Blair we go, Blair we go! Atkinson last gasp goal secures win

Posted on Saturday, September 16th, 2017

Blair Atkinson rewarded gaffer Dougie Samuel’s decision to start the striker with an injury time winner against Gretna 2008 at Ainslie Park in a game that saw the visitors finish the game with 10 men following Jack Hunter’s 55th minute dismissal.

It was a match that offered the potential of a home banana skin with the Dumfriesshire side travelling to the Capital keen to secure their first win over the North Edinburgh side since May 2015.

The early signs were to suggest that this wasn’t going to be the case as wave after wave of Spartans attacks threatened the Gretna goal.

David Greenhill was denied by the woodwork after teeing himself up for a volley attempt then shortly after he had keeper John Jamieson sprawling with an effort from outside the box.

Referee Sneddon may not have had the most difficult of afternoons in the middle however he incurred the wrath of the home support when Ross Allum appeared to be bundled to the ground by the elbow of Jordan Little, only for the whistler to wave play on.

Greenhill once again reacquainted himself with the crossbar, this time with a drive that had Jamieson a mere onlooker whilst stranded to the spot and the sides going in at the break remarkably on level terms.

Half Time: Spartans 0-0 Gretna 2008

Shortly after the oranges, Blair Atkinson was causing all sorts of bother down the flank.  An early drive towards the Gretna danger area saw the striker taken out, but not in the mind of the match official.  However, there was no doubt when a similar challenge just minutes after saw Jack Hunter head for the showers as Atkinson looked set to go on and score.  The free-kick just outside the penalty box once again rattled the bar from the boot of Greenhill, a hat-trick he’s unlucky to cut out and keep in the scrapbook anytime soon.

Spartans looked to capitalise upon the numerical advantage as an air of frustration began to creep into the home side’s play.  Wave after wave of home pressure saw a siege of Alamo proportions and the Gretna goal leading a charmed life.  Indeed, the word count here would be well into four figures if all 27 chances were recorded, suffice to say any heat map technology would have left Andrew Stobie between the Spartans sticks looking cooler than a Polar Bear’s toenails!

With the game heading towards an unlikely stalemate and into injury time, Spartans laid on one fine aerial assault upon the Gretna defence.  Jack Nixon’s cross had the pace for distance yet the delicacy of a cheeky golf wedge effort to find Blair Atkinson hovering around the six yard box to slide home.   Cue relief, celebration and scenes.

The restart was immediately followed by the final shrill of the whistle and with it, three crucial points that may come in handy come the business end of the campaign.

Post-Match, an ebullient Atkinson said, “We kept going right til the end and I just knew if we got one final chance we’d do it.  It was a great ball from Jack (Nixon) and I just got myself in behind Brandon (Archibald) and took the chance.  When it went in I knew there would be no time for Gretna to respond too.

“I guess that’s the thing about us though – we just never know when to give up.  We’ve got a lot of guys like myself who have come through the Academy system, it’s in our Spartans DNA to fight til the end.”

It was Atkinson’s sixth competitive goal of the season so far. It’s a campaign that has seen the former Under 20s goal machine make considerable impact in so far, largely from the bench.  He added, “I don’t really want to have the tag as “super sub” if I’m honest so when the gaffer gives me the opportunity to start, I set out to repay him, just like today with the winner.”

Full Time: Spartans 1-0 Gretna 2008

Spartans: Stobie, Herd (Nixon), Stevenson, Tolmie, Thomson, Greenhill, Atkinson, McFarland, Allum, Dishington, Maxwell (Archibald).  Subs (Not Used)

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: Blair Atkinson





Next Fixture

Date: 16/07/24
Opponent: Cove Rangers
Venue:Balmoral Stadium
Competition: Premier Sports Cup
Kick off: 7.45pm

William Hill J-Teq EMS Solutions Ltd Spentwell JB Contracts (Scotland) Ltd
Mintbox Removals Johnstone Carmichael Consider IT Shepherd Chartered Surveyors
Sonsie Face Westwoods Health Club Mr Eion Coffee Hart Lifts
Soho IT CHAS Jim Martin