Spartans crowned League winners after Dalbeattie draw

Posted on Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

Spartans lifted the inaugural Scottish Sun Lowland League trophy after an entertaining 1-1 draw against Dalbeattie Star at Ainslie Park.

It took a 28th minute equaliser from prolific striker Keith McLeod to secure the draw and maintain Dougie Samuel’s side’s unbeaten home league record.

Samuel noted after the game, “We were a bit slow in getting started today and I think the goal gave us a bit of a wake up call.  I was a little bit frustrated because half-time came at a bad time for us as I felt we were in complete control of the game and looking like we were going to get a second goal.

“I thought the second half was a bit of an non-event for the opening 20 minutes but the game finished with a wee bit more tempo about it.  Star could’ve nicked one late on however over the piece, I’m happy we didn’t lose the game and I’m glad that we once again continue to try and play football from the opening minute to the full time whistle.”

The visitors opened the scoring in the 11th minute. Wayne Gordon evaded the attentions of Bremner on the touchline before his cut back cross into the box was volleyed over the outstretched arm of Ross Gilpin and into the roof of the net by Richard Maxwell.

Spartans responded well and Kevin Motion was unlucky to see his shot from the edge of the box hit the bar and bounce free to safety.  Minutes later, the woodwork was once again at the rescue for Dalbeattie when Jack Blaikie’s glancing header from a Motion corner skimmed the top of the bar.

Spartans finally got themselves on level terms in the 28th minute. A great ball from Jack Beesley allowed Willie Bremner to race into the box. He worked his way to the bye-line before crossing the ball to the back post where Keith McLeod was waiting to score his 32 goal of the season.

Scott Milligan may well be still wondering how his headed attempt didn’t find its way into Gilpin’s net after a Lewis Sloan free-kick gave the Star striker the freedom of the Spartans six-yard box however the header went wide.

Dalbeattie keeper Darren Martin made a superb double save just before half-time to ensure his side went in on level terms.  A thunderous volley from Sean Muhsin was pushed away then the keeper reacted instinctively to keep Keith McLeod at bay.

Kevin Motion was once again frustrated by the Star bar before half time with another superb curling shot coming back off the frame of the goal.

The second half was a more even encounter. Donal Henretty saw his volley well saved by Martin and the Dalbeattie keeper ensured his side got a deserved point with a superb one handed save from a Jack Beesley freekick in the dying moments.

Manager Dougie Samuel spoke of his joy at finally getting his hands on the Lowland League silverware, “It’s been a real challenge and a big test. For the players to go through the whole league season undefeated at home is a credit to them, especially considering the strength of the opposition we’ve come up against. It’s great to get our hands on the trophy and for the players to have their day of celebration.

Danny Main, whose career takes him from Edinburgh to Dubai post-season, was delighted to end his time at the Club on a high.  The defender said, “It’s a great way to go out in front of a fantastic home support today.  It’s been a brilliant season that we’ve worked hard throughout and I think we’ve deserved the league title.   I’m going to enjoy the night, enjoy the occasion and as the Gaffer said earlier, “live in the present!”

Former Hearts and Hibs midfielder Michael Stewart and Lowland League chairman Andrew Waddell presented the Lowland League trophy after the match to Club Captain Kevin Sivewright.

Spartans: Gilpin, Cennerazzo, Main, Sivewright, Blaikie (O’Donnell), Muhsin, Beesley, Whatley, Bremner (Henretty), McLeod, Motion (Anderson) Unused: Grant

Next Fixture

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

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