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.