Whitehill Welfare 1
Spartans gave their title aspirations a massive boost with a 4-1 win against Whitehill Welfare thanks to a man-of-the-match performance from Omar Kader.
Kader, who played wide on both wings at different stages of the game, was virtually unplayable and was involved in all three second half goals which won the game for Spartans.
“It was good to be involved in the goals in what was a huge game,” said Kader. “Games against Whitehill are always big games and we knew they would come to Ainslie Park determined to win so it was important for us to pick up all three points.”
Whitehill started the game 13 points behind leaders Spartans and knew that a victory was essential to keep them in touch. They took the game to Spartans in the opening stages with Stevie Manson hitting a first time volley over the bar after a Mike Herd corner before Aaron Somerville fired in a 20 yard shot which Chris Flockhart did well to finger-tip for a corner.
Whitehill did go ahead in the 12th minute when another Herd corner was flicked on by Andrew Kidd to the back post where Alex Munro swivelled to hit home a crisp shot from ten yards.
The goal brought Spartans to life and a Dean Hoskins’ cross was headed wide by Kader then Robbie Manson had a shot held low by Darren Walker before the home side equalised in the 26th minute. Daniel O’Donnell picked out Keith McLeod on the edge of the Whitehill penalty box where the Spartans all-time leading goalscorer turned, made space for himself and curled an exquisite left foot shot into the back of the net.
At the start of the second half Kader looked certain to give Spartans the lead but his shot was headed off the line by John Hall. The goal was only delayed for a few minutes when a high bouncing ball caught out Hall and Kader nipped in to round Walker. He was about to stroke the ball into the empty net when he was wrestled to the ground by Hall. A penalty and a yellow card was the outcome and Gavin Malin stepped up to blast the ball behind Walker.
Midway through the second half Kader went on a penetrating run down the left and after beating three Whitehill defenders he cut the ball back to 20 yards out where the in-rushing John Grant had timed his run to perfection and side-footed the ball firmly into the bottom corner. In the 70th minute the points were secured when McLeod won a tackle in the Whitehill penalty box and set up Kader who deservedly scored with a low shot from twelve yards. Whitehill’s best efforts late in the game were a Dayne Robertson free kick which scraped the post and a Manson shot which Flockart saved.
Sam Lynch, Spartans co-manager, said: “The win means three points but that’s all – it’s only January and there is a long way to go. It was, however, a very important three points and obviously we were delighted to get them.”
Spartans: Flockhart, O’Donnell (Beesley 86), Hoskins, Fusco (Donnelly 89), MacKinnon, Grant, Kader, Manson, Malin, McLeod, Anderson (Finnie 85). Subs: Henretty, Veitch.
Whitehill Welfare: Walker, Hall, W Kidd, Bruce, Bonthrone, Herd (Robertson 67), A Kidd, Somerville (Sinclair 67), Manson, Burstow, Munro (Sproule 55). Subs: Young, Boggie.