Lowland League | Blair brace bags win over gutsy Gretna

Posted on Sunday, February 13th, 2022

Blair Henderson’s brace saw Spartans remain in second place with a 2-1 win over Gretna at a rain-soaked Ainslie Park.

Spartans Manager Dougie Samuel saw Jack Newman return between the sticks after securing another loan from Dundee United whilst there were spots on the bench for Under 20s players Sam Coats, Mackenzie Scott and Chris Inglis.

There was pre-match drama when Jamie Dishington was deemed unable to start the game and he was replaced by Sam Jones.

Ahead of kick-off, everyone in the ground fell silent to pay their respects to Iain Muirhead, the Chairman of Bo’ness United who sadly passed away the previous week.

The opening exchanges failed to throw open any clear opportunities as Spartans looked to continue their unbeaten Lowland League run which had reached seven games.

There was neat play between Sam Newman and Bradley Whyte with the latter whizzing a cross into the danger zone however there were no takers in front of goal.

Kevin Waugh was in fine form at the back, mopping up Gretna advances and putting in robust challenges along the way, including one that Ngoy clearly didn’t enjoy.

Then the rain came. And continued. The fans scurried to the top of the stand to keep dry and the floodlights beamed against the backdrop of grey Pilton sky.

Sam Jones sent a corner into the Gretna box with the lurking Kevin Waugh desperately unlucky as he watched his effort come back off the post.

There was a break in play as Euan Smith required treatment in front of the stand. He was assisted back to the sheds and Rhys Caves entered the fray.

Spartans were still on the offensive when Blair Henderson looked to have had his shirt pulled whilst seeking to make contact with a cross. Despite the striker’s remonstrations, no foul play was deemed to have taken place and almost immediately, Gretna went on the counter attack and a sclaffed shot from Robbie Ivison appeared to elude Newman and the ball slipped into the net.

With the game hurtling towards half time, Spartans were on level terms and it was hitman Henderson with the equaliser.

Sam Jones fed Allan Smith on the edge of the box and the neatest of touches saw the ball fall into the path of Blair Henderson who drilled home.

HT: The Spartans 1-1 Gretna 2008

Henderson looked as if he’d put his side ahead shortly after the interval when he popped up at the back post from a corner to tap home however the lino had other plans and the flag was raised to curtail any celebrations.

Midway through the half, Blair Henderson was on hand to get that second goal, a crucial strike that was to secure the three points in the end.

Despite a trio of Gretna defensive headers from a cross into the box to attempt a clearance, he ball fell to 5 who launched the ball back into the penalty area. Henderson nodding down to Allan Smith who laid off to the prolific striker who netted his 29th of the season.

Spartans made a 68th minute change with Mackenzie ‘Mackie’ Scott replacing Allan Smith up top.

The youngster almost made it a dream debut when he attempted to curl the ball into the net only for a fine fingertip save denying him.

FT: The Spartans 2-1 Gretna 2008

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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