.

Baines was called into action pulling off a fine save before Maxwell still had enough energy to dash into the box before sending the ball across the six yard line only for Joe Tait to wish he had fellow substitute Cameron Dawson’s legs as he just couldn’t stretch out enough to make contact the send home.

With just a couple of minutes left on the clock, the scoreline was extended, perhaps flattering the hosts slightly, when Andrew Stirling was played in behind the Spartans defence and he darted into the box before passing to Matt Yates who bagged his brace of the afternoon.

FT: Stranraer 5-0 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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