Under 20s: Binos lament as Lamont seals Spartans comeback win

Posted on Monday, August 2nd, 2021

Spartans u20s got their 2021-22 season under way in winning fashion with a five goal thriller against Stirling Albion at Ainslie Park.

With no fewer than 88 clubs spread over 6 Conference divisions, the Development League set-up this season is the biggest yet.

Under 20s Head Coach Les Atkinson had a fine blend of experience, returnees and new recruits within his match day squad of 18 players.

For visitors Stirling Albion, it was their debut in the Development League and it nearly got off to the worst possible start as Ben Lamont lobbed the advancing keeper, only to see his effort crash off the crossbar.

The Binos then went up the park and took the lead following some kamikaze defending that saw keeper Miko Komocki exposed and Spartans, remarkably, were playing catch-up already.

That lasted for a full two minutes.  A corner whipped into the box saw Ben Lamont rise above the pack on players on the edge of the six yard box to head net-bound.  The ball looked to have crossed the line despite the despairing efforts of the goalie, Blair Atkinson’s toe pushed the rebound back towards the onion bag however it was Josh Laing on the line who appeared to get the final touch.  We’ll leave it to the lads to decide on that one!

The joy was short-lived as another blunder at the back saw the Binos take the lead.  It took a solid piece of defending by Josh Laing moments later to ensure there wasn’t further light between the sides as they disappeared up the tunnel at the break.

HT: Spartans 1-2 Stirling Albion

Spartans made a double substitution at the break with Reece Mason and Given Ndlovu replacing Atkinson and McCrory-Irving.

The pair of replacements injected new found pace and within seven minutes of the re-start, Spartans were level for the second time.

Reece Mason collecting a pass twenty five yards out before progressing into the box and unleashing an unstoppable drive that flashed past the keeper at break-neck speed. 

The swing of the pendulum saw Stirling Albion claim for a spot-kick that could have seen them regain the lead however the Referee waved protests aside.  Moments later, Ben Lamont was on the move at the other end of the park, rounding the keeper and before sliding the ball home, despite the attentions of a back-tracking defender on the line.

Ndlovu and Mason continued to impress most of the 70 or so watching from the stand with their nifty footwork, skill and speed, often drawing warm applause and even a wee ‘Ole!’ too.

With give minutes left on the clock, Liam Thabet came on for the industrious Aaron Cameron.

It was nervous final few moments as the Spartans defence came under sustained pressure, with Komocki and his back division doing just about enough to see out the game and take full points in the opening game of the campaign.

FT: Spartans 3-2 Stirling Albion

A delighted Head Coach Les Atkinson said, “It’s great to be back to Friday night football after months of inaction.

“Having only had around three weeks to work with our squad, I was fairly content with our performance overall.  We lost two soft goals so some defensive work required over the coming weeks, but plenty of positives to take from the game.

“The talent we have brought into the squad and their desire to learn and develop augurs well for the future. The game itself I thought was very open but felt we pretty much controlled large parts.

“Stirling contributed greatly to the game by playing some very attractive football and could have snatched a very late equaliser which would have been harsh on our boys.

“A good season opener from us with much more to come from this young exciting group of players. We now look forward to playing Edinburgh City on Friday ‘away’ at Ainslie Park.”

Next Fixture

Date: 29/06/24
Opponent: Livingston FC
Venue:Ainslie Park
Competition: Pre-Season Friendly
Kick off: 3.00pm

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