Lowland League | Free-kick stunner sees Russell win Kilby tussle for Spartans

Posted on Sunday, January 8th, 2023

Cammy Russell’s sublime first half free-kick was enough to separate the sides and earn Spartans all three points in an enthralling encounter at K-Park.

Gaffer Dougie Samuel selected the same starting XI that defeated Civil in the Hogmanay North Edinburgh derby as he looked to make it four wins on the bounce on Lowland League duty.

Spartans were quick out the blocks in front of a decent crowd inside K-Park and Gavin Morrison’s cross into the box found Blair Henderson however the striker just couldn’t get his toes round the ball enough to direct home.

It was even closer shortly after when a Cammy Russell long throw was won in the air by Jordan Tapping who nodded on into the path of Rhys Armstrong but he could only fire wide, much to his evident disappointment.

The home side looked for some possession of their own however they were denied by a resolute Spartans defence.

It was defender Jordan Tapping, who earned the Malt and Hops Man of the Match award, who was next up to test the Kilby keeper when his shot in the box from a Kieran Watson cross merited a decent save.

As the late East Kilbride sunshine dipped behind the stand, the temperature dipped in the air however it remained hotly contested on the pitch with some feisty and robust challenges going.

With the game looking to head towards half time with a stalemate the likely outcome, Cammy Russell was the victim of yet another foul some 30 yards out.

Cammy Russell dusted himself down once again, stepped up and sent a glorious effort round the wall and into the top corner of the Kilby net.

HT: East Kilbride 0-1 The Spartans

A dynamic race through the middle of the park by Rhys Armstrong saw the midfield playmaker pass to Cammy Russell however the deadlock breaker fired wide.

Mikey Allan required treatment on the touchline after he was manhandled out of play without the transgressor receiving further punishment. It was in direct contrast to the following incident where Rhys Armstrong picked up a booking after being brought down in front of the stand, only for the match official to deem Armstrong had made the most of the situation.

It was a relatively uneventful afternoon between the sticks for Blair Carswell however The Cat was called upon to get down low to save after a cross was flung into the box and the header was certainly on target.

Harvey Swann replaced Rhys Armstrong midway through the half and the substitute almost made it an incredible introduction when Cammy Russell sent the ball across the middle of the penalty area however Swann was unable to connect.

Sean Brown was next to enter the fray and he came on to allow Cammy Russell to cool down the ankles that had received some attention.

There was a delay shortly after when Jordan Tapping required treatment when an elbow from a Kilby defender made contact with his nose in an aerial engagement.

A long ball up the park then saw Sean Brown winning the footrace as he made his way towards the East Kilbride box, only for the keeper to race out of his box and unceremoniously clatter the striker. It was only a booking for the goalkeeper who was perhaps saved by the presence of a back-tracking team mate from a stiffer penalty.

Then, with the game deep into injury time, Bradley Whyte had enough gas in the tank to go on a energy sapping run. Despite attempts to haul him down, he regained his footing before releasing the ball into the path of Sean Brown who looked decidedly onside but sadly not in the mind of the match official with the flag.

Spartans held on despite a late East Kilbride attempt to snatch a late equaliser and after a World Cup-esque 8 additional minute of added time, the final whistle echoed around K-Park.

FT: East Kilbride 0-1 The Spartans

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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