Spartans fight back

Dougie Samuel
Dougie Samuel
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Spartans gave manager Dougie Samuel the perfect birthday present of three points in a hard fought victory over Vale of Leithen at Ainslie Park.

A midfield war of attrition dominated the opening quarter of an hour as Vale looked to stifle the home side who were aiming to extend their six-match unbeaten run.

Spartans came close to breaking the deadlock with Duthie and David Greenhill troubling Andrew McQueen between the sticks however it was against the run of play that the Borders side took a perfectly scripted lead in the 25th minute. Spartans legend Keith McLeod, who scored 286 goals whilst playing for the hosts, knocked the ball home at the back post to give Vale an unlikely advantage.

Aaron Murrell came close to levelling shortly after the break however the in-form teenage striker looked on in frustration as the ball trickled wide of the post.

As the game entered the final quarter, Spartans’ Jamie Dishington was denied by a Jason Stevens goal-line clearance. The youngster didn’t have long to wait to rectify matters as he prodded home the subsequent corner.

There was relief amongst the home support as Blair Carswell could only look on as Kris Mitchell’s header rattled off the bar before Ally MacKinnon hoofed the ball to safety.

It was at the other end that MacKinnon was to make his next impact, heading home a Greenhill cross to give Spartans the lead for the first time.

That lead was extended in the 84th minute after Aaron Murrell’s trickery helped outfox his marker to turn and thunder the ball into the net. Deep into injury time, substitute Keith Murray rounded off the comeback with a lob over McQueen into the unguarded net.

Spartans: Carswell, Brown (Murray 64), Malone, Thomson, MacKinnon, Greenhill, Dishington, Stevenson, Murrell, Herd, Duthie (Saunderson 84). Subs (Unused): Horribine, Ross. Gilpin (GK).

Vale Of Leithen: McQueen, Rixon, Brady (S Elliot 85), Lynch, J Elliot, D McLeod, Stevens (Flanagan 45), McIntosh, Sclater (Mitchell 73), K McLeod, Hunter. Subs (Unused): Gallacher, White, Johnston, Trialist (GK).