Spartans needed extra time to advance in the South Challenge Cup, coming from behind to finally overcome Peebles Rovers 4-2 at Ainslie Park, writes Mark Brown
Substitutes Jack Beacher and Errol Douglas brought back Spartans from the brink of a shock exit against the East of Scotland side who had lead 0-2 after the opening forty five minutes of play.
Ross Gilpin took over the gloves from Kevin Swain in the Spartans goal with Keith McLeod wearing the Captain’s armband.
Gilpin’s first task of the afternoon was to face James Young from the spot in the 11th minute after Referee McKendrick spotted a shove amongst a melee of players challenging for the ball from a corner kick. Gilpin guessed the correct way, but Young’s accuracy left the keeper with no chance.
Both sides traded chances shortly afterwards. McLeod set up Beesley in the Rovers box however his shot went wide of Walker’s post. At the other end, a timely Iain Thomson tackle saw Frankie Arthur’s 20 yard strike clip the top of the crossbar.
The Borders side did have the ball in the net in the 34th minute, only for the match official to penalise the visitors for a foul on the Spartans keeper during an aerial challenge.
The ball did count the next time it hit the home onion bag. Peebles captain Dale Richardson leaped almost salmon-like to head the ball back across the face of the goal. It appeared to be strike the post and perhaps a body en-route to crossing the whitewash however the big defender claimed the goal.
Errol Douglas & Jack Beacher were introduced at half-time, with Thomson and Motion being withdrawn. The pair were to be influential in shaping the outcome of the tie.
In the 67th minute, Kevin Swain replaced Gilpin between the sticks. Moments later, Arthur thought he’d added to his sides tally however it was correctly ruled offside. This was to be Spartans wake-up call.
Jack Nixon was on hand at the other end of the field to grab his side a lifeline with his second goal in as many games, drilling the ball low past Walker.
Five minutes later, a fine piece of skill by Beacher on the edge of the box allowed him to set up Douglas who slid in to guide the ball home from close range.
A final chance for the Lowland League side to win the game in regulatory time came from a free-kick on the edge of the box however the woodwork denied Beesley’s effort from being the match winner.