Spartans 5-1 Coldstream

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Coldstream’s hopes of causing an upset and winning a Scottish Cup tie for the first time in nearly 50 years were killed off by two quickfire goals early in the second half at Ainslie Park.

Teenage Spartans striker Aaron Murrell did the damage by scoring both to complete an impressive hat-trick and finish off this first-round match as a contest.

Grant Davidson’s men should be commended for the pride they displayed against their Lowland League opponents.

When Ash Langford pulled a goal back on the hour, the Streamers briefly looked like a team who believed they could actually mount a fightback.

But despite a five-minute spell on top, they couldn’t conjure up another genuine chance and Spartans responded by ruthlessly demonstrating how it should be done at the other end.

The hosts scored twice in the last ten minutes to run out convincing and deserving winners.

“We knew we had to be at our very best to have any chance, but unfortunately it didn’t happen,” said Davidson, who felt his team allowed Spartans too much space and time on the ball and failed to stop the supply of crosses into the box.

He had a point. Three of the five goals came from headers. But Davidson should not be too disappointed, given the circumstances.

Since taking over as manager in the summer of a club with only three signed players, he has done a fantastic job.

There was enough in this performance to suggest that he has laid the foundations of a team capable of holding their own in the East of Scotland League and improving.

Facing Spartans was a huge step up and Davidson was under no illusions about what it would have taken to bridge the gulf in class.

As it happened, Coldstream made a bright start and the first two attempts at goal came from the men in blue. But both long-range efforts didn’t trouble Spartans goalkeeper Blair Carswell.

The Edinburgh side dominated possession thereafter. Coldstream keeper Chris Watson sprinted off his line to save well from Jamie Dishington before the opening goal came from a corner on the half hour, Murrell heading home from six yards.

At 1-0 down, Coldstream went in at half time still in the tie. But when Murrell headed home a cross the from right five minutes into the second half and then rifled a 25-yard strike into the net a few minutes later it was game over.

Well, almost. A sublime turn by Sutherland and link-up play with Langford carved open the Spartans defence, allowing Langlford to slot home from close range.

Tails up, a five-minute spell of Coldstream pressure followed.

But when it fizzled out Spartans woke up. Robbie Ross headed in at the front post from a corner in 77 minutes and Eddie Malone clipped a free-kick over the wall and into the net to rub salt in Coldstream wounds.

Coldstream: C Watson, T Farr (C Heugh 65), B Maxwell, M Allan, J Inglis, J Wilson (K Scott 65), D Simpson, P Hossack, A Langford, D Sutherland, H Steele (D Gillie 79). Subs not used: G Davidson, J Taylor.