Spartans progressed into the Lowland League Cup semi-final with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Preston Athletic at an overcast Ainslie Park.
Goals from Craig Stevenson, Ally MacKinnon, Jack Beesley and Dean Horribine ensured the Capital side’s passage into the next round.
The opening goal of the match arrived in the 19th minute following a sustained spell of Spartans pressure. Paul-Jon Sludden broke the offside trap on the right before driving into the box and squaring the ball to Stevenson who drilled the ball low into the unguarded net.
The home side doubled their lead on the half-hour mark. Sludden’s rasping free-kick from roughly 30 yards was tipped onto the post by Preston keeper Sean Brennan and the ball broke kindly to the feet of defender MacKinnon who rolled the ball into the net.
Scott Devlin rattled the crossbar with a dipping free-kick from just outside the box, but any hopes of a Preston comeback evaporated early in the second half when Max Todd was given his marching orders for lashing out at MacKinnon after a strong challenge.
Spartans made the extra man advantage count with a third goal on 81 minutes. The potent duo of Horribine and Beesley linked up well again, sending the latter through before the winger dispatched his effort past the helpless Brennan.
Two minutes later, three became four when substitute Jack Beacher hit the by-line before cutting the ball back for Horribine who rifled his shot low under the keeper’s body.
Spartans: Carswell, Cennerazzo, Malone (McLeod 67), Sivewright, MacKinnon, Stevenson, Beesley, Cunningham (Motion 67), Sludden (Beacher 76), Brown, Horribine. Unused: Douglas, Herd, Cairns.
Preston Athletic: Brennan, L Todd, O’Hara, J Todd, Bruce (Gibson 64), S Devlin (Strachan 75), McIntyre, Henderson, P Devlin, Aitchison, M Todd. Unused: Thomson, Foster, Stewart.