On a day of typical Scottish autumnal winds, Spartans Youth progressed to the third round of the inspiresport Scottish Youth Cup with a 3-1 victory over Edinburgh City. Utilising a passing game that often and impressively moved the ball with one touch football, the away team managed to conquer both their opponents and the conditions.
The opening exchanges offered promise for both teams, with Spartans going close and then Edinburgh City closer. First Keir Russell’s deflected shot wrong-footed Edinburgh City's keeper Ross Wallace but avoided the net, before a loose ball in the eigth minute was seized upon by Liam Livingstone. He rolled Jose Benito in behind the back line but, from left of centre, his shot struck only the right post.
Parity was broken in the 16th minute, and came via a less common ‘underlap’. Christopher Cameron played the ball to Jack Ewing on the right touchline, who returned it inside for Cameron’s continued run. With the defence stretched, Cameron cut the ball back to Jack Crombie who neatly put the ball just inside the far left post.
Crombie nearly added a second two minutes later after a deft passing triangle on the D set him free, only to loft just over. Yet City’s response was strong. Just a minute later Benito caught a Charlie Malone cross from the right with a volley of great technique that went fractionally wide, before immediately blocking a Josh Scoon clearance and watching the ball rebound unfortunately over.
From there, however, Spartans began to exert control. A move between Ewing, Kieran McCallum and Joseph Evenden forced Jack Perris into a superb last-ditch last-man tackle. Evenden then knocked Kornel Durda’s cross onto the top of the bar. And, finally, in the 28th minute, the resistance fell. A quality passing move through the centre concluded with exchanges between Russell and Evenden setting McCallum clear to roll in for 2-0.
The last moments of the half almost gave Edinburgh City some reward as Dalziel Cron got onto a Ross Watson cross that had evaded all other feet. Cron's effort went back across the keeper but did not beat the clearing man on the line. Surviving that meant half-time arrived with Spartans established favourites.