Lowland League | Russell at the double as Spartans see off Shire

Posted on Thursday, September 29th, 2022

A double from Cammy Russell set Spartans on their way to a comeback victory on the road against East Stirlingshire at a fresh feeling Falkirk Stadium on Wednesday night.

With Jordan Tapping ruled out of contention due to a knock at the weekend, there was a further shift in the defensive pack for Dougie Samuel as he looked to get back to winning ways at the first time of asking following Saturday’s derby defeat.

There was an early scare for the tourists who saw the ball hit the back of Blair Carswell’s net after just four minutes however the stand-side linesman was having none of it, putting up his flag without hesitation.

A decent run to the bye-line from Jamie Dishington, one of several players who have played for both teams, saw him send the ball back into the danger area however there were no takers in the box.

It was the other end of the park that saw the opening goal as a slack back pass was pounced upon by McDonald who poked the ball past Blair Carswell and Scott Honeyman had the freedom of Falkirk to tap into the empty onion bag.

Spartans rallied as they sought to get back into the game quickly whilst the hosts were keen to build on the blunder looking for their first win of the campaign.

Jamie Dishington cut inside from the touchline to give himself just about enough space to test Connelly from 20 yards.

The same player was to cause chaos as he progressed to the edge of the box and a combination of challenges which wouldn’t have looked out of place at Murrayfield saw the playmaker man-handled to the ground.  Cammy Russell’s free-kick cleared the wall but to his disappointment, also the goalframe too.

Shire found themselves reduced to 10 men after 26 minutes, double the length of time it took them at Bo’ness, when Kyle Ewing was the recipient of his second yellow of the evening for a foul in the middle of the paddock. 

Numerical advantage then for Spartans however the key number was still goals and the hosts had more of them despite having fewer players.

Spartans set out to redress that imbalance and Blair Henderson forced a goal line clearance whilst Mikey Allan’s header landed on top, rather than under, the roof of the net.

Then, with ten minutes until the interval, the score was tied.  Cammy Russell was on hand to finish off a move that saw the tourists spring the offside trap and the striker raced in before sliding the ball under the advancing keeper to make it 1-1.

HT: East Stirlingshire 1-1 The Spartans

Jamie Penker replaced Alan Brown at the break as Spartans looked to continue with the momentum built from the equaliser before the interval.

There was a shout from the visiting contingent when Rhys Armstrong sent his free-kick towards goal and when the net rippled on the far side with the keeper scrambling, those in the stand were perhaps unfortunate with their angles and despite their momentary enthusiasm, it was quickly established that the ball had indeed, hit the outside of the net.

Sean Brown was next to enter the fray at the expense of Ian McFarland and he was make an invaluable impact when he was on hand to head home from a corner to put his side into the lead for the first time.

Four minutes late, it was almost a carbon copy that put light between the teams when Blair Henderson this time rose like a salmon to beat off the defence to nod beyond the spreadeagled Connelly who remained stranded on his line.

Henderson was next to earn some rest time and he was replaced by Under 20s skipper Sam Coats.

Blair Carswell was more of a by-stander in the second half however he was called into action when he produced a fine fisted stop, beating away a thumping effort from Kai Wilson.

The scoring wasn’t finished and when Cammy Russell raced into the box, there was only one likely outcome and he laced his boot through the ball, cutting it across the keeper, and drilling it low into the opposite corner to round off the win.

It was his last action too as he came off along with Rhys Armstrong with seven to go and youngsters Chris Inglis and Joe Tait, making a welcome return, on as their replacements.

FT: East Stirlingshire 1-4 The Spartans

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: Rhys Armstrong

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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