Spartans boss Dougie Samuel 'a bit nervous' after Edinburgh University mount late fight-back at Peffermill

Spartans boss Dougie Samuel was relieved to come away with all three points in a 2-1 Lowland League win away to Edinburgh University after the students mounted a late fightback at Peffermill.

Tuesday, 28th December 2021, 11:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th December 2021, 1:45 am

Sean Brown and the superb Cameron Russell gave the visitors a seemingly comfortable 2-0 lead, giving Samuel the chance to make changes and give his substitutes much-needed minutes on the pitch.

But it almost back-fired when David Maskrey smashed a stunning 25-yarder in off the underside of the bar seven minutes from time to give Edinburgh University a lifeline.

That came just a few minutes after Uni sub Lewis Hendry had also crashed a volley off the Spartans crossbar. The visitors, however, held on.

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“I was probably a bit nervous,” admitted Samuel, who handed a debut to former Stirling University player Calum Burns at centre-back.

He added: “We made changes at 2-0 to get minutes into some players and the balance of the team was very attack minded as opposed to being set up to see the game out.

“But there’s a bigger picture to think about. It’s important to get minutes into players and also for morale. So, that was the worry, that we were a bit too attack minded. I had hoped we would go and get a third.

“Once we scored the second in the second half we went into our shell and let them back into the game. All of a sudden they get a goal and we’re hanging on at the end.”

Spartans dominated the first half and Brown headed home the opener from a Russell cross on the left after half an hour.

Left winger Russell was a constant threat and – after Ian MacFarland’s brilliant tackle in midfield had turned over possession to set up a counter-attack – it was his junking run and low shot across the trialist Uni goalkeeper from the edge of the box which found the far corner to make it 2-0 early in the second half.

“I thought for the first 35 minutes we were very good, played at a good tempo and with good intensity,” said Samuel, who couldn’t finalise his team until mid afternoon due to Covid issues. “The quality of our final ball and our finishing let us down.

“So we were a bit disappointed to only be one up at half time. I think we had 12 or 13 attempts in the first half.”

Spartans sub Sam Newman holds off an Edinburgh University defender at Peffermill

Edinburgh University manager Dorian Ogunro was satisfied with the performance of his makeshift team, which included a trialist goalkeeper after his first and second choice were both ruled out, and three midfielders lining up in his back four. He could only name three subs due primarily to Covid reasons and was forced to play several players out of position.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “Putting a team together was a challenge.

“We knew it was going to be tough and I thought the guys who came in were great. I’m delighted with the boys.

“Spartans had a lot of the ball in that first half, but I wasn’t overly concerned about that. I know how they play. Our goalkeeper wasn’t overworked.

“In the second half we were very good on the ball and we were a bit unlucky.”

Edinburgh University: Trialist, Turnbull, Thomson, McGuire, Bannon, Sinclair, Kemp, Dick (Anderson 67), Spelman (Hendry 75), Maskrey, Lawson.

Spartans: Carswell, Herd, Maxwell, Waugh, Burns, Jones (Walker 79), Dishington (Newman 67), MacFarland, Henderson, S Brown (Woods 79), Russell. Subs not used: Inglis, A Brown, Komocki.

Referee: Colin Whyte.

Attendance: 132

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