SPFL 2: Spartans 1-2 Elgin City

Posted on Monday, February 12th, 2024

An injury-ravaged Spartans remained in third spot in SPFL 2 despite succumbing to a late controversial hammer blow defeat to Elgin City.

With a raft of squad members watching on from the balcony due to spells on the treatment table, Douglas Samuel gave new loan signing Robbie Thompson his first starting XI spot, whilst there was a call up for Given Ndlovu from the Under 20s on the bench.

A crowd of 401 inside Ainslie Park saw the game get under way with the ball, sponsored by McEwan Marketing Group given its first hoof of the day.

Spartans were out of the traps first, Cammy Russell inevitably fouled in the process, a new PB for the season at 2mins 4 secs.  Blair Henderson was next to hit the deck and from the subsequent free-kick, Elgin keeper Tom McHale scrambled as the effort flew narrowly wide.

The remainder of the opening quarter settled into a midfield war of attrition with neither side offering that final piece of the build up jigsaw to create opportunities at goal.

Following a break by the visitors that saw Blair Carswell get down low to smother and deny the opener, it was to be the keeper’s final save of the game.  After treatment, it was clear The Cat couldn’t continue and he was replaced by Mason McCready, making his debut following a loan move from Partick Thistle.

HT: The Spartans 0-0 Elgin City

An early race through the middle of the Elgin half by Robbie Thompson saw him halted abruptly by Jake Dolzanski, earning the defender a yellow card.

Rhys Armstong’s effort from outside the box whizzed wide in what was a rare shot from either side in the opening fifteen minutes after the interval.

Then came the opener as Mark Gallagher sent a well-executed curled shot beyond the outstretched McCready and into the net.

It prompted a change on the home front with Sam Newman replacing Danny Denholm.

Just five minutes later, things were all square once again.  Cammy Russell’s deep probing free-kick into the box was met by the head of Blair Henderson who nodded beyond McHale to level proceedings.

Sam Newman was in fine form on the touchline and impressive work saw him won possession, offer some neat feet before setting up a chance for Rhys Armstrong who fired wide.

A double change as the game headed into the final ten minutes saw Sean Brown and Sam Jones replace Robbie Thompson and Kieran Watson.

With the game heading towards a stalemate, drama unfolded deep into injury time.  Mason McCready punching clear a cross but only as far as Mitchell Taylor who returned the ball into the net with Robert Jones, who jumped with McCready seconds earlier, clearly in an offside position hugging the goal-line.  Alas, with the avoidance of VAR the decision remained in place and with it, a late smash and grab win for the visitors.

FT: The Spartans 1-2 Elgin City

Next Fixture

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

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