Lowland League: 10-man Spartans narrowly fall short against Shire

Posted on Sunday, August 22nd, 2021

Spartans were involved in a second five goal thriller in the space of a few days, this time narrowly missing out in a dramatic afternoon at Ainslie Park.

Dougie Samuel retained his back four whilst Scott McCrory-Irving and Scott Maxwell traded places from Wednesday evening as Spartans looked to continue their winning ways at home against East Stirlingshire in the rain.

The crowd was boosted by the attendance of a Stag Party making their way to the Capital from Manchester and they were to be treated to an incredible piece of footballing theatre in the month of the Fringe Festival.

With the supporters barely in their seats, the opening moments saw a cross into the Spartans box which saw Blair Carswell punch clear, only to be unceremoniously clattered by a late Kevin Turner challenge that incurred the wrath of the home players and technical area. Carswell required a full five minutes of treatment before continuing, whilst Turner’s transgression failed to merit any further involvement by the match officials.

Spartans came close to opening the scoring when Mikey Allan went for a trademark run down the line and his cross was headed behind. Sam Newman’s subsequent corner was inches away from the head of Michael Bolochoweckyj.

It was however the visitors who broke the deadlock after Jack Healy’s run saw him shoot from 25 yards, his shot was well stopped by the outstretched Blair Carswell who was perhaps still feeling the after effects from the earlier collision and to add insult to said injury, it was Turner on hand to pop home the rebound.

A free-kick from Scott McCrory-Irving on the edge of the box was met by the Shire wall and was deflected past the post as Spartans rallied for an equaliser.

McCrory-Irving then skipped past his marker into the box to send low across the goal mouth and it was no more than a shoe lace away from Blair Henderson connecting.

With Spartans looking most likely to find the net next, they were to find themselves having to seek that route with ten minute after Michael Bolochoweckyj being shown a red card by the Referee following an off the ball altercation with Fulton as the players awaited a throw-in to come into the Shire box.

HT: The Spartans 0-1 East Stirlingshire

With the pie queue still making its way to Bains of Stenhouse heaven, it was hell on the paddock as Shire made it two, just 25 seconds after the restart.

Straight from the kick-off, Hamilton collected the ball, got into space and it fell to Turner who scored his and his sides second of the afternoon.

It wasn’t to get any prettier as the hosts conceded three goals for the first time in the league this season as Shire threatened to go nap.

Now, we’ve seen these movies before, but with ten men and a proverbial mountain to climb, could Samuel’s side perform an escape Houdini himself would have been proud of?

A potential lifeline came in the 66th minute when Jamie Dishington was upended in the box. Blair Henderson stepped up however he uncharacteristically sent the ball over the bar, much to the striker’s visible disappointment.

Spartans made a trio of substitutions as Dougie Samuel looked to salvage something from a game that they had come close on occasion to registering a goal or two themselves. On game Atkinson, Walker and Brown who replaced Henderson, Newman and McFarland.

Jamie Dishington pulled one back with 73 minutes on the clock and it was a contender for goal of the month at least. Starting off on the touchline, he cut inside and slalomed through Fulton, Kay and McColm like they were poles on the slopes of Courchevel and despatched beyond Connelly.

Dishington then further reduced the deficit following quick reactions after the ball bounced off players in the six yard box and he was on hand to send it home.

The game entered it latter stages and with two minutes of the ninety to go, Jamie Dishington pounced to reduce the gap to a solitary goal. A free-kick wasn’t cleared by the visitors and it fell to Man of the Match Dishington who netted.

Spartans pressed for what looked like an unlikely equaliser. A heat map of activity would have read a hot spot in the final third of the Shire half as the home side threw that proverbial kitchen sink towards the danger zone.

Alas, it wasn’t to be. A final play into the box was curtailed by the shrill of the whistle with Dishington denied a chance for a hat-trick when the was pinged for an infringement.

Shire manging to hold on to their at one time three goal lead and their fan tweeted long into the night…

FT: The Spartans 2-3 East Stirlingshire

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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