SPFL 2: Hendo rocket launches Spartans into play-offs

Posted on Sunday, April 21st, 2024

Blair Henderson capped off a perfect week with the winner against Bonnyrigg Rose, just 48 hours after being nominated by his SPFL2 peers to feature in the league’s Team of the Year.

The talismanic striker featured in an unchanged starting XI that shared the spoils with Stranraer seven days earlier, with Spartans looking to secured three points that would seal their play-off place with two games left to complete.

Confusion rung round New Dundas Park as a golden globe dispensing several degrees of heat featured high in the blue Bonnyrigg sky.  A phenomenon previously unheard of in fixtures between the sides and cagoules were being wrapped round waists as the teams made their way out from the sheds.

Asides from the ball needing replaced earlier doors having had a proportion of its air already hoofed out of it, there were nice wee battles unfolded on the pitch, with Ayrton Sonkur and Kieran McGachie enjoying each other’s close attentions.

Such was the game unfolding in front of them, many were engrossed in their mobile devices at action elsewhere.  A dangerous game with the ball being launched like missiles across the ground.

In terms of action itself, it was in limited supply as this gritty game of attrition lived up to some level of expectations between two clubs who had progressed via the Pyramid system.

Aside from an Ayrton Sonkur v Ross Gray tete-a-tete in front of the vocal home support in the stand, there was little to enthuse the locals, meanwhile a Cammy Russell free-kick close to the interval failed to clear the wall. 

HT: Bonnyrigg Rose 0-0 The Spartans

Could the second half offer something to write home about?  Well, it started with an exchange between the two goalies – of the long banger version as the ball swapped ends in quick succession.

There was some concern for Angus Mailer who required treatment on the hour mark when an accidental knock to the head suffered in a post challenge collision left the Rose man stricken on the ground.  Cammy Russell who was involved in the unfortunate exchange was first on hand to ensure his opponent was safe before he was attended to ahead of thankfully being able to walk to the changing rooms unaided.

Neil Martyniuk came close to opening the scoring with the head however he looked on in wonder as Blair Carswell dived full length to collect at the base of the post.

Bonnyrigg’s aerial presence continued to be a challenge, this time it was seasoned campaigner Keiran McGachie who got in between two defenders but his header crashed off the face of the bar before being launched to safety.

Spartans made a change with Danny Denholm replacing the industrious Rhys Armstrong.

Cammy Russell then saw his free kick float over both wall and bar as the game trundled its way into the final ten minutes with the stalemate stamp ready to be dipped in the inkpad.

Then, with five minutes left on the clock, the deadlock was broken.

Blair Carswell’s long ball up the park was involved in a bit of header tennis infused with collisions.  Blair Henderson brushed off his man, he let it bounce and from some 30 yards, his half-volley was missile-esque and whizzed past Paddy Martin who had little chance.

A wonder strike from the Spartans man, his 21st in all competitions this campaign, and 62nd in just 92 appearances.

Meanwhile at the other end, another clean sheet for ‘The Cat’ Carswell, his 11th of the season that boosts his Spartans career total to 104.

FT: Bonnyrigg Rose 0-1 The Spartans

Malt and Hops Man of the Match: Kieran Watson

Next Fixture

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

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