SPFL: Russell rare header rescues point against Rose

Posted on Sunday, October 1st, 2023

With their third identical result in as many games, reports of a statue in recognition of the late Archbishop Desmond at Ainslie Park may not be on the cards however it was a tremendous effort from The Spartans on Saturday to pull back a two goal deficit to earn a 2-2 draw against Bonnyrigg Rose on Match Day 8 of the SPFL 2 campaign.

Spartans were without the services of Jamie Dishington who joined Blair Carswell on the treatment table with Gavin Morrison making the starting XI.  New signing from Dundee United Bryan Mwangi joined the squad and slotted in on the bench.

Ahead of kick-off, the Ultras North unveiled their new Tifo in the Newton Building and Roofing stand whilst creating a cacophony of noise inside the ground under the gaze of tv cameras – keep an eye on social media for further info soon.

The opening minutes were a cagey affair with both sides looking to settle into their rhythm and gain an understanding of how each other were shaping up for the contest.

Bonnyrigg enjoyed some early possession as they pressed towards the goals where their supporters were standing behind and had marginally delayed kick-off due to their enthusiastic pre-match distribution of tape requiring to be cleared off the pitch.

Cammy Russell’s run through the middle of the park saw him upended 25 yards out but his free-kick hit the visiting wall and from play that resulted from the break, Bonnyrigg took the lead.

Jacques Heraghty’s extra touch in dealing with a pass back saw him pick-pocketed by Ross Gray who subsequently sent the ball over the scrambling keeper and give the tourists the lead.

Spartans looked to respond immediately and Cammy Russell’s low cross into the box was inches away from being connected with by Blair Henderson.

HT: The Spartans 0-1 Bonnyrigg Rose

The rain welcome the players back out for the second half with no personnel changes offered by both camps.

Just eight minutes had elapsed after the break when Bonnyrigg doubled their lead.  Jordan Tapping was pinged for a free-kick and subsequently booked after Ross Gray took a tumble in the challenge.

From the resultant dead ball effort, Lee Currie cleared the wall and the despairing diving Heraghty to double their lead.

Spartans made a brace of changes on the hour mark which were to be instrumental in orchestrating Douglas Samuel’s side’s comeback.  Sean Brown and Danny Denholm coming off the bench to replace Morrison and Tapping.

It took a mere five minutes to halve the Bonnyrigg advantage.  A long hoof up the park by Heraghty was headed on into the path of Sean Brown who worked industriously to send the ball across the box for Rhys Armstrong to slide home and reduce the deficit.

Then, ten minutes later, it was all square.  Rhys Armstrong’s in-swinging corner was double fisted away by Paddy Martin under his own crossbar.  Cammy Russell headed back towards the goal and after a brief game of headed tennis in the box, Russell was on hand again, this time to nod beyond the sea of bodies to finally find the net. A collector’s item with the napper and an important one at that!

Two further changes saw Sam Newman and Sam Jones both enter the fray at the expense of Henderson and Armstrong who had left nothing on the park during their 80 minutes on it.

One final flurry saw James Craigen send a teasing delivery towards the back post.  A sliding Bradley Whyte was inches away from connecting to grab a late winner.

A share of the spoils it was as the rain continued to fall and the 823 supporters made their way out of Ainslie Park with plenty to chew on.

FT: The Spartans 2-2 Bonnyrigg Rose

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: James Craigen

Next Fixture

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

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