Preston Athletic 1 Spartans 1

Posted on Sunday, October 12th, 2008

Spartans had to come from behind to get a point from a hard fought encounter with Preston Athletic. Though the wind remained strong through out the weather stayed bright, allowing this game to go ahead at the third time of trying.

Dean Hoskins returned to the starting line as Spartans reverted to the 4-5-1 formation they have played for most of the season. Struan Preston dropped to the bench and Danny O’Donnell returned to the centre of midfield.

Spartans started strong and forced a corner within the first 30 seconds. Nicky Walker shot from just outside the box, striking a defender on its way out.

In the second minute Walker raced onto a poor pass back from the Preston defence. Gilpin, in the Preston goal was quick off his line to collect the ball.

The match was mainly battled in the midfield area with the 3 Spartan central midfields struggling to find space against the 2 hardworking Preston midfielders. There were very few chances at either end as both teams looked for that important first goal.

In the 17th minute Preston did take the lead, and with some style. The ball fell to Sean MacAuley who hit an excellent, left footed half volley past Flockhart in the Spartans goal.

Preston were now taking control of the game and were dictating the pace of play. Spartans were struggling to get Walker or Kader on the ball and thus were limited in creating many chances. Donal Henretty had a header at the back post in the 20th minute but the ball looped high over the bar.

Flockhart was called into action again in the 22nd minute. Diving to his right to turn a Preston strike round the post. Preston certainly looked the most likely to score the next goal however there was no other chances in the first half.

Spartans made changes in the 2nd half. Struan Preston coming on to replace Dean Hoskins. O’Donnell moved to right back and Fowlie moved to the left as the visitors changed to a 4-4-2 formation.

The tactical changes were very effective as Spartans started to take control of the game and Struan Preston more than showed why he would be deserving of a starting place next weekend against Dalbeattie. The young striker did an excellent job of holding up the ball and distributing it well as Spartans pushed for the equaliser.

In the 54th minute some great play from Preston saw him play the ball to Walker just outside the box. The forward controlled the ball before striking it towards goal, only to be denied by the right hand post.

It took until the 66th minute for Spartans to get the equaliser they deserved. Manson crossed a free kick into the box that was missed by everyone, except Dan Gerrard who headed the ball into the back of the net.

Both sides made changes two minutes later, Livingstone coming on to replace King as Spartans now looked to make the most of their possession advantage and were pushing for a winning goal.

Preston were counter attacking at every opportunity as Spartans pushed up the field. In the 79th minute Miller had the ball in the back of the net for the home side however his effort was correctly ruled offside.

Spartans brought on Devlin to replace Henretty in the 84th min. Walker moved to the right wing and Kader switched to the left as Spartans continued to press for all three points.

In the 88th minute Kader had the perfect chance to seal the victory. The ball played into him inside the box but his shot flew high over the bar from about 8 yards when it looked easier to score. I’m am sure Omar was slightly relieved to see Chris Iwelumo’s much worse miss for Scotland later that afternoon

That was to be the last chance of the game as both sides shared the draw. No manager can have complaints with the final score. A very even game between two strong sides that will be at the top end of the league by the end of the season.

Motm: Dan Gerrard – Another solid display at the back from Gerrard. Also took his goal well. Special mention to Preston who played great in the 2nd half and helped turn the game.

Team: Flockhart, Gerrard, Hoskins (Preston), Archibald, Fowlie, O’Donnell, King (Livingstone), Kader, Walker, Manson, Henretty (Devlin) Not Used: Malin, Young

Next Fixture

Date: 23/07/24
Opponent: Forfar Athletic
Venue:Ainslie Park
Competition: Premier Sports Cup
Kick off: 7.45pm

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