Lowland League | Blair brace gifts gaffer perfect present against Gala

Posted on Saturday, December 21st, 2019

Blair Atkinson’s double, in a Malt and Hops Man of the Match performance, saw Spartans move up to 5th spot in the Lowland League following a 4-0 victory over Gala Fairydean Rovers at Ainslie Park.

Watching from the stand was the Borders town’s famous son John Collins who was joined by John ‘Yogi’ Hughes, Gareth Evans and Andy Smith. The quartet simply missing a goalkeeper to make up an impressive five-a-side outfit.

Spartans kicked off in familiar fashion towards the Café end, with Jack Smith forging open an early opportunity before Blair Atkinson shot over the bar.

The opening exchanges saw the ball almost exclusively in the Rovers half and within 8 minutes, Spartans were ahead. Jake Davidson passing to Gregor Woods inside the box who squared for Blair Atkinson to pounce on a failed attempt at a clearance and he thumped the ball high into the net.

Jake Davidson was a fingertip away from doubling the lead moments later with inventive play than was followed by a fine shot across goal that saw Fraser Morton scramble to push behind for a corner.

Arron Murrell was next to come close when he won the ball inside the Gala half and raced in on goal, only for his shot to be stopped with Jack Smith also waiting in the wings.

The Spartans dominance paid off with ten minutes to go before the break. Jack Smith holding the ball up for Gregor Woods to dash into the box before sliding to Blair Atkinson who cut back inside before sending home.

HT: The Spartans 2-0 Gala Fairydean Rovers

The visitors came out of the traps with renewed enthusiasm – or following a hairdryer half time team talk – and after the restart, they enjoyed the luxury of some rare possession. Unfortunately for the Borders side, possession failed to turn into penetration and the Spartans rear-guard held firm.

Shortly before the hour mark, Spartans put the game as a contest out of reach.

A loose pass in the Rovers red zone saw Jack Smith swoop on the ball akin to a seagull on chips and with just two brief touches, there were shades of Shire slaying as he set up a 25-yard effort that sailed over Fraser Morton into the top corner.

Scott Maxwell took a knock that he failed to recover from and he was withdrawn alongside Jack Smith to welcome Mikey Allan and Nicky Reid to the fore.

Michael Bolochoweckyj saw his looping header shave the wrong side of the post as Spartans looked to add to their tally with the game entering it’s final quarter.

A further rotation saw Cameron Dawson replace Aaron Murrell and the striker was to be instrumental in the final goal of the afternoon.

Dawson dragged his marker out of the equation with a darting run which allowed a long range cross to find Nicky Reid in an acre of space and he didn’t need a written invitation before knocking it into the goal.

FT: The Spartans 4-0 Gala Fairydean Rovers

Malt and Hops Man of the Match | Blair Atkinson

Next Fixture

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

cinch 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