Play-off stand off stalemate as honours even in first leg

Posted on Monday, May 15th, 2023

A bumper crowd of 2,120 enjoyed the North Edinburgh sunshine in a tense affair at Ainslie Park that saw Spartans and Albion Rovers share the spoils in a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Play-Off Final.

The sides were welcomed out onto the park by the packed Newtown Roofing and Building Stand housing the tremendously vocal ‘Ultras North’ and supporters along all four sides of the stadium.

Spartans had an early opportunity to break the deadlock however an in-swinging corner was cleared off the line by the Rovers keeper.

Chances were few and far between, with lots of possession offered by both teams but little in the way of penetration.

Cammy Russell had a first time effort inside the box well saved whilst at the other end, Charlie Reilly earned a booking for simulation in the box whilst seeking a spot kick.

With just seven minutes left til the interval, Rovers broke the deadlock. A corner kick to the back post was met by Reilly who headed down and watched on as the ball bounced beyond Carswell and into the net.

HT: The Spartans 1-1 Albion Rovers

Harvey Swann unleashed a thumping drive shortly after the interval which would have tested the net pegs however it took a deflection from a defender to take the wind out of it’s sails to land on the roof on the net.

Cometh the hour (plus five minutes), cometh the equaliser! Rhys Armstrong’s free-kick into the box wasn’t dealt with by the Coatbridge side’s defence.

The ball broke to Blair Henderson, his effort from inside the box looked net bound, it was cleared on the line, but in doing so, the clearance couldn’t escape the statuesque stationary Rovers defender and it ricocheted off his torso and went back from where it came from with interest and into the goal sending the home support into overdrive.

All square and the home support willing the side to get their noses back in front as the sunshine continued to beat down.

Blair Carswell had to look sharp to get down low to saw a Charlie Reilly free-kick as the visitors set out to regain the lead.

A neat exchange of passes between Armstrong, Henderson and Dishington saw the later put in a cross that evaded the reach of the Rovers keeper who would have been breathing a big sigh of relief that it was his own man on the line to head clear to ensure the tie finished on level pegging.

FT: The Spartans 1-1 Albion Rovers

Next Fixture

Date: Saturday 27th April
Opponent: Peterhead
Venue:Ainslie Park
Competition: SPFL 2
Kick off: 3.00pm

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