Arniston Miners went through to the third round of the Lothian and Edinburgh AFA Centenary Cup after beating The Spartans FC 2-1 at Sighthill Park.
With two divisions separating the two teams, Spartans looked to have the upper hand going into the tie, but it was Arniston Miners who took the spoils thanks to two goals from Grant Smith, which sandwiched a strike by Andrew Hornell after 75 minutes.
In the opening stages of the match, both teams were finding it difficult to break the opposition defence down. In the 12th minute, a long ball from Arniston goalkeeper Gavin Shanley fell kindly to Lee Watson, but his shot went wide of the left post.
Hornell missed Spartans’ first chance in the 24th minute. He headed the ball over the bar after David Campbell’s cross.
Sweeper keeper Shanley was left exposed in the 38th minute, but Hornell’s shot from outside of the area did not hit the target. In the 47th minute, Grant Smith won a free kick in a good position after being fouled by Marc Proudfoot. Darren Suddaby’s free kick went over the bar.
Arniston had another opportunity from a free kick six minutes later. This time, Peter McDonald shot over the bar from 25 yards.
Spartans counter-attacked down the right wing in the 55th minute. Hornell fed the ball to Martin Douglas inside the area, but his shot was saved well by Shanley.
The Miners thought that they had broken the deadlock in the 58th minute. Grant Smith’s shot went past goalkeeper Ross Burns and defender Steven Enwood was only able to clear the ball into the net. Enwood’s blushes were spared by the referee, who had spotted a foul on the goalkeeper in the build-up. The opening goal did come three minutes later. Grant Smith shot into the top left corner after a through ball was not dealt with by the Spartans defence.
Campbell had a chance to equalise for Spartans in the 68th minute, after retrieving Enwood’s deep cross, but the Spartans midfielder could not connect with the ball properly when in a good position.
Jamie Turnbull tried to double Arniston’s lead in the 74th minute. He received the ball from a throw in, but his 16-yard shot went narrowly past the left post.
Spartans equalised a minute later. Hornell headed the ball across goal from 12 yards to score from Robbie Laird’s deep free kick. Grant Smith scored the winning goal for Arniston in the 83rd minute. Dale Davidson’s free kick from halfway fell to Smith who shot low into the net.
Spartans tried to equalise in the closing stages. Nick Reid’s close range shot was blocked on the line by Suddaby after Shanley had failed to deal with a long ball.
With two minutes remaining, Campbell went round Suddaby, but his shot from the edge of the area was eventually gathered by Shanley.
Spartans manager Andy Enwood felt that Arniston were the better team. He said: “Arniston fully deserved their victory. It comes down to individual battles and if you do not win them then you cannot look to work on anything else football wise. We did not win those and were beaten all over the park.
“We are looking to finish as high up the Premier Division 1 table as we can. We finished seventh last season and if we finish a bit higher that would represent progress for us.
“We are a team that is rebuilding. We brought a few new players in and it is taking a bit of time to adjust to the way we play. Hopefully we can finish mid-table and are not involved in any relegation battles.”
Arniston manager William Power thought his team showed the right mentality to win the match. He said: “It was a good game which was played in good spirit. Spartans were quick on the ball, but we persevered and got there in the end. Spartans are a very good team, but our team spirit got us there in the end.
“We want to stabilise the team this season and progress in the Lothian East division.”
Arniston Miners FC: Gavin Shanley, Darren Suddaby, Dale Davidson, Craig Shepperd, Steven Noble, Peter McDonald, Grant Smith, Steven Tansey, Jamie Horton, Jamie Turnbull, Lee Watson
The Spartans FC: Ross Burns, Steven Enwood, Chris Aitken, Marc Proudfoot, Reece Twist, David Campbell, James Campbell, Andrew Hornell, Nick Reid, Robbie Laird, Martin Douglas, Lee Orr, Garth Fitzsimmons