Lowland League | New Year cheers as Spartans get 2023 off to winning start

Posted on Wednesday, January 4th, 2023

Dougie Samuel shuffled his Spartans pack following Saturday’s victory over Strollers with Harvey Swann, Sean Brown and Ian McFarland in the starting Xi for the visit of Rangers B to Ainslie Park.

It was almost an early opener for the first-footers with Blair Carswell having to look lively to pull off a top reflex save to deny the dangerous Robbie Ure from close range.

Jamie Dishington forged open an opportunity at the other end in response however his effort from long range failed to trouble Lewis Budinauckas between the Rangers sticks.

Jordan Tapping was next to try his luck and his header from a telling free-kick from Cammy Russell just went narrowly wide.

It was the provider who was to turn scorer shortly after when he was played in from Bradley Whyte who drove through the Rangers midfield with gusto.  Cammy Russell receiving the ball on the corner of the 18 yard box before sending a low and unstoppable drive across the goal into the net beyond the outstretched Budinauckas.

Rangers rallied and Ross McCausland almost got his side back on level terms however his shot hit the back of Jordan Tapping and the follow up from Robbie Fraser was easily saved by Blair Carswell.

Cammy Russell found himself in an almost carbon copy scenario on the edge of the box after industrious work skipper Ian McFarland.  His shot had the pace and accuracy once again however this time the Rangers keeper was equal to the task.

Rangers then found themselves level on the half hour mark when Charlie Lindsay’s pin-point pass found Ross McCausland who had made his run into the box and collected before sliding home the equaliser.

Jordan Tapping was inches away from restoring the lead when he got on the end of a Cammy Russell free-kick however his header was stopped on the line by the diving goalie.

HT: The Spartans 1-1 Rangers B

Spartans made a change at the interval with Rhys Armstrong replacing Cammy Russell.

Ten minutes after the break and the pendulum swung back in the home side’s favour.  Another excellent corner saw Jordan Tapping rise and nip in front of his marker to bullet his header into the bottom corner to make it 2-1.

Finding themselves trailing for the second time in the match, the Rangers side piled the pressure on the Spartans defence however they were matched by a resolute and robust showing from the back division who offered a blanket of protection for Blair Carswell.

Midway through the half, Spartans freshened the legs once again with Blair Henderson and Gavin Morrison replacing Sean Brown and Harvey Swann.

Blair Carswell was called upon to deny Rangers replacement Jacob Pasnik who got on the end of a corner at the Café end however the Spartans stopper somehow managed to claw the ball to safety.

Now, there was almost an entry for goal of the season shortly after when Jordan Tapping went for an audacious overhead kick inside the area and it wasn’t far away from the target.

Then, with the game heading towards second half stoppage time, Spartans secured all three points when Sam Jones looked like he was considering running to towards the corner flag about-turned and returned the ball across to box to Rhys Armstrong who calmly slotted home from six yards.

Line up: Carswell, Watson, Allan, Waugh, Tapping, Whyte, Dishington, McFarland (Henderson, 69), Brown (Morrison, 69), Swann (Jones, 69), Russell (Armstrong, 45). Subs not used: Penker, Laing, Meek

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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