Rover and Out! 10 man Spartans bow out of the Scottish Cup

Posted on Saturday, October 5th, 2013

It was far from Cliftonhill for thrills in this William Hill Scottish Cup 2nd Round clash and it took a 56th minute self-confessed ‘sclaff shot’ from on-loan striker Mark McGuigan to win the game for Rovers.

A sizeable Spartan Army headed to Coatbridge hoping for a cup shock and the Lowland League side started off against their SFPL 2 opponents in positive fashion with John Grant nipping a cross into the Rovers box within the opening 60 seconds.

The early exchanges saw neither keeper troubled as both sides looked to dominate the midfield dogfight in a game played out in glorious autumn conditions in Coatbridge.

Rovers had an opportunity to break the deadlock with a free kick from 30 yards after Motion transgression however the wall stood its ground and the ball was cleared to safety.

The first clear-cut chance of the afternoon fell to Spartans in the 39th minute.

A John Grant cross, whipped in from the bye-line, found the head of Keith McLeod however the striker just couldn’t get enough height on the ball to send it over Parry in the Rovers goal.

Half-Time Albion Rovers 0-0 Spartans

A bit of Spartans joy at the break as Donal Henretty’s mum scooped the 50/50 draw jackpot!

The teams came out for the second half with neither manager looking to make any changes to the personnel who delivered few chances to excited the 400+ strong crowd.

John Grant found his way into the book of Referee Ross for a foul on Ross Dunlop and this proved to be costly later on.

Spartans chances of obtaining a glamour third round tie were made more difficult when they went behind in the 56th minute.

On-loan striker Mark McGuigan found himself on the left flank and his miss-hit cross-cum-shot fortuitously spun over the head of Bennett and the ball finally nestled into the bottom corner. 1-0 Rovers.

Spartans looked to hit back and when Whatley found his way into the box only to fall under the challenge of Kevin Nicol, there were calls for a penalty from the travelling support.  Instead, the Referee reached for his pocket and booked the midfielder for simulation.

Beesley came on for Kevin Motion with 20 minutes to go as Spartans looked to inject a sense of urgency in their attack as the clock started to tick-down.

The task of staying in the cup became an uphill one in the 78th minute when John Grant received his second yellow of the afternoon.

A tangle with goalscorer McGuigan in the centre circle was deemed worthy of a booking and with that, an early shower for the Spartans man.

Spartans manager Dougie Samuel had one last throw of the dice with 7 minutes to go, introducing Willie Bremner and Robbie Ross for Donal Henretty and Keith McLeod.

Rovers substitute Barry Russell came close to doubling the home sides lead when his shot curled just wide of Bennetts post.

Mark Whatley had one final attempt to take the game into a replay at Ainslie Park however his shot went high and wide of Parry’s bar.

Final Score: Albion Rovers 1-0 Spartans

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: Mark Whately

Team: Bennett, Cennerazzo, Main, Sivewright, MacKinnon, Grant, Brown, Whatley, Henretty, McLeod, Motion, Subs:  Bremner, Anderson, Ross, O’Donnell, Beasley, Blaikie, Gilpin.

Next Fixture

Date: Saturday 27th April
Opponent: Peterhead
Venue:Ainslie Park
Competition: SPFL 2
Kick off: 3.00pm

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