SPFL: Spartans quick one-two sees first league victory secured

Posted on Saturday, August 19th, 2023

The first half got underway in conditions that could only be described as blowing a hoolie with the wind swirling around the Ainslie Park arena that set out which direction this first half was to follow.

Some neat early Spartans play in the heart of the Elgin half featured a series of passes involving a handful of home side however the pesky wind saw the ball eventually run away from Cammy Russell.

It took until midway through the half before the first clear cut opportunity of the match. A long ball up the park found Jamie Dishington who holds up play for Blair Henderson to pass into the path of Bradley Whyte and his shot was saved.

Kieran Watson was next to get in on the action, neatly turning his man, getting to the byeline however his cutback offered no takers and the visitors had the opportunity to clear again.

Blair Henderson was then denied by the base of the post and moments later, he could only turn away with head in hands as he looked on in agony as his shot narrowly went past the post.

There was one final opportunity from a 20 yard free-kick ahead of the interval and it took an exceptional save from a tremendous Rhys Armstrong free-kick to ensure the visitors kept a clean sheet as the players headed up the tunnel.

HT: The Spartans 0-0 Elgin City

There was no need for the measuring tape to be produced as a new PB for clearance distance was recorded at Ainslie Park as an Elgin defender unceremoniously hoofed the ball over the fence and it finally landed on the roof of the flats opposite.

Spartans looked threatening and save for a spot of housekeeping at the other end of the park by Kevin Waugh as he marshalled his man out of the field, the hosts appeared to be in control and the Elgin defence vulnerable.

Then, in a remarkable 90 seconds of SPFL football, Spartans found themselves two goals to the good.

James Craigen picked up the ball on the far corner of the Elgin penalty box and he’ll unlikely to have hit a sweeter strike that saw the ball travel like a Wimbledon Centre Court first serve into the net. He rightly wheeled away to celebrate with fans and team mates alike as he opened his Spartans account.

The Spartan Army following had barely digested the wonder-strike when they were back up on their feet celebrating a second time.

Cammy Russell looked to have been felled in the penalty area however before the Referee had time to consider the appeal, Rhys Armstrong swooped on the scraps and unleased an unstoppable effort to double the lead.

A third was almost delivered when Blair Henderson got down low to head goal bound, only to find the outstretched leg of the Elgin keeper who someone managed to prevent further light between the sides.

With fifteen minutes left on the clock, there was a double change with Danny Denholm and Gavin Morrison replacing Dishington and Whyte.

There then followed a goal from the tourists against the run of play that set up for a nervy final quarter of an hour.

Spartans conceded possession in the Elgin half but thankfully talismanic Jordan Tapping was at the back to not only win the ball, but was fouled in the process offering some calm down time.

With time ticking by, albeit it felt rather slowly, Spartans introduced Sam Jones at the expense of Cammy Russell.

With no further late dramas, the final whistle sounded and a historic first win in the SPFL recorded.

FT: The Spartans 2-1 Elgin City

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: Rhys Armstrong

Spartans: Carswell, Watson, Allan, Waugh, Tapping, Dishington (Denholm 74), Henderson, Russell (Jones 89), Armstrong, Craigen, Whyte (Morrison 74). Subs (Not Used) Weir, S Brown, A Brown, S Newman, B Lamont.

Attendance: 567

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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