Lowland League: Season opener sees share of the spoils against Students

Posted on Sunday, July 29th, 2018

Goals from Jack Smith and Gary Cennerazzo saw Spartans comeback from two down to share the spoils against Stirling University as the Lowland League champions kicked-off their campaign at a wet and windy Ainslie Park.

An evening start saw the afternoon delights of summer turn into a night of darkest winter as the inclement conditions threatened to spoil what promised to be an exciting encounter between the sides.  The opening exchanges seeing the ball spend a significant times up in the air and out of the park as the hoolie hampered any hope of a classic taking shape.

Gary Cennerazzo was first to threaten as he took on his man up the line before threading the ball to Jack Smith however last season’s Lowland League top scorer couldn’t force his shot through the plethora of bodies and trouble the net.

Shortly before the break, Spartans were awarded a free-kick on the far edge of the box.  Scott Maxwell curled his effort round the wall only for Stirling’s John Allan to double fist the ball away to safety and send the sides to the sheds on level pegging.

Half Time: Spartans 0-o Stirling University

The Students goalmouth was leading a charmed life and Jamie Dishington was next to test it as he directed a cross narrowly over the bar from 12 yards out.

After soaking up the pressure, it was perhaps against the run of play that the Students took the lead.  A free-kick was awarded on the edge of the box by Referee Munro and up stepped Dominic Slattery who beat the wall and squeezed his dead-ball effort between the post and Blair Carswell to break the deadlock.

Spartans looked to recover the deficit and it was Dishington once again to come close as he latched on to a quick corner only to send his outstretched leg attempt narrowly beyond the post.

Two minutes later, Stirling doubled their advantage.  Spartans lost the ball in midfield and the Students pressed forward on the counter attack.  Lewis Hunter was played in and he kept his composure to slide the ball beyond Carswell to put light on a dull night between the sides.

With conditions deteriorating and the wind sweeping towards the University goal, Spartans utilised the forces of nature and with ten minutes to go, pulled one back.  A long ball in behind the visiting defence was picked up by Jack Smith who beat Allan in the foot race to poke the ball beyond the stranded keeper into the empty net.

Tempo built and the home side could sense an opportunity to salvage, at least, a point out of the game.  And that they did.

Cennerazzo found himself out wide on the edge of the box.  A wee shimmy-shammy then a superlative strike flew beyond Allan to nestle in the opposite corner of the keeper’s net.

Spartans pressed to find a winner in the final few minutes but it wasn’t to be.  A draw perhaps a fair result all round against a pacey Student side.

Full Time: Spartans 2-2 Stirling University


Next Fixture

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

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