City show champions’ mentality in Spartans win

Goalscorer Ousman See, back, challenges Spartans' Paul Thomson. Pic: Lisa Ferguson

Goalscorer Ousman See, back, challenges Spartans' Paul Thomson. Pic: Lisa Ferguson

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EDINBURGH CITY manager Gary Jardine felt his side showed why they are the current Ferrari Packaging Lowland League Champions during Saturday’s 1-0 Edinburgh derby win over Spartans.

Ross Allum’s second-half dismissal at 0-0 looked to have swung the game in the north Edinburgh club’s favour, only for Ousman See to head a late winner for the hosts to Jardine’s delight.

“I think the players have grown in working on shape, desire and hunger and that’s what brings league titles,” he said. “It wasn’t a great game, let’s be honest. There wasn’t a lot of football played and I expected much better from both teams, but when we don’t play well the guys go about their business and don’t get frustrated like they used to. The goal was a bit fortuitous but it’s a great leap by Ouzy. If it’s based on desire and hunger then the boys deserved it.

“I thought Ross’ first yellow was harsh and referee dished far too many cards out. Ross has been unlucky – he’s been chomping at the bit to get back in the team with his work rate and he was the one showing his quality when he got on the ball. He looked a real threat and we’re disappointed for him because that was him back in the team and now we’ll be without him again.”

Spartans began by pressuring their opponents with a series of corners, and Jamie Dishington saw his header headed off the line after Ally MacKinnon had knocked David Greenhill’s deep delivery back across goal.

Allum was presented with a good opportunity at the other end, but couldn’t keep his volley down from Gordon Donaldson’s cross. MacKinnon was proving a threat for Spartans in the opposition area, Andrew Stobie needing to tip his looping header over to make sure.

The visitors were looking most likely to break the deadlock, and came within inches of doing so when Eddie Malone’s clipped free-kick came off the top of the bar. The defender was in the thick of it again soon after with a strong challenge on Jordan Caddow that provoked an angry reaction from the City players. After the ensuing pushing and shoving, Malone, Dougie Gair and Craig Stevenson all saw yellow.

City were down to ten men five minutes after the break when Allum was shown a second yellow after what seemed an innocuous foul on MacKinnon. That encouraged Spartans to increase the pressure and Greenhill saw his close range effort smothered by Stobie. Gair almost nicked an opportunistic goal for City, outmuscling Dishington and shooting from distance but Blair Carswell was able to reposition himself in time.

The ten men unexpectedly edged themselves in front with ten minutes left. Caddow’s long ball over the top tempted Carswell out to challenge See. The striker was quickest to the bouncing ball, however, and nodded home the winner from 18 yards.

Spartans boss Dougie Samuel felt his team didn’t deserve to lose while not reaching their usual performance levels. “I don’t think we deserved to lose the game but I don’t know if we did enough to win it,” he admitted. “In footballing terms it was a poor game with not a huge amount of football played. After the stramash in the first half when Eddie was booked it settled into a scrappy battle and wasn’t one for the purists. We can play a lot better than we did today and there’s been a lot of lessons learned by a lot of our players.”

Edinburgh City: Stobie, Caddow, Donaldson, Harrison, MacDonald, McKee, McFarland, Gair (McConnell 74), Allum, See (Vanson 88) Dunn.

Spartans: Carswell, Brown, Thomson (Duthie 60), Malone, MacKinnon, Greenhill, Dishington, Stevenson, Murrell (Ross 85), Herd, Murray.