SPFL 2: Spartans maintain 3rd spot despite defeat

Posted on Sunday, January 14th, 2024

The Spartans maintained third spot in the SPFL 2 table despite suffering a 0-2 defeat to Stenhousemuir at Ainslie Park.

Gaffer Douglas Samuel making just the one change to the starting XI that won in Peterhead the previous week with Cammy Russell replaced by Bradley Whyte.  New signing Mason McCready, who joined the squad on Friday from Partick Thistle, joined the bench.

Despite the chill the game kicked off with blue sky gracing North Edinburgh.  The ball spending most of the opening five minutes up there.  As the Sultans of Ping FC once noted, “If God meant game to be played up there, he would’ve put goal posts in the air”.

Neither team was able to secure possession enough to make significant in-roads on either penalty area as many of the 702 inside the crowd shielded their eyes, not from what was playing out in front of them, but the pesky low setting sun.

The first opportunity came from the visitors who flung in a free-kick into the home box.  Gregor Buchanan found himself on the floor with muted appeals for a penalty waved aside.

Then, at the other end, Jamie Dishington was inches away from the opener when his effort via the outside of the boot shaved the outside of the post.

As is often the case in sport, moments after that narrow miss, it was Stenhousemuir who grabbed the advantage.  Matty Yates coming up with the ball after an interaction with Jamie Dishington, play raged on despite claims on the validity of how possession was won and the Stenny striker sent the ball beyond Carswell to make it 0-1.

Spartans rallied and a fantastic run by Blair Henderson through the heart of the visitors defence saw him made good progress however he was adjudged to have given the defender a wee tug and was pinged accordingly.

Blair Carswell was to make one final spectacular save before the teams headed to the sheds as he got down low to deny Yates a second, pushing a shot behind from close range.

HT: The Spartans 0-2 Stenhousemuir

An early half chance for Blair Henderson saw the Spartans man send a half volley towards goal only for it to dip too late and fall just behind the goal.

The visitors had an opportunity of their own when Meechan flashed his shot across the face of Carswell’s goal with no-one coming in to pick up the scraps.

Henderson could count himself unlucky not to have levelled proceedings when Kevin Waugh’s through ball found the No.9.  He still had lots to do before digging out a shot that went narrowly wide.

A first swap of the day saw Danny Denholm come on for Kieran Watson midway through the half.

Bradley Whyte was next to have a pop at goal as Spartans pressed for the equaliser.  It looked a potential for top bins but the trajectory and pace of the ball saw it go over the bar.

Paul Watson was next to enter the fray as he replaced Ayrton Sonkur.

Then, in the 81st minute, the visitors struck again.  A wee flick following a headed clearance inside the Stenny half found Matty Aitken flirting with the offside line however he collected the ball before racing in to slide beyond Carswell to double the lead.

A double Spartans swap to salvage something out of the game saw Sean Brown and Sam Newman come on for Booth and Whyte however despite some intense bombardment of the tourists box, there was to be no reward for the late endeavours.

FT: The Spartans 0-2 Stenhousemuir

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: James Craigen

Next Fixture

Date: Saturday 13th April
Opponent: Stranraer FC
Venue:Ainslie Park
Competition: SPFL 2
Kick off: 3.00pm

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