Blair pair set up Tangerine dream victory in Viaplay Cup

Posted on Saturday, July 15th, 2023

A Blair Henderson first half goal and a second half Blair Carswell penalty save saw The Spartans get their Viaplay Cup Group off to a 1-0 winning start against Dundee United in front of 1,701 inside Ainslie Park.

Former Dundee Utd and Spartans player Eamonn Bannon was amongst the guests at Ainslie Park for this first meeting of the clubs in the opening round of ties.

A bumper crowd, with a sizeable travelling support, welcomed the sides out onto the field for this match between the new boys in SPFL 2 and loftier opponents settling into life in the Championship for the forthcoming campaign.

It was Spartans who had the early running and an opportunity for Cammy Russell saw the playmaker turn his man however he could only look on as his shot began to rise and over the bar.

There was a shout moments later for a penalty when the same player raced into the box and looked to have his feet taken away from him by the trailing gloves of keeper Jack Walton. Russell took a tumble however there was no spot kick on offer.

It didn’t take long however before Spartans did make their opening quarter of an hour dominance turn into a goal.

An aerial challenge in the middle of the park saw United look for a free-kick however Cammy Russell wasn’t hanging around and dashed into the penalty area, send a teasing ball along the six yard box and Blair Henderson was on hand to poke the ball home from close range.

An outrageous cross / shot by Jamie Dishington looked like it may fly into the top corner only for an incredible save by Walton to push behind for a corner.

Blair Carswell had a relatively quite opening quarter however he had to look sharp to get down low to deny United’s first clear opportunity on goal.

Cammy Russell almost bagged himself a brace when he once again made progress into the Tangerine’s box however after putting in a cheeky wee dummy, his shot was then deflected behind.

HT: The Spartans 1-0 Dundee United

Dundee United were out of the sheds some minutes before the hosts, leaving not a lot to the imagination over the contents of their half time conversation.

They were out of the traps first too as they looked to get back on level terms at the earliest opportunity.

Danger man Cudjoe was close when his impressive play and effort was sent over the bar, much to the delight of the home fans.

Blair Carswell was called upon once again when Jordan Tapping was pick-pocketed in the middle of the park. Anthony Watt made the run towards goal and a combination of close attentions by Kevin Waugh and a backtracking Tapping saw the ball hoofed away to safety.

Then, in the 63rd minute, Anthony Watt had the perfect opportunity to level the score when he was offered a shot from the spot following a penalty award.

Not for the first time in recent games, Blair Carswell pulled off a phenomenal size. Dare to dream?

When Carswell then denied Declan Glass in a one-on-one, it was beginning to look more like a profitable afternoon for Douglas Samuel’s side.

Cammy Russell had another opportunity from a long range free-kick which cleared the wall and just edged past the post with Walton scrambling.

With almost 90 minutes showing on the clock, Miller Thomson almost snatched an equaliser, only for the United sub to look on in frustration as his effort rattled the bar.

After four very long feeling minutes of added time, the final whistle came and the Spartans had earned themselves three points to sit top of the table on Match Day 1.

FT: The Spartans 1-0 Dundee United

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: Blair Carswell

Next Fixture

Date: Saturday 20th April
Opponent: Bonnyrigg Rose
Venue:New Dundas Park
Competition: SPFL 2
Kick off: 3.00pm

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