Qualifying Cup | Young at heart Spartans beaten by the Bluebells

Posted on Wednesday, April 5th, 2023

There were 1st XI debuts for under 20s duo Louis O’Brien and Sam Lovie in the starting line-up as Spartans welcomed Dundonald Bluebell to Ainslie Park.

Lots of fine, patient passing from Spartans in the opening stages as they tried to forge open an opportunity, however the final ball across the face of the goal whizzed to safety.

The visitors took the lead in the 12th minute courtesy of a scrappy goal that just about breached the whitewash despite valiant attempts by Meek to scoop the ball before it went beyond the line.

Spartans looked to get back into the game from the restart and a long ball into the box was just too high for Mackie Scott to get enough purchase on his header to trouble the keeper. 

The Bluebell advantage doubled in the 17th minute when a free-kick from out on the touchline caused chaos in the home box and somehow nestled in the far corner of the net.

Dundonald were to all but seal their passage into the next round before the break. Brown composed himself in the box before sliding beyond Meek then it was four just a few minutes later.

Callum MacKay almost benefitted from a well whipped in ball at the back post but he wasn’t able to direct the ball on target from the narrowest of angles.

Then, with the game edging towards half-time, Louis O’Brien had a decent 20 yard free-kick tip round the post with the keeper having to work hard to get down low.

HT: The Spartans 0-4 Dundonald Bluebell 

Spartans set out their stall from the off and looked for an early way back into the tie. 

Jamie Penker showed great strength to puts his man on his chorus n’ verse in midfield, with the ball breaking to Ben Lamont. The teenage striker raced in on goal but with the backtracking defender breathing down his neck and keeper coming off his line, he could only send the ball over the bar.

However, that elusive Spartans goal was just moments away and Mackie Scott was on poacher patrol to slide the ball home deep inside the Bluebell box to reduce the deficit. 

Shortly after, it was game for Bluebell’s Murray who looks to have popped his shoulder. Team Spartans Physio were on hand to help the stricken player off the park and to the sheds. We wish the player a speedy recovery.

On the hour mark, Spartans injected a little bit pace into proceedings when Given Ndlovu replaced Sam Lovie. 

Ben Lamont’s speculative long range lob didn’t trouble the keeper however his effort shortly after did and the Bluebell goalie had to look lively to get back on his feet to save from the head of Ndlovu. 

A further brace of changes saw Rui Black & Jake Cunningham make their 1st Team debuts after replacing Lamont & O’Brien. 

Now, if you are going to save your best, you save it til last. Spartans second goal was a thing of beauty from Josh Laing. His previous first team goal was a nod home from a yard however the big defender galloped to within fully 30 yards of the goal before unleashing an unbeatable strike that had destination top-bins written all over it!  

Alas, any hopes of a last gasp salvage response were dashed when Meek was out jumped to the ball, with the header landed in the empty net.

The young Spartans outfit certainly equipped themselves well in the second half and were worthy of their moral second half victory.

FT: The Spartans 2-5 Dundonald Bluebell


Next Fixture

                     
Date: 29/06/24
Opponent: Livingston FC
Venue:Ainslie Park
Competition: Pre-Season Friendly
Kick off: 3.00pm

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