Ramsdens Cup: Spartans secure Doonhamers date despite defeat on the day

Posted on Saturday, July 20th, 2013

Spartans will return to Dumfries next Saturday after their 4-3 aggregate win against Threave Rovers sets up a 1st Round tie against Ramsdens Cup holders Queen of the South.

With several key players missing due to unavailability and injury, Jack Blaikie was promoted from the bench for and Cenerrazzo adopted an attacking midfield berth.

As the mercury in the Dumfries town reached the mid-20s, the Meadow Park stand filled up ahead of kick-off as the majority of the 258 fans inside the ground headed for the shade.

Out on the park, feeling the heat was Keith Knox and his Threave side who required two goals to bring things level over the two-legs. 

There was an early injury scare for Spartans when hitman Robbie Ross fell to the ground clutching his head after feeling the force of Kerr’s elbow as the players collided in the air. After some attention, the striker was back on his feet and able to continue.

Despite the Mediterranean-esque temperatures, both teams were competing for every ball with a tempo unbefitting of a game played so early into the pre-season programme. 

Threave, desperate to get an early goal to narrow the two-goal deficit, were keen to push forward however the Spartans defence were more than a match, with Blaikie and MacKinnon mopping up at almost every opportunity.

Beacher made his way into the Ref’s notebook just before half-time and the sides made their way to the changing rooms for a welcome respite from the heat.

Half –Time:  Threave Rovers 0-0 Spartans

Spartans came out of the traps for the second half with a spring in their step and after Ross was upended in the centre circle, a Motion free-kick was floated into the Threave penalty box, with MacKinnon inches away from connecting with his head.

A point blank save from Parker, by far the busier of the two keepers, thwarted Ross after aggressive running by Beesley saw him leave Cooksley for dead before cutting the ball back.

Cenerrazzo looked as if he was enjoying his attacking role up the line and he was proving to be a right handful for the Rovers defence. 

With a quarter of the game left, Beacher’s turn of pace took him past Wilby and as he shaped to cross, the Threave defender took him out on the edge of the box.  Beesley’s free-kick was headed away by Baty only for it to fall at the feet of MacKinnon however the midfielder’s half-volley whizzed past the post.

The home crowd came alive in the 72nd minute when their team took the lead on the day against the run of play however this shouldn’t take away the quality of Fyfe’s goal that flew into the bottom corner, leaving Bennett with no chance.  Before the restart, Anderson replaced the industrious Blaikie.

The goal seemed to lift the Threave side up a notch or two and they were awarded a free-kick 25 yards out after MacKinnon was adjudged to have fouled Parker. 

Wilby shaped up to take the kick and his shot looked net bound as he curled it round the wall however Bennett was equal to the task as he somehow managed to stretch out all of his 6 foot frame to push the ball onto his post and away for a corner kick.

With the home side looking the most likely to score again, a bursting run by Beesley down the line saw him outpace Kerr before cutting it back for Anderson.  The sub, who’s first-leg injury time goal at Ainslie Park proved to be invaluable, squared it to Beacher however his rasping strike stung Parkers hands as he slapped it away to safety.

Deep into injury time, Threave Manager Keith Knox urged his keeper to get into the box for final throw of the dice from a corner kick. However the goal keeper wasn’t tempted to turn goal scorer and as the ball fell to Wilby on the edge of the six yard box, the defender could only direct his header wide.

As the final whistle sounded, the small but delighted band of Spartans fans – the Spartan Army – cheered on loudly from around the ground, knowing they’d be making another roadtrip in a week’s time.

Full Time: Threave Rovers 1-0 Spartans.  Spartans win 4-3 on aggregate.

Despite a narrow defeat on the day, Manager Dougie Samuel was satisfied with his side’s performance. 

“Defensively in the first half we were very good, ensuring Threave weren’t able to get that early goal. We changed things around a little bit at half-time and that enabled us to get on the front foot.  For the opening 30 minutes of the second half, we controlled the game without taking at least one of the chances we created.”

Scott Bennett’s wonder save from Wilby’s set piece earned him plaudits from the Gaffer too. “I think he’d be the first to say he owed us one after last week.  That aside, I think he showed everybody today as to why we were keen to bring him to the Club and why we are looking forward to having him in our ranks every week.”

SPFL Division 1 side Queen of the South await Sammy’s Spartans in the first round proper.  “The players deserve a lot of credit for coming through a tough pre-season schedule, having played 4 games in just 18 days. As a fitness exercise next Saturday will be a good test and fantastic occasion for the players to enjoy the opportunity to play in a SPFL stadium against a full-time club.”

Spartans Team: Bennett, Main, Blaikie (Anderson 72), Sivewright, MacKinnon, Cenerrazzo, Motion, Whatley, Ross, Beacher & Beesley.  Subs: Anderson, O’Donnell, Gray & Jackson (GK).

Crime Count: Bookings > Beacher & MacKinnon

Pictures from the game can be found on our Facebook page by clicking here

Next Fixture

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

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