Lowland League | Brad brace sees Spartans all Whyte on the night against Braves

Posted on Sunday, October 30th, 2022

The Spartans moved up to third place in the Lowland League after their first victory over Caledonian Braves at the fourth time of asking in a game of proverbial two halves at Alliance Park.

It was a blustery, wet afternoon out west with the autumnal conditions overhead matched by the blanket of fallen leaves on the astro paddock as Spartans got the game underway.

There was an early welcome back for Rhys Armstrong as the playmaker was pulled to the ground as Spartans launched their first attack from the off.

A couple of corners for the visitors after some kamikaze defending from the Braves saw Blair Henderson make a nuisance of himself in the box. His first header was put behind however the home side somehow managed to clear to keep the scoreboard intact.

Another set-piece saw Mikey Allan leap and head towards goal, only for it to have a little bit too much bounce and it pinged over the bar.

Eventually, the tourists got their noses in front after 14 minutes. Another corner kick was poorly defended and this time Bradley Whyte headed into the roof of the net despite the attentions of the Goalie and Defender on the line.

Rhys Armstrong came close as did Blair Henderson as Spartans looked more than keen to erase last weekend’s cup display firmly from their mental lockers.

The lead doubled after 25 minutes when, yup – another corner – came into the heart of the Braves box and an unconventional effort from Bradley Whyte saw him shoot from hip and it took all and sundry by surprise.

Mikey Allan then went into a goalmouth challenge in typically brave fashion, unlucky not to score and then thankful following a Blair Henderson inspection, to have the same number of teeth as he had prior to the clash.

Ian McFarland was forced to withdraw after taking a knock and he was replaced by Sam Jones on the half hour mark.

Cammy Russell then looked to have been taken out on the edge of the box as he latched on to the through ball however there was nothing to see in the eyes of the officials as play raged on.

With half time moments away, Spartans further extended their lead. Rhys Armstrong with the perfect response to the close attentions he’d been receiving throughout as he slid the ball beyond the advancing keeper and into the net.

Spartans were three goals to the good and cruising. So much so that Jane McDonald wouldn’t have looked out of place in the squad.

Half Time: Caledonian Braves 0-3 The Spartans

From cruise control to out of control in five opening second half minutes saw the Braves reduce the deficit to a solitary goal in the most un-Spartans of fashions.

Around 60 seconds after the re-start, some faffing around on the edge of their own box saw the ball robbed and the ball was rolled home.

Then, from a Spartans corner, the ball broke and a quick lob across the park saw a one-on-one which resulted in the second Braves goal in just five chaotic minutes.

Cammy Russell came close to putting more light between the sides as his shot from out wide grazed the face of the crossbar and whizzed out of play.

Some agricultural challenges started to creep into the game as Braves sought an equaliser and Spartans hung on to a lead they looked unlikely to be anywhere near surrendering at the break.

Play swept from end to end, the leaves followed in the wind. The subs shivered in the shelters which had been mainly robbed of their perspex backing some time ago.

Then, with ten minutes left on the clock, Spartans found what was looking to be that elusive fourth goal. Jamie Dishington sending a cross into the box that the keeper failed to stop and the ball landed into the path of Blair Henderson who stooped low to head into the empty net.

It was his final part in the game as he was replaced by Sean Brown along with Rhys Armstrong who made way for Gregor Woods.

There was almost a hearts in mouth moment at the death as Braves launched another attack and when the whistle blew following a challenge in the box, the fears turned to cheers when the far-side lino was stood flag aloft for offside.

FT: Caledonian Braves 2-4 The Spartans

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: Bradley Whyte

Next Fixture

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

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