The Cat pulls pair of penalty stops out the bag in Brechin for Play-off win

Posted on Sunday, May 7th, 2023

Blair Carswell’s brace of spot-kick stops in the lottery of a penalty shoot-out earned Spartans a hard fought victory over Brechin City in the Pyramid Play-off semi final second leg at Glebe Park.

Spartans gaffer made just one change from the starting XI that took the 1-0 lead into the crucial second leg, an enforced one at that with Kevin Waugh sitting out due to suspension.

A vocal travelling support set up shop behind the goals, with the Ultras North young team making a tremendous amount of noise to get behind their favourites.

Brechin, as expected, went on the offensive from the off and hit the base of Blair Carswell’s post within the opening couple of minutes. The goalie was called upon shortly after when he came out to gather a tempting Brechin cross.

Having soaked up the early home pressure, Spartans then took the lead on the day. A Cammy Russell corner into the box was met by Brad Whyte who flicked on and it appeared to hit a static City defender before nestling in the net. An OG or Brad’s goal – we know who will favour the claim.

Spartans were forced into an early change when Mikey Allan was replaced by Harvey Swann in the visiting defence.

As the half progressed, neither keeper looked troubled however there was a Jamie Dishington shot from the edge of the box that required attending to that eventually crossed the whitewash for a corner kick.

With the half time hooter almost set to honk, Brechin halved the overall deficit.

HT: Brechin City 1-1 (1-2) The Spartans

Blair Henderson, who separated the sides at Ainslie Park seven days previous, then restored the two goal advantage. Cammy Russell making a dash into the box before cutting the ball back into the path of Henderson who slid the ball beyond defender and keeper into the bottom corner.

Just five minutes later however, Brechin found their second of the afternoon.

It got particularly interesting in the 65th minute when the home side then made it 3-3 on aggregate and it truly was game on.

With twenty minutes on the clock, Spartans made another change, this time Sean Brown replacing Rhys Armstrong.

Spartans looked to get their noses back in front however it wasn’t to be and, following some frantic reading of the rule book by the match officials, the chance to play who would be ‘Club 42’ come close of play, went to a penalty shoot out.

FT: Brechin City 3-2 The Spartans

The kicks were in front of the stand hosting the Spartans support who backed every spot kick with equal enthusiasm.

Brechin were up first and netted, before Blair Henderson slotted home. The Hedge men scored their next two, with Cammy Russell’s successful effort sandwiched in between. Sean Brown then made it 3-3.

Cometh the hour (or should that be penalty shoot out?) cometh the Cat. Blair Carswell diving low to his left to make the save. Jamie Dishington then stepped up to make it 3-4.

Brechin needed to score to put the pressure on the final elected Spartans penalty taker. However this time Blair Carswell took flight to his right and pulled off one the biggest saves of his Spartans career – so far!

Penalties: Brechin City 3-4 The Spartans

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: Jordan Tapping

Next Fixture

Date: Monday 5th June
Opponent: FC Edinburgh
Venue:Community Pitch, Ainslie Park
Competition: Development League
Kick off: 7.45pm

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