League Cup | Carswell catch-trick of stops kyboshes Kelty in shoot-out drama

Posted on Saturday, April 27th, 2019

Blair Carswell was the toast of Ainslie Park on Friday evening when the Spartans stopper pulled off an incredible hat-tick of spot-kick saves to help his side progress in the Lowland League Cup with a victory over Kelty Hearts.

Writing in his match programme notes, Manager Dougie Samuel remarked that due to a host of reasons, the squad was down to it’s bare bones.  Therefore, the bench had a decidedly youthful look to it with four members of the current Under 20s on it whilst Murray Hand made his first start having had six stints via the dug out already this year.

Games between Spartans and Kelty largely take a familiar shape – and it is fair to say that they are typically tense and tight affairs.  This was to be no exception.

Former Spartans striker Errol Douglas was in the starting Kelty line-up as Barry Ferguson looked to overcome the Dougie Hoodoo and finally claim a win.

The early exchanges were largely defused by the shrill of the whistle as silly fouls in areas of a non-threatening nature drew frustration from benches, players and crowd in equal measure.#

There was a let-off for the hosts when Stuart Cargill saw his effort smash against the crossbar before it was hoofed to safety.  Meanwhile, at the other end, Kelty keeper Scott Christie had to look lively as a Scott Maxwell in-swinging corner almost caught him off guard and the ball was scooped away from the goal line.

HT: Spartans 0-0 Kelty Hearts

Alan Brown was first to come close to separating the sides after the break when he burst into the box, only to find Christie in fine form.

Spartans made a change just after the hour mark, when Under 20s starlet Nicky Reid made his first senior appearance at the expense of Hand.

As the game opened up, chances seemed to come like Lothian Buses.  You wait in hope for ages then you have a series of them in quick succession.

Ian McFarland proving his worth under his own crossbar as he despatched the ball into the neighbouring residential car park to stop the visitors from getting their neck in front.

Mikey Herd seemed to feel the after effects of a valiant attempt to cut out a long diagonal and after a period of treatment, the armband was switching hands as the skipper made his way towards the sheds and his able replacement Josh Wishart stepped up to the plate.

Could an extra thirty minutes be avoided?  Well, the width of the corner of the post and crossbar denied Scott Maxwell from making it so.  An audacious bid after darting in-field saw an opportunity however the humdinger could only scrape some paint off the frame.

FT: Spartans 0-0 Kelty Hearts

Any suspicion of summer time hitting North Edinburgh were firmly offered a firm boot square between the sticks as the first period of extra time saw a blanket of rain accompanied by a breeze of sorts too.

It was Kelty who had one eye on the next round though as they took the game by the scruff of the neck and opened the scoring in the 101st minute.  A cross into the six yard box was met by Chris Dodd who nodded before Carswell.

ET HT: Spartans 0-1 Kelty Hearts

Two minutes after the restart, Spartans were finally back on level terms. 

Substitute Josh Wishart was on hand inside the box to score his first senior goal at the club, much to the delight of his Under 20s Coach Les Atkinson who was watching the match.

ET FT: Spartans 1-1 Kelty Hearts


Kelty opened with Carswell saving.  Adam Corbett was successful before Carswell pulled off a second stop.  Scott Maxwell couldn’t covert then Kelty finally got one on the board.  Arron Scott sent his homewards then the visitors done the same.  Blair Atkinson made little doubt with his 12 yard shot then, with a fine outstretched arm, Carswell saved again, this time from Douglas, to send his side into the next round.  Cue scenes!

Penalties: Spartans 3-2 Kelty Hearts

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: Scott Maxwell

Next Fixture

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

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