Ross Allum’s pivotal man-of-the-match performance steered Spartans to the final of the Lowland League Cup with a brace and an assist in a 3-0 win against Gretna 2008 at Raydale Park.
Dougie Samuel’s side were out of the traps quickly, with David Greenhill inches away with a header from a teasing cross from Craig Stevenson. Allum had the ball in the net shortly after, only for the referee to bring play back for a transgression in the build up play.
The visitors who finally took the lead when fine interplay between Jack Beesley and Jamie Dishington allowed the latter to cut-back to Allum and he slotted home from close range.
That advantage doubled ahead of the half-time interval and it was Allum once again, this time with the head after Scott Maxwell whipped in a telling cross into the Gretna penalty box.
The home side rallied and looked to halve the deficit ahead of retreating to the sheds, Shaun Turnbull having to look sharp to clear a long thrown-in amidst a plethora of personnel in his own area.
The wind threatened to cause difficulties for both teams throughout and five minutes after the break a corner was almost sent net bound with the assistance of the Gretna gust, only for the crossbar to come to Carswell’s rescue.
It was the woodwork at the other end that denied Maxwell from extending his side’s lead when his thunderous volley rattled Michael Ballantyne’s bar with the home keeper rooted to the spot.
Spartans passage to next Sunday’s final against BSC Glasgow at Ainslie Park was secured on the hour mark. A long ball by Allum was seized upon by Beesley, who deftly scooped the ball over the advancing Ballantyne into the unguarded net.
Jack Hay was unfortunate not to add to the tally minutes after coming on as a replacement for Allum. The striker laced his effort beyond the keeper, but the assistant referee had his flag up for offside.
Grenta 2008: Ballantyne, Brannan, Wadge, Hunter, Little, Hope, Norman, Kelly, Studholme (Monaghan), Simpson, Pearson. Sub: Inglis.
Spartans: Carswell, Herd, Stevenson, Tolmie, Turnbull, Brown, Beesley, Greenhill (Dawson), Allum (Hay), Dishington, Maxwell. Subs: Thomson, Gilpin.