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Spartans progress to final after a late scare from Hillfield Swifts

Spartans FC Youth 4

Marshall 17, 66, Muir 35, Falsone 46

Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts 3

Chalmers 78, 82, 84
  • Saturday, 25 April 2015
  • Spartans Academy
  • Under 19´s
  • Federation of Hibs Supporters Cup Semi Final

Spartans FC Youth held on to book their place in the Federation of Hibs Supporters Cup final beating Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts 4-3 in what was a very enthralling game at Spartans Academy.

Goals from Nick Marshall (two), Adam Muir and Mario Falsone fired Spartans into a 4-0 lead but a Hillfield hat-trick from Ciaran Chalmers late in the second half was not enough to take the game into extra time.

A very poignant and immaculate minute silence was observed in memory of ex-Spartans player Cameron Armstrong who sadly passed away earlier in the month at the age of 19.

Spartans got the game underway but it was Hillfield who certainly started the brighter of the two teams. The first chance of the game came the way of the visitors when they were awarded a free-kick 20 yards out on four minutes. John Francis stepped up but his left-footed strike flew over the bar. Hillfield's next opportunity came from a corner after Blair Lawson cleared a Scott Russell shot over the bar. Brodie Hamilton played in the corner from the left which was met by Aidan McGuire who then saw his shot blocked.

Hillfield were playing some nice one-two touch passes in and around the Spartans box which did not help the Ainslie Park team who were already looking a bit nervous at the back in the opening stages. Daryl Healy was next to try his luck when he picked up the ball in the midfield and went on a direct run towards the Spartans goal. The Hillfield man hit a 25 yard drive which came off the outside of the right post with 12 minutes on the clock.

The men from Fife should have opened the scoring on 16 minutes when Chalmers was presented with a free header after getting on the end of a Hamilton corner. Fortunately for Spartans, he put his header wide of the target.

They were ruing their missed chance a minutes later when a poor back pass by Mohammed (Yousaf) Asam was latched onto by Mario Falsone. The Spartans front man fired in a shot that came back of the far post which was knocked in by Nick Marshall, although it looked like he knew little about it.

The visitors came close to levelling after 24 when Cameron Cook was only inches away from making contact with a free kick played into the back post but the ball in was just a fraction too high.

Hillfield then had Yousaf to thank for not falling further behind a minute later at the other end. A good move from Spartans saw Jamie Cairns play in a vicious ball from the right which was met first time by Baillie McLean but the Hillfield man certainly made up for his earlier error and kept the deficit to only one when cleared from two yards out.

Spartans were really having a go now against their first division opponents and Hillfield found themselves two down on 35 minutes through a wonderful individual goal. Adam Muir picked up the ball at the half way line, drove in towards goal and from 30 yards out, unleashed a rocket of a shot that barely left the ground finding the left hand corner of the Hillfield goal.

The pace of the game had really slowed going into the last five minutes but the home side were looking for another before half time. Hillfield's David McNamara, showed his defensive qualities when he cleared Marshall's ball into the box and when it came back into the box from Marshall again, he was on had to clear the danger once more. At the other end Healy was tormenting the Spartans back-line with his directness and quick feet on the edge of the box.

Spartans could have made it three going into the interval when a Lawson free kick on the left was met by the head of Aaron Heinemeier. The Spartans man did brilliantly to put the ball back in the direction it came but his header went narrowly just past the far post.

The final action of the half came for the visitors. A Healy through ball played into the path of Chalmers was calmly shepherded behind for a goal kick by Eoghann Douglas bringing the first half to an end.

  • Half Time:
  • Spartans FC Youth
  • 2-0
  • Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts

Hillfield had a slight hill to climb to get back into game but it was made a lot steeper a minute into the second half. A poor pass from Mark Higgins inside his own box allowed Falsone to latch onto the ball on the right side of the box. The Spartans forward took full advantage and fired home to give the home side some real breathing space now and one foot firmly in the final.

Spartans then created another good chance when Nick Faulkner found Cairns but he put his shot high over the bar. Hillfield then came forward at the other end with Yousaf playing the ball into Hamilton on the edge of the box, but his shot was blocked.

Ten minutes into the second half and the men from over the Forth started to take control of the game. Blair Springhall fired a shot high and wide and Healy hit a long range effort high over the bar which was followed up minutes later with Spartans' Jordan Lock making a good clearance from a ball in from McGuire. Spartans were finding themselves pretty much pinned back in their half and they had to concentrate on their defensive qualities to keep their first division opposition at bay.

The visitors came at Spartans again and McNamara fancied his chances from distance but his effort was taken comfortably by Wieruszewski in the home goal. The Spartans number one was called into action again when he had to pounce on a McGuire free kick played into his box. The home side who had been pretty much under the cosh for a sustained period slowly started to work themselves back into the game.

Spartans were awarded a free kick 25 yards out but Heinemeier failed to make Donaldson work in the Hillfield goal when he put his effort over the bar. A minute later and the North Edinburgh side extended their lead when Ryan Love played in a great ball from the right side to the back post area. Marshall, who had opened the scoring in the first half,was left to run in at the back post unchallenged and fire home to collect his second of the game.

The underdogs had Hillfield rattled and wanted to take advantage of the situation. It was time for Hillfield to show their defensive abilities and they did that when Francis cleared Cairn's ball in over the bar. The resulting corner was played in by Love but Francis was there again to head clear this time. Donaldson was then called into action and he did not disappoint when he produced a great reaction save at the near post to deny Love.

The game was swinging back and forth and the visitors started to edge the game again going into the final 15 minutes of the game. Springhall played a great ball into the near post but none of his teammates were there to take advantage. A long free kick played forward by Francis was controlled beautifully by Hamilton who saw his shot on the turn go straight at Wieruszewski.

The pressure was building on the Spartans goal and you could sense a goal coming. It duly arrived in the 78th minute when Chalmers was played in on the right side of the box and when he fired the ball across goal, which was missed by the two Hillfield forwards coming in on goal, the ball somehow managed to find its way in at the far corner. This was to be the cue for an amazing finish to this cup tie.

Hillfield turned the screw and forced a corner which was headed clear. Then, Chalmers produced a good turn and shot but his effort was blocked. After a bit of ping pong in the home sides box the ball fell to Chalmers who fired home just inside the left hand post to collect his second goal of the game. The visitors smelt blood and with no time to celebrate they got the ball back to the centre circle ready to go again.

Spartans were at sixes and sevens as the Fife men came at them again with Wieruszewski having to make a sharp stop at the near post from a low driven shot from Euan Aitken. The game was then turned on its head on 84 minutes when Chalmers claimed a six minute hat-trick when he was gifted a goal. A really poor mistake at the back by Andrew Hannigan let in Chalmers after his nonchalant back heel in his own box fell beautifully for the Hillfield man who fired home from eight yards out.

It should have gotten even better Hillfield with five minutes to go. A corner in from the right saw Aitken left unmarked in the box and with a free header from only six yards out, he unbelievably headed over the bar. Aitken did not need anyone else to let him know what a chance it was as his own reaction said it all. Spartans gave a huge sigh of relief as they knew how close they had come to throwing away a four goal advantage.

Into added on time and Hillfield forced a corner after Wieruszewski parried McGuire's well struck 20-yard strike behind for a corner. The resulting corner in from Hamilton was cleared behind for another corner. Spartans did what they had to do and cleared the corner to relieve the pressure. The relief was short lived as Wieruszewski had to react quickly to punch clear a Russell shot whilst under severe pressure from the Hillfield forwards.

Four minutes into added on time and Spartans were defending for their lives longing to hear the final whistle and it duly came to instigate a celebration of more relief than excitement. A great result for the Ainslie Park side getting to the final and taking a Division One scalp in the process, but they came off the park knowing how close they had come to throwing all their hard work away in the last 15 minutes of the game. Hillfield may not have got that all elusive goal to take it to extra time but they certainly gave their opposition a real fright and came close to what would have been one of the most remarkable come backs in a very long time.

  • Full Time:
  • Spartans FC Youth
  • 4-3
  • Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts

Lineups

Spartans FC Youth
Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts
1. Tomasz Wieruszewski
2. Aaron Heinemeier
3. Nick Faulkener
4. Adam Muir
5. Andrew Hannigan
6. Sean Murphy
7. Ryan Love
8. Baillie McLean
9. Jamie Cairns
10. Mario Falsone
11. Eoghann Douglas
12. Jordan Lock
14. Keir Marshall
15. Blair Lawson
16. Arran Lovell
17. Nick Marshall
1. James Donaldson
2. Marcus Hall
3. David McNamara
4. John Francis
5. Mark Higgins
6. Aidan McGuire
7. Daryl Healy
8. Mohammed (Yousaf) Asam
9. Scott Russell
10. Brodie Hamilton
11. Blair Springhall
12. Ciaran Chalmers
13. Cameron Cook
14. Euan Aitken
Star Player
Spartans FC Youth
Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts
This goes to the team as it would be unfair to give a individual player the award as every player did their bit to secure the win.
Ciaran Chalmers - Scored a six minute hat-trick to give a grandstand finish to this semi final.
Magic Moment
Spartans FC Youth
Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts
Adam Muir's wonder strike from all of 30 yards out for Spartans second goal.
Mohammed (Yousaf) Asam's fantastic clearance on 25 minutes to stop his team going two behind.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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