Lowland League: Whitehill boss defiant despite defeat by Spartans
WHITEHILL WELFARE interim manager Jock Landells claims he saw enough from his side in their 1-0 defeat by Spartans to suggest they won't be bottom of the table for much longer.
The Rosewell outfit lost Jack Wright to a suspected broken wrist just before the interval and defender Kevin Keane to a head knock as they crashed to their seventh defeat in eight games at Ainslie Park.
However, Landells was pleased with the character of his team as they competed bravely for large spells against the reigning champions.
“I thought the lads applied themselves very well considering the position we’ve found ourselves in over the last few weeks,” Landells said afterwards.
“We’ve had a tough start and were up against the champions from last season, so we knew we had to keep things tight and try to hit them on the break.
“They kept the ball very well and created some good chances in the second half, so credit to them. But I thought my players stuck to the task, defended exceptionally well and kept a good shape about them.
“They gave me 100 per cent so I certainly can’t fault their effort. It’s just fine margins in this league that kill you.
“We lost Jack and Kevin both to injuries and had to make some enforced changes which didn’t help matters, but I’m really pleased with what I’m getting from the players.
“We’re all sticking together, and the boys are working really hard in training to turns things around. We just need to keep building on the positives from the last few performances and hopefully we can add one or two experienced players to the mix.”
With the international break in full flow, a larger than average crowd was in attendance to witness a first half with few clear-cut chances to note.
The visitors had to weather an early Spartans storm and defender James McPartlin was forced to hook Stephen MacDonald’s net-bound shot off the line after just seven minutes.
American frontman MacDonald had the ball in the net just seconds later, but he was flagged offside by the stand-side linesman.
It took until the 22nd minute for the hosts to carve out the opening goal of the game – and what a strike it proved to be!
The lively Jamie Dishington collected the ball roughly 25 yards from goal before unleashing a powerful long-range drive which swerved past helpless Whitehill keeper Ross Jardine into the net.
Whitehill had failed to win any of their previous four encounters against the Capital side – their last success coming in October 2016 - and that trend looked set to continue when Jack Smith rattled the crossbar early in the second half.
Welfare full-back Kevin Keane was then forced off after a nasty collision of heads with Dishington, the player receiving treatment on the pitch before gingerly getting back on his feet.
Jardine pulled off a superb fingertip save to steer Jack Nixon’s diving header from a Craig Stevenson corner around the post with 11 minutes remaining, but the result was enough to ensure Spartans leapfrogged absent leaders East Kilbride in the table.
Match-winner Dishington believes grinding out a fourth straight domestic clean sheet is the mark of a good team and reckons he won’t hit a sweeter strike all season.
He admitted: “I’m not usually one for scoring on my left foot, but I caught it perfectly. I said last year I wanted to add a few more goals to my game, so that’s my main aim this season and hopefully I can keep the run going next week.”
Elsewhere, BSC Glasgow came from behind to triumph 2-1 over Civil Service Strollers at Christie Gillies Park. The visitors trailed at the interval following Steven Froude’s 26th minute opener, but a second half brace from ex-Morton youngster Thomas Orr turned the game on its head.
Edinburgh University suffered a harrowing 5-1 home defeat to Stirling University, in the battle of the students, with Abdul Yusuf netting a late consolation.