EOS Qualifying Cup – A look back at stars for Spartans & Nitten

Posted on Tuesday, August 16th, 2022

It’s a break from League duty this weekend as Spartans head to Newtongrange on East of Scotland Qualifying Cup duty.

The sides haven’t locked horns often over the years however they did meet on St Andrew’s Day in 2018 in a five-goal Football Nation Qualifying Cup thriller at Ainslie Park which saw Spartans progress with a 3-2 win and the visitors end the match with 9 players in an epic encounter that came to life in the final fifteen minutes.  

A Blair Atkinson brace and a Jamie Dishington strike sending the home side on their way to lifting the trophy in the Final against Camelon the following May.

Prior to this, Newtongrange Star took part in the 2010 Ronnie Swan Trophy mini tournament which also involved Musselburgh Athletic and Spartans Juniors.

Spartans defeated Star on penalties in the Saturday semi-finals, ironically after both goals within the match coming from the spot!  Steven Thomson putting the visitors ahead before Gavin Malin setting up the shoot-out which Spartans won 3-1 and set up a Final the following day against Spartans Juniors.

A year prior to this, Star welcomed the Spartans Juniors for what was a historic fixture between the clubs.  It was Star’s first game as an East Super League side and Spartans making its debut in the Junior ranks.

At the time, the primary reason for Spartans having a team in the Junior leagues was about keeping young players at the club as a number of them in the Under 19s had to leave to find other clubs when they couldn’t get into the first team. 

The match, in the South League Cup, ended 3-2 in Star’s favour that day with Adam Perry scoring both Spartans goals.  He must have made an impression as he moved to Star the following season.

Whilst there have been engagements on the park, there are links between the sides by way of personnel.

Dougie Samuel enjoyed two seasons at Nitten (1995/96 & 1996/97) bagging 18 goals in the first and 22 in the second year there, including the winner in the 1997 Skol League Cup Final against Camelon Juniors.

Dougie Samuel

Alan Brown also played in two campaigns (2008/09 & 2010/11) picking up a John Walker East of Scotland Cup winners medal in the process.

Alan Brown

Another link between the sides is Spartans No.1 Blair Carswell and his Dad Alan.  Carswell Snr who will be in attendance on Saturday, had a successful career at Nitten, spending eight years there between 1988 & 1996, playing alongside Dougie Samuel in those latter seasons.

Alan Carswell

In more recent times there have been a series of players including Blair Tolmie, Kevin Motion, Cameron Dawson, Dylan Tait, Alex Imlah, Errol Douglas and George Hunter who have represented both clubs.

Thanks to the outstanding Newtongrange Star history section of their website for helping fill in some of the blanks in producing this piece. http://www.newtongrangestar.uwclub.net/index.html

Next Fixture

Date: Saturday 13th April
Opponent: Stranraer FC
Venue:Ainslie Park
Competition: SPFL 2
Kick off: 3.00pm

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