Archive for the ‘Seniors Latest News’ Category

SPFL 2: Hendo rocket launches Spartans into play-offs

Sunday, April 21st, 2024

Blair Henderson capped off a perfect week with the winner against Bonnyrigg Rose, just 48 hours after being nominated by his SPFL2 peers to feature in the league’s Team of the Year.

The talismanic striker featured in an unchanged starting XI that shared the spoils with Stranraer seven days earlier, with Spartans looking to secured three points that would seal their play-off place with two games left to complete.

Confusion rung round New Dundas Park as a golden globe dispensing several degrees of heat featured high in the blue Bonnyrigg sky.  A phenomenon previously unheard of in fixtures between the sides and cagoules were being wrapped round waists as the teams made their way out from the sheds.

Asides from the ball needing replaced earlier doors having had a proportion of its air already hoofed out of it, there were nice wee battles unfolded on the pitch, with Ayrton Sonkur and Kieran McGachie enjoying each other’s close attentions.

Such was the game unfolding in front of them, many were engrossed in their mobile devices at action elsewhere.  A dangerous game with the ball being launched like missiles across the ground.

In terms of action itself, it was in limited supply as this gritty game of attrition lived up to some level of expectations between two clubs who had progressed via the Pyramid system.

Aside from an Ayrton Sonkur v Ross Gray tete-a-tete in front of the vocal home support in the stand, there was little to enthuse the locals, meanwhile a Cammy Russell free-kick close to the interval failed to clear the wall. 

HT: Bonnyrigg Rose 0-0 The Spartans

Could the second half offer something to write home about?  Well, it started with an exchange between the two goalies – of the long banger version as the ball swapped ends in quick succession.

There was some concern for Angus Mailer who required treatment on the hour mark when an accidental knock to the head suffered in a post challenge collision left the Rose man stricken on the ground.  Cammy Russell who was involved in the unfortunate exchange was first on hand to ensure his opponent was safe before he was attended to ahead of thankfully being able to walk to the changing rooms unaided.

Neil Martyniuk came close to opening the scoring with the head however he looked on in wonder as Blair Carswell dived full length to collect at the base of the post.

Bonnyrigg’s aerial presence continued to be a challenge, this time it was seasoned campaigner Keiran McGachie who got in between two defenders but his header crashed off the face of the bar before being launched to safety.

Spartans made a change with Danny Denholm replacing the industrious Rhys Armstrong.

Cammy Russell then saw his free kick float over both wall and bar as the game trundled its way into the final ten minutes with the stalemate stamp ready to be dipped in the inkpad.

Then, with five minutes left on the clock, the deadlock was broken.

Blair Carswell’s long ball up the park was involved in a bit of header tennis infused with collisions.  Blair Henderson brushed off his man, he let it bounce and from some 30 yards, his half-volley was missile-esque and whizzed past Paddy Martin who had little chance.

A wonder strike from the Spartans man, his 21st in all competitions this campaign, and 62nd in just 92 appearances.

Meanwhile at the other end, another clean sheet for ‘The Cat’ Carswell, his 11th of the season that boosts his Spartans career total to 104.

FT: Bonnyrigg Rose 0-1 The Spartans

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: Kieran Watson

SPFL 2: Derby day sees plenty to play for in exciting season finale

Friday, April 19th, 2024

The Spartans make the shortest of journeys this weekend across the City into Mid Lothian for an SPFL 2 ‘derby’ against near neighbours Bonnyrigg Rose.

It was only six weeks ago when the teams locked horns at the same venue in a midweek encounter that saw Marc McNulty open his Spartans goalscoring account and Blair Henderson notch up his 100th SPFL career goal in a dramatic 2-2 draw.

With just three games left in the domestic campaign, both camps are looking to bag full points from the game that may be crucial in determining their final fortunes in the league table.

Last week’s 1-4 win on the road in Methil will have boosted Bonnyrigg’s chances of keeping clear from Clyde, a result that, combined with Spartans earning a point against Stranraer in the most blustery of conditions, saw Douglas Samuel’s men extend their lead over the Fifers to 7 points in the push for a play-off place.

Supporters News:

Turnstiles open at 2pm for this 3pm KO. Admission prices: £14 Adults / £9 Concessions / £5 Youths & U12s go free with a paying adult. For every 1 paying adult there will be no more than 3 accompanied U14s allowed entry to the ground. Cash and card payment available.

Match Day Catering: The snack bar in the away end will be open prior to the game and at half time.

Our hosts recommend supporters take a few minutes to familiarise yourself with their informative Match Day Guide

SPFL 2: Keepers on top in blustery stalemate

Monday, April 15th, 2024

The Spartans and Stranraer played out a scoreless draw in brutally blustery conditions that weren’t conducive for fast flowing dynamic football.

It was perhaps a bit of the ‘commentators curse’ in the match preview that noted the sides had dished up a minimum of three goals in each of the trio of fixtures so far this campaign.  Elsewhere, the commentator was cursed by the t’internet connection – or lack of it – forcing the late postponement of the live overseas feed.

On with the game and an unchanged Spartans side took on a Stranraer side who started the afternoon, rather surprisingly, at the foot of the table.

The visitors – and the wind – were to test the home defence from the off.  Ayrton Sonkur’s first attempt to keep Stranraer at bay saw the ball terrorise the seagulls up in the Pilton sky and swirl behind the defender for a corner!

An early Spartans chance – indeed, one of the few of the afternoon – fell to Cammy Russell who broke the offside trap following Blair Henderson’s perfectly timed pass however he was thwarted by Lewis Budinauckas as he looked to perfect a cheeky wee dink over the advancing keeper.

Shortly after, action was at the other end of the park, with Deryn Lang seeing his effort from close range well saved by the outstretched leg of Blair Carswell.

Spartans were forced into an early change when James Craigen was forced to retire and he was replaced by Jamie Dishington.

A Cammy Russell free-kick to the back stick after the same man was felled down by the corner flag offered an opportunity for Blair Henderson however the header couldn’t be directed below the crossbar.

HT: The Spartans 0-0 Stranraer

Arguably the best chance of the afternoon fell to the tourists as Forrest headed back across the box to Armour with just Blair Carswell to beat.  The goalie done just about enough with his frame only for the ball to rebound to the same player.  Thankfully Ayrton Sonkur – the hero the last time the sides met – was on the goal line to chest down the second attempt and Carswell was on hand to regather the spills.

Mark McNulty went on a rampaging run up the touchline before sending the ball in field looking for Blair Henderson.  Old Mother Nature decided to give that ball an almighty gust behind it forcing the SPFL 2’s top scorer out wide and by doing so, offering the visitors to regroup at the back.

Spartans made a couple of changes midway through the half with Robbie Thompson and Danny Denholm replacing Rhys Armstrong and Cammy Russell.

Dylan Forrest clattered into the coccyx of Jamie Dishington via a reckless sliding tackle in the middle of the park earning him a caution in a rare moment of excitement to test out the vocal chords of the 385 who braved the sub-optimal conditions.

A point then for both teams, equally important in different measures, with Stranraer leapfrogging Clyde at the basement and Spartans extending their lead over East Fife to seven points with 9 still up for grabs.

FT: The Spartans 0-0 Stranraer

Malt & Hops Man of the Match: Ayrton Sonkur

SPFL 2: Home crowd backing crucial in push for play-offs

Thursday, April 11th, 2024

The Spartans welcome Stranraer to Ainslie Park on Saturday in the fourth and final meeting between the sides in this inaugural SPFL 2 season.

With only a quartet of games left to play, both sides will be looking to earn maximum points out of the twelve available which may yet define the destination of their ten-month long campaign.

Douglas Samuel’s side come into the fixture on the back of a brace from Blair Henderson on the road at Elgin to earn a draw whilst Saturday’s visitors were edged out by an injury time Jordan Allan effort away at Clyde.

The previous encounters between the side have seen a minimum of three goals scored in each of them, with defender Ayrton Sonkur perhaps the unlikely candidate of topping the goal scoring charts with four goals, including a remarkable injury time winner last time out.

In a call to arms to the Spartan Army faithful, Captain Kevin Waugh said, “We have had great support from the stands at Ainslie Park this season. We really do hear you at games and it makes a massive difference.  It would be superb if we could have another big and vocal home support this Saturday to help us get over the line – and into the play-offs”

Your Spartans team will be joined out onto the pitch by our members from our 2013 Youth side as mascots.

Interesting stat:

The sides are at the ‘good guys’ end of the fouls conceded charts with Stranraer at the ‘top’ on 305 and Spartans next in the charts at 321.

Tale of the Tape:

7th October Stranraer 3-4 Spartans (Craigen, Armstrong, Tapping, Henderson)

23rd December Spartans 3-0 Stranraer (Denholm, Sonkur x2)

17th February Stranraer 1-2 Spartans (Sonkur x2)

This week’s SPFL 2 fixtures:

Dumbarton v Clyde

East Fife v Bonnyrigg Rose

Peterhead v Forfar Athletic

Stenhousemuir v Elgin City

SPFL 2: Sparky McPenalty spot-on for Spartans in win over Loons

Monday, April 1st, 2024

Injury hit Spartans were without defensive trio Kevin Waugh, Jordan Tapping and Callum Booth for the visit of Forfar Athletic whilst there was a return to the bench for Blair Henderson after recovering from a nasty ankle knock sustained at Clyde.

Forfar came into the match on the back of an impressive 11 match unbeaten run and with the tag of draw specialists having totalled 15 in 30 games.

With the threat of a pleasant afternoon breaking out overhead in the capital, James Craigen looked to make hay whilst the sun was shining as he went on an early run towards the Café end in search of an opener.  He appeared to be manhandled on the way however there was nothing on offer from the match official and play swung instead towards the direction of Pilton Avenue.

Danny Denholm was then clattered by Morrison in the middle of the park, much to the Spartans player’s frustration and it earned the Forfar man a yellow card that was to prove costly later in the game.

Blair Carswell required treatment midway through the half after taking a bit of shoe leather to the scone after bravely coming out to smother the ball at the feet of a pressing Forfar fellow.  After a check up from the neck up, The Cat was back on his feet and Mason McCready resumed his spot on in the technical area.

A speculative long-range effort ahead of the oranges from Munro saw the Forfar man look on as the ball continued to rise as it headed towards Carswell’s goal and sailed over the bar.

Half Time: The Spartans 0-0 Forfar Athletic

The second half burst into life ten minutes after the break when Forfar’s Morrison was sent to the sheds after picking up a brace of yellows cards, much to the player’s bemusement as he headed for first dibs on the showers.

The numerical advantage took just eight minutes to bear fruit when Spartans were awarded a penalty after Cammy Russell put on the burners to race into the box, out-foxing Nditi who clipped the heels and the man in the middle didn’t hesitate in pointing to the spot.  Mark McNulty stepped up and duly converted to break the deadlock.

With the game deep into injury time, Forfar launched one final attempt to rescue a point.  Henderson and Nditi, who was in the provisional Tanzania squad for the recent Africa Cup of Nations, came together in the box with the Forfar man going down in instalments.

Nothing was on offer from the match officials, much to the bemusement of the visiting bench who vented their frustrations.  Seconds later the final whistle echoed around the ground and as the Spartans support celebrated a hard-earned victory, the visitors continued their discussions with the officials in the centre circle. 

Full Time: The Spartans 1-0 Forfar Athletic

Attendance: 411

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: Danny Denholm

SPFL 2: Six of the best – Skipper calls for big final push in play-off place hunt

Thursday, March 28th, 2024

The Spartans head into the final six league games of the domestic league campaign in an inaugural season that has whizzed past our collective eyes.  Next up at Ainslie Park are Forfar Athletic. 

Despite missing out in recent games through injury, Kevin Waugh remained focussed on ensuring the side continue over the coming weeks to achieve their play-off goal.  The last five outings have seen battling performances, three draws and to defeats however it’s a return to winning ways that’s firmly on the Captain’s mind.

Earlier in the week, the skipper offered his thoughts ahead of this crucial clash, “Getting back to basics is key to be honest.  We’ve maybe deviated away from that a little bit and maybe changed our style and our approach and maybe played too many shorter passes that we’re not used to playing.  It’s hard to put your finger on it, sometimes results just don’t go your way.

“I actually don’t think the performances have matched the number of points we’ve picked up in the last six weeks or so.  I thought on Saturday at Clyde in the first half we were brilliant but maybe just lacked that cutting edge. Against Dumbarton we just weren’t good enough defensively and last weekend we probably didn’t click going forward, but it’s now about knitting those two parts of the game together and once we do that, we’ve be back to winning ways for sure.

“The Gaffer is keen to constantly remind us that we are just two points off second place.  Let’s not start thinking about how far other people are away from us.  We’re sitting in a good place, a win from propelling ourselves into second spot and that is the aim from all of us over the next six games to achieve that goal.”

The Loons head to North Edinburgh on the back of a 1-1 draw at Elgin City last weekend, their 15th draw of the season so far.  Ray McKinnon’s side sit in 6th spot in a table that not only sees them just ten points off the play-off positions, but only eight away from basement club Clyde, such is the competitive and compelling nature of SPFL 2. 

The Spartans have consistently appeared in the top four since week 8 into their inaugural SPFL 2 campaign whilst Saturday’s visitors have seen them move up three places in the last six weeks.

It all shapes up for yet another SPFL 2 arm-wrestle in a match featuring a number of players who have pulled on the colours of both clubs.

With a win, draw and defeat in the previous three encounters, Waugh knows exactly what’s required to ensure his men take the bragging rights come 4.45pm on Saturday.

“It’ll be yet another tough game against them that’s for sure as they are a well drilled, physical side and a bit threat from set-pieces so we’ll have to be mindful of that.   We managed to get a good point in the bag earlier in the season up there and followed it up with a win the last time we played them here. 

“I thought in the game up there last month it was one of the games we actually had most control but that was a strange game.  We lost three midfielders through injury and had to play the last quarter of the game with 10 men and were unlucky not to pick up something positive from it.

“We’re confident enough.  We know that we’ve got the players in the dressing room that can win any game regardless of who it is home or away as well. 

“We need to make sure that when we playing here, we pick up three points when we’ve got the home crowd behind us.  You’ve also got the astro out there so it’s the opportunity to get the ball down and play. 

“It’s definitely something we need to look at especially if we get ourselves into the play-offs that these home games will be really important to us so we need to make sure that those teams don’t want to come here.”

Kick-off is 3pm. 

Admission prices: Adults £15. Concessions £10. 12-to-16 yo £5. Under 12’s free.