SPFL 2: Spartans suffer deflection dejection at Stenny

Posted on Monday, November 13th, 2023

The Spartans suffered deflection dejection in a five goal thriller at Ochilview against Stenhousemuir on Saturday in a game that burst into life during a manic ten minute second half period.

Attending the game was Danny Costello who played for Spartans in the last match between the sides at Ochilview, some 42 years earlier in the Scottish Cup.

Douglas Samuel made one swap in the starting XI with Sam Newman coming in for Mikey Allan as the two in-form teams locked horns.

Whilst the blue sky over Stenny offered a dry afternoon of football, the low setting sun hampered Jacques Heragthy between the Spartans sticks and it was almost his undoing moments into the game when Matty Aitken nipped in front of the goalie with the head, only for it to flash past the post.

An early caution for Euan O’Reilly following an unhelpful challenge on Rhys Armstrong saw the first booking of the afternoon. 

Spartans opened the scoring in the 15th minute.  Cammy Russell collected the ball in the box.  He twisted, he turned and sent the ball to the back post where Bradley Whyte was on hand to thump home. 

Nat Wedderburn looked certain to equalise within minutes of the restart when the Stenny defender launched himself at the ball with the head however he contrived to send it well wide of the mark.

Love it or loathe it, but maybe if VAR had have been around it may have offered clarity over Cammy Russell’s in-swinging corner that caused one of the biggest talking points of the afternoon.  Stenny keeper Darren Jamieson looked to have a touch of the Joe Hart’s about him as he appeared to start his efforts to claw the ball out from behind his line.  However, the match officials were confident in their decision that the whitewash had, in fact, not been breached.

HT: Stenhousemuir 0-1 The Spartans

The opening exchanges after the interval offered little in the way of goalmouth action however that was to change in four crazy, incident filled, minutes.

Euan O’Reilly’s run into the visiting box saw him feed Matty Yates.  His shot was spilled by Heraghty at his near post and Matty Aitken was on hand to net the rebound.

Barely had the home fans had time to settle back in from celebrating the equaliser when Spartans regained the lead.   It took 26 seconds from the restart for the ball to reach Bradley Whyte up the line, a slice of luck in the challenge meant he kept possession before squaring to Blair Henderson who doesn’t need a written invitation to deliver those home.

Just two minutes later however, it was the hosts back on level terms once again.  A cross into the box saw Blair Henderson look to get the head on the ball to clear.  Matty Aitken fell to the deck under the challenge and Referee Scott’s interpretation of events saw him point to the spot, much to the remonstrations of the Spartans striker.

Up stepped Aitken who sent Heraghty the wrong way and we had reached Desmond’s at Ochilview.

The next ten minutes allowed many to gather their thoughts and take stock of the mayhem they’d just watch unfold. 

Then, with a quarter of an hour left on the clock, another goal.  Stenny with a corner kick that Nat Wedderburn headed under James Craigen’s aerial challenge towards Mikey Anderson.  His shot looked destined for the ball boy behind the goals however his effort deflected off the back of Nicky Jamieson and it remarkably flew straight into the net. 

Sean Brown replaced Rhys Armstrong as Spartans looked to mix things up top with an additional striker to get back on level terms as the game entered its final ten minutes.

Rhys Armstrong sent in a free-kick which found Jordan Tapping.  His turn and shot was well constructed however the finish was to go agonisingly over the bar.

Back to back corners came as Spartans launched a late assault on the home defence.  The first fisted behind by Jamieson, the next evading all and sundry with Henderson a yard away from connecting at the back stick.

FT: Stenhousemuir 3-2 The Spartans

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: Kevin Waugh

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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