Lowland League | Birthday boy Rhys has his goal-scoring cake and eats it in Spartans win

Posted on Monday, March 27th, 2023

Thankfully there were no foxes or rubber wheels to cause chaos in Sunday’s Lowland League fixture between The Spartans and Gretna as the home side eased past the visitors who ended the match with 10 men.

After the midweek victory in the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup came at the cost of Ian McFarland missing out on a place in the side through injury and the Development Squad were rested after also seeing off Stirling Albion at home on Friday night.

Boosted by a sea of young Spartans fans from right across the Spartans family, the game got underway – not before a Spring hailstorm forcing everyone to seek shelter to avoid the conditions battering off their frozen coupons.

An interested onlooker and familiar face around Ainslie Park in the shape of Tom Kitchin joined 379 other spectators inside the ground looking for the hosts to build on their 19 match unbeaten run and it took just 11 minutes for Spartans to serve up the opening goal.

Cammy Russell launched a free-kick from long range and it was pushed behind. The subsequent corner kick was whipped into the front post and Bradley Whyte nipped in ahead of the Gretna goalie to get enough on the ball to guide it into the net.

Early frustration showed within the home ranks when their skipper was shown a yellow for halting Rhys Armstrong’s progress as Spartans looked to grab a second.

However, it was Armstrong who was on hand to double the Spartans lead. A series of corners finally saw the ball half cleared and it was the playmaker, celebrating his 21st birthday, who put the icing on the proverbial cake, drilling the ball low and in off the post to put further light between the sides.

HT: The Spartans 2-0 Gretna

The clocks may have gone forward overnight but little did we all know it was into winter as the sky darkened and more hailstones battered off the stand as the second half got underway.

Cammy Russell made a dash into the box however he was metaphorically smothered by the Gretna keeper as he looked to unleash another effort.

Then, it was three. A long throw into the box caused some chaos for the home defence. It was never effectively cleared and found the feet of Rhys Armstrong who fed to Mikey Allan who neatly turned on the edge of the box and saw his shot deflect off a Gretna defender en route to the empty net.

The goal scoring may ended, but the notable incidents hadn’t. Just seven minutes after coming off the bench, Gretna’s Conor Duffy was heading back to the sheds following quick and successive yellows for more than leaving his mark on the ankles of Cammy Russell.

With the points safe and ensuring no further injuries were incurred, Henderson and Armstrong were replaced by Sean Brown and Gregor Woods.

They were followed by Harvey Swann and Alan Brown coming on to give Dishington and Allan some rest time.

Full Time: The Spartans 3-0 Gretna FC 2008

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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