Positive start to Spartans’ pre-season

Posted on 15/07/2012 by

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The Spartans began their pre-season preparations with a hard-fought goalless draw at home to a Falkirk XI side at Ainslie Park today (writes Alan Clark).

Falkirk had a headed goal chopped off for offside late on in the second half in the game’s only real goalmouth action.  New boss Douglas Samuel’s Spartans side were put through their paces in a full game for the first time since their King’s Cup Final defeat, as a young Falkirk team impressed with their movement and passing.

Spartans Keith McLeod challenges for the ball. (Picture: Thomas Brown)

North Edinburgh witnessed several seasons in the same day as a mixture of heavy rain, wind and some sunshine threatened to affect the play on offer to the 400 or so supporters who attended.

The game lacked any real goalscoring opportunities but both sides offered some neat passes and movement despite lacking that killer touch in the final third of the pitch.

The first action of the game came after three minutes when Chris Anderson tried his luck for Spartans with a low shot from outside the area, the ball comfortably held by Falkirk’s goalkeeper Graham Bowman.

It was Falkirk’s turn to try their hand at scoring next as pacy striker Lewis Small was sent through on goal.  After wrestling with a defender and then creating some space for himself, Small hit his shot wide of the post and would have been disappointed with his end product.

With 19 minutes played, Spartans had their best chance of the game as dangerous new signing Gary Cennerrazzo broke down the left wing, crossing for Jordan Finnie who managed to turn the ball towards the Falkirk goal but his shot was saved. It was parried into the path of prolific striker Keith McLeod but he got his feet tangled and the ball was cleared.

In the second half, a number of substitutions were made by both sides and the fixture remained even and very tight.  The only action highlight was when a Falkirk’s Tyler Fulton met a free kick with his head, steering the ball home to the keeper’s left. The visitors had the ball in the back of the net, but only to see the offside flag being raised by the far side linesman.

Local lad Chris Milligan was taken off injured in his Spartans debut. (Picture: Thomas Brown)

The game ended with no goals but plenty of positives for both managers to take away.  For Spartans, a draw against First Division opposition will boost their confidence as the East of Scotland runners-up prepare for the new season, and new signing Cennerrazzo certainly looks a worthwhile addition.

Steven Pressley will be encouraged by the performances of captain for the day Kris Faulds and fellow central midfielder Craig Comrie, as both players ran the show in the middle with a superb range of passing and willingness to start attacks off throughout the game. No doubt these young prospects will be used by Falkirk in their league campaign as they aim to return to the Scottish Premier League.

SPARTANS:  Chris Flockhart, Robbie Manson, Gary Cennerrazzo, Kevin Sivewright, Ali MacKinnon, John Grant, Mark Whatley, Chris Anderson, Jordan Finnie, Keith McLeod, Sean Wringe.  Subs:  Ross Gilpin, Chris Milligan, Alastair Woodburn, Callum Donnelly.

FALKIRK:   Graham Bowman, Conor Greene, Kyle Turnbull, Ryan McGeever, Tyler Fulton, Kris Faulds, Steven Brisbane, Craig Comrie, Lewis Small, Thomas Grant, Conor McGrandles.  Subs: Craig Sibbald, Robbie McNab, Kieran Campbell, James Flynn, Daniel McKinlay.