SPFL: Sparky ignites Spartans as Henderson hits 100 in derby draw

Posted on Wednesday, March 6th, 2024

Marc McNulty opened his Spartans account whilst Blair Henderson notched up a century of SPFL goals in a dramatic 2-2 draw against Bonnyrigg at New Dundas Park.

The Spartans went into the second game in just ten days against their hosts looking to bounce back from the disappointment of losing to East Fife at the weekend.  For Bonnyrigg, they looked to avenge the narrow defeat to Douglas Samuel’s side in the recent clash.

In what’s been tagged as the SPFL 2’s newest local derby, there was a ‘cup tie’ atmosphere inside the ground as the teams made their way out onto the park for this final game before the season enters its last quarter of fixtures.

Marc McNulty made his first start for the side whilst Jamie Dishington was at home enjoying the first days of fatherhood following the birth of this son earlier in the week.

It was Spartans who were looking dangerous from the off, with Cammy Russell having the first opportunity of the game shortly after kick-off however he was unable to benefit from Blair Henderson’s nod down in the box.

Perhaps with conditions underfoot not overly conducive for dynamic fast-flowing football, the opening exchanges of the game largely saw the ball fly around the dark Mid Lothian sky, reminding us of the immortal words from Irish band The Sultans of Ping that “if God made the game to be played up there, he would’ve put goalposts in their air.”

Sam Jones was next up to have a pop following a McNulty nod into his path and he was followed by Cammy Russell who couldn’t find a way past the keeper with a header.

Then, midway through the half, the opener.  Sean Brown making a tremendous run through the middle, his shot deflecting into the path of Marc McNulty who composed himself before tucking the ball into the back of the net.

McNulty offered further danger moments later when he released Blair Henderson in the box to send a powerful drive narrowly wide.

With the game heading to half time, it was all square.  Kieran McGachie latching on to a long pass and he chipped the advancing Blair Carswell to level proceedings.

HT: Bonnyrigg Rose 1-1 The Spartans

A change in personnel as the teams returned from the sheds saw James Craigen replace scorer McNulty.

Four minutes after the restart, Spartans were offered an opportunity to get their noses back in front after Sean Brown was clipped as he looked to turn in the box.  With only the Club’s second spot kick this season, Blair Henderson stepped up to calmly slot the ball home and in doing so, notched up his own personal haul of 100 SPFL goals.

Bonnyrigg then came close when a foot race at the other end set up an opportunity however it was blasted over the bar by Dunsmore.

Danny Denholm replaced Sean Brown with twenty minutes of a gruelling encounter that saw some industrial challenges creep into the game.

Bradley Whyte went on a solo run through the home defence however his shot from inside the box was well saved by Martin between the Bonnyrigg sticks.

With five minutes left on the clock, Martynuik was shown a straight red for a reckless challenge on Cammy Russell that saw him tumble through the air.  Treatment followed, as did his substitution, with Robbie Thompson entering the fray.

The resultant free-kick saw James Craigen have a pop from long range and his fierce shot stung the fingers of the Rose keeper who beat it away to safety.

As the game headed into injury time, Rhys Armstrong came on for Bradley Whyte.

Spartans have been familiar with late injury time drama already this campaign and it was to be the way once again when a last throw of the Rose dice saw the ball launched into the box.  Bradley Barrett stooped to get his head on the ball however the attempted clearance coming in at the same time resulted in an almighty collision and the Ref offered his second spot kick of the evening.

Despite a valiant attempt by Blair Carswell who guessed the direction of the kick, he was narrowly beaten and with that, the second equaliser for the hosts and a share of the spoils had.

FT: Bonnyrigg Rose 2-2 The Spartans

Next Fixture

Date: Saturday 27th April
Opponent: Peterhead
Venue:Ainslie Park
Competition: SPFL 2
Kick off: 3.00pm

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