South Challenge Cup | Russell at the double as Spartans see off Syngenta in seven goal thriller

Posted on Monday, February 7th, 2022

The Spartans required extra-time in a seven goal thriller to edge out Syngenta to progress in the South Challenge Cup in abysmal conditions at Ainslie Park.

Gaffer Dougie Samuel shuffled his squad for the cup tie against the Conference X side with a debut between the sticks for Adam Meek, whilst Under 20s team mate Sam Coats was promoted to the bench where he was joined by new signing Rhys Caves who signed late in the week on loan from Dundee United.

Syngenta kicked off and sadly for Meek, his first touch of the ball was to pick it out of the net within 10 seconds.  The visitors passing the ball up the park and Fotheringham unleashed an unstoppable drive that sailed into the top corner despite Meek’s efforts.

It was to be quite the opening eight minutes for teenager Meek as his second touch of the ball was to save a Syngenta penalty after a mild coming together of two players in the box resulted in a fairly mild spot kick award.

Spartans rallied and Scott Maxwell came close to equalising, the Dishington went on a run before seeing his shot well saved.

Mikey Herd was forced to withdraw early in the encounter and it was an early debut for Caves.

Dishington was then denied by the outstretched foot of the visitors keeper however the sides were finally on level terms shortly after.

Cammy Russell providing a cross into the box and it found Blair Henderson lurking at the back post and the prolific marksman volley home.

Then, on the stroke of half time, Spartans took the lead.  Fine play in the middle of the park from Bradley Whyte saw the ball break to Cammy Russell and it was Jamie Dishington on hand to convert the cross home.

HT: The Spartans 2-1 Syngenta

The second half got off to a flying start with the sides exchanging goals within the opening six minutes of the restart.

Syngenta were up first with an equaliser from a well executed free-kick from Fotheringham then Cammy Russell rounded the keeper to slot home however it took a debate between Ref and Lino to turn round the latter’s offside flag to identify the ball had come off a defender and the goal was to stand.

Having poked their nose back in front again, the hosts launched a wave of attacks on the Grangemouth based side’s red zone however they just couldn’t make the magic happen in the box.

Another dead-ball from Fotheringham just went over Meek’s crossbar and Rogers came close to tying the tie again when he saw his chip effort go wide.

Blair Henderson then put the ball in the net however he was to be flagged offside, this time there was to be no second chance for a review.

A further home substitution saw Allan Smith come on for Sam Newman as the game headed towards its anticipated end.

Then, with the 109 fans having one eye on the hope of getting back into the warmth of clubhouse or cars, Syngenta sent the game into extra time courtesy of a Miller strike.

FT: The Spartans 3-3 Syngenta

The opening half of extra time failed to trouble the scoreboard or throw up any notable opportunities for either side.  It did however offer a third debutant in the shape of Sam Coats, who had scored twice the previous evening for the Under 20s, as he replaced Jamie Dishington.

Coats was to be instrumental in setting up what proved to be the winner when the youngster showed strength and skill to win back possession deep in his own half before gliding past two players before sending Cammy Russell on his way to score and send Spartans through to the 5th Round draw.

ET FT: The Spartans 4-3 Syngenta

Next Fixture

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

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