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Monday, 23 September 2013 16:35

Classy Hearts come through tricky Spartans test

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Heart of Midlothian FC
6
1
Spartans FC
Oliver 13
Carrick 21, 85, 90
King 73
Craigie 88
Atkinson 44
 
 
 

 

U20 SFA Youth Cup - R2
Tynecastle Stadium
22 September 2013
 

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Author: Sascha Bolder
 
http://www.youthfootballscotland.co.uk/component/joomgallery/image?view=image&format=raw&type=img&id=57900
If a match ends 6-1, this speaks for itself, usually. A result like that suggests one team was highly superior to the other, leaving the opponent not the least chance to compete. However, this need not always be true. last Sunday’s match between Heart of Midlothian FC and Spartans FC in the second round of the SFA Youth Cup (Under 20’s) is a good example of that. Although it is true that the 200 fans at Tynecastle stadium saw a stunning 6-1 win of the home team, the final result hides the fact that for most of the match, Spartans kept the match fairly balanced. In the end, Hearts celebrated a deserved win due to their better fitness and more sophisticated technique but still, courageously fighting Spartans have no reason to be ashamed of their performance.
 
Right from the kick off, Hearts proved they would dominate the match completely. Immediately, they put Spartans’ defence under pressure with smart passes and constantly switching play from one angle to another. After three minutes already, Billy King had the first scoring chance when he attracted two defenders of Spartans with a dribbling before playing a one-two with Gary Oliver and unleashing a drive from 26 yards that narrowly drifted the wrong side of the post.
 
Throughout the initial stage of the match, Spartans had a tough time preventing Hearts from causing damage. Although Spartans fought courageously and kept tackling Hearts’ ball-carrying players with two defenders at the same time, their opponents always found space and openings to create a couple of good opportunities. However, all of their shots either missed the target or were parried by brilliant goalkeeper Blair Carswell.
 
Just when Spartans had begun to get a foothold in the game and Hearts had slowed down a bit, Gary Oliver put the home team in front in the 13th minute. Spartans had a free kick 10 yards inside Hearts' half but rather than delivering a cross into the box, they played a short pass and lost the ball which gave Hearts the opportunity to start a counter attack. On the right wing, Sam Nicholson overran two Spartans’ defenders and entered the box before taking a shot. Though Blair Carswell could again prevent the goal at first, he was not able to keep hold of the ball which gave Gary Oliver the opportunity to force it into the bottom right corner from short distance.
 
After that, Hearts increased the pressure level again and besieged Spartans’ box, taking shots from various angles and distances. At that time, it was mainly the goalkeeper Carswell who held Spartans in the game for he parried not only Dale Carrick’s shot from outside the box but also three shots of Hearts’ best player Billy King.
 
However, in spite of Carswell’s amazing performance, he could not prevent Hearts from taking a 2-0 lead in the 21st minute. Referee Simon MacLean had awarded Hearts a free kick from 22 yards and two Hearts players positioned themselves close to the ball as if planning to pass and stop the ball so that a third team mate could shoot. But rather than doing so, one of the three lifted the ball over Spartans’ surprised players who were standing in the wall. Again, it was Billy King who was waiting for the ball and shot from short distance but due to the difficult angle he was shooting from, Carswell was able to deflect the ball so that Hearts were awarded a corner kick. The pinpoint corner kick delivered from the right wing found the head of Dale Carrick who had no trouble putting it into the net.
 
So far, Spartans had not had any opportunity to score at all and Hearts dominated the match at will. But just one minute before half-time, Spartans came back into the match when Blair Atkinson scored the 2-1 against the run of play. After a through ball from midfield directed at Harvey McIntosh, Hearts’ goalkeeper Jack Hamilton left his goal to slide towards McIntosh and catch the ball but he spilled it so that it came to Atkinson who put it into the empty goal from outside the box.

Half Time: Heart of Midlothian FC 2-1 Spartans FC
 
http://www.youthfootballscotland.co.uk/component/joomgallery/image?view=image&format=raw&type=img&id=57905Despite Hearts’ dominance throughout the first leg of the match, Spartans’ goal was a warning to the home team and from now on, they played more carefully than before. Also, Spartans’ defence was more stable now and Hearts could not create chances as easily as before anymore. As a result of that, the match cooled down a bit and chances to score mainly came about from shots from outside the box.
 
Although Hearts were still dominant, Spartans remained being an unpleasant opponent, creating some chances after counter attacks every now and then. In the 56th minute, Spartans’ Jamie Dishington could have equalised, but his shot from the right side of the box was blocked by a Hearts’ defender who slid into the ball before it hit the target.
 
It was not until the 73rd minute that Hearts extended their lead. Left wing midfielder Billy King eventually decided the match when he entered the box and side-stepped three Spartans’ defenders before slamming it into the net.
 
Despite the fact, that Spartans had fought courageously in the second half, in the last five minutes of the match, Hearts benefitted from being fitter than their opponents and scored three more goals. In the 85th minute, Billy King burst past two defenders on the left wing before delivering a cross ball into the box which could not be cleared properly by Spartans’ defence. The ball came to Dale Carrick who did not leave the goalkeeper any chance from 9 yards.
 
Three minutes after that, substitute Rhys Craigie scored the 5-1 with a strong and accurate shot into the upper left corner from the right edge of the box.
 
A sixth goal came when Carrick scored his third goal of the match in the 90th minute, again after a cross ball from the left wing.
 
Overall, a deserved win for Heart of Midlothian although the final result of 6-1 is maybe two goals too high and does not reflect that Spartans were quite competitive throughout most of the second half.
 
Full Time: Heart of Midlothian FC 2-1 Spartans FC

 

Heart of Midlothian FC Spartans FC
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1. Jack Hamilton
2. Liam Smith
3. Jordan McGhee
4. Adam King
5. Elliot Ford
6. Angus Beith
7. Billy King
8. Sam Nicholson
9. Gary Oliver
10. Sean McKirdy
11. Dale Carrick
12. Robbie Buchanan
13. Jamie Sneddon
14. Rhys Craigie
15. Leon Jones
16. Ian Smith
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1. Blair Carswell
2. Alex Imlah
3. Andrew Mair
4. Paul Dickson
5. Kris Buchanan
6. Scott Irving
7. Jordan Brown
8. Jamie Dishington
9. Blair Atkinson
10. Sean Stewart
11. Harvey McIntosh
12. Elliot Carruthers
14. Martin Lackie
15. Harry Oliff
16. Kyle Doig
17. Dylan Tait
 
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Billy King scored an amazing goal and had an assist, apart from various other scoring opportunities. Also, he always knew when to dribble and when to pass the ball to a teammate standing in a better position.
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Blair Carswell held his team in the game with a number of impressive saves.
 
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Darren Murray, player development manager of Heart of Midlothian, said: "The type we played was pleasing to the eye. But I think Spartans were excellent, too, and a 6-1 defeat is pretty harsh on them."
 
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Les Atkinson, head coach of Spartans, said: "I don't think the final result actually reflects how well we played. I am really pleased with how my boys played and I think playing against such a good team was good learning for us."
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Last modified on Tuesday, 24 September 2013 00:28
Sascha Bolder

Sascha Bolder | YFS South East Region Journalist

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