OG and the OMG : Carswell is Hearts stopper as last gasp save earns Spartans derby win

Posted on Wednesday, July 27th, 2022

An OG and a moment of OMG were the main talking points at Ainslie Park on Tuesday night as Spartans edged out Hearts B in a tantalising encounter to kick-start their campaign.

Over 600 supporters, including ‘Queen of Hearts’ Anne Budge, enjoyed this new Edinburgh Derby in the Pilton sunshine, save for the moments of shielding their eyes from the setting golden globe behind the neighbouring flats.

Gaffer Dougie Samuel, perhaps with one eye on the intense opening couple of weeks of fixtures, rotated a handful of his starters from Saturday.  The back five remains unchanged however there were opening berths for Sean Brown, Jamie Penker and Gregor Woods, with Blair Henderson and Jamie Dishington retiring to the bench.

Spartans started in their customary position of attacking the café end with the Hearts goalframe guarded by former Ainslie Park stopper Harry Stone.

There was an early break for the home side when Gregor Woods battled well to win the ball in midfield however he found himself with a little too much thinking time on how best to distribute and the chance was cleared.

Sean Brown used his experience and physical superiority in the middle of the paddock to make good ground, only to be upended.  He was in the box to nod down the subsequent free-kick into the path of Mikey Allan who could only send his shot wide.

Brown was to be at the heart, excuse the pun, of the 26th minute goal that was to ultimately seal the three points.  Another free-kick, this time after Mikey Allan was fouled, whipped into the box saw Brown put defender Bailey Dall under pressure and the JTs defender was unfortunate to see his header whizz past Stone into the back of the net.

Now, we could possibly fast forward to the final stages of the match at this stage, but for the purposes of reporting, we’ll continue in typical fashion…

HT: The Spartans 1-0 Hearts B

The floodlights made an early appearance and were switched on for the start of the second half.  As were the visitors who looked lively, perhaps having a touch of the Naismith hairdryer treatment in the sheds.

Hearts, who hit Berwick for six at the weekend, were causing the Spartans rear-guard some angst however the back division were resolute and kept the Maroons at bay.

Blair Carswell, a former Hearts Youth keeper before joining Les Atkinson’s Under 20s in 2012, need to look lively to push a super 20 yard effort from Bobby McLuckie over the bar.

On the hour mark Jamie Dishington replaced his industrious namesake Penker, adding fresh legs to the midfield.

Jordan Tapping could count himself decidedly unfortunate to have picked up a yellow after a robust challenge in the centre circle was deemed enough to go in the jotter of Referee Harris.

A double change in the 77th minute saw Blair Henderson and Alan Brown swap spots with Sean Brown and Gregor Woods.

Tapping was in the middle of another stooshie shortly after however this time after a collision, the defender required treatment for a tricky landing on his shoulder.  After a rub with the proverbial magic sponge, the big fella was back into the mix.

A final replacement with a few minutes left on the clock saw Calum Burns replace skipper Ian McFarland.  Burns was to have quite the eventful cameo when, with the clock ticking down the squeakybum inducing added injury time, his attempted headed clearance almost went a bit Pete Tong and it took an outstanding full-stretch fingertip stop to deny the equaliser.

Carswell had one final contribution to make with another decent stop to deny Connor Smith and as Mikey Allan went on a late dash towards the half way line, it was a welcomed whistle by Harris to end proceedings and a win for Spartans.

FT: The Spartans 1-0 Hearts B

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: Bradley Whyte

Next Fixture

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

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