Spartans Reds faced Hutchison Vale in the Division 1 League Cup final at New Dundas Park with Hutchie lifting the trophy after a penalty shootout.
The players did not disappoint in the early exchanges and both teams would have chances to open the scoring in the first two minutes of play.
Oran Hosey picked up the ball in the middle of the park and with a little look up played a dinked through-ball for Ogulcan Yilidirim who found himself in on goal. Unfortunately for the forward he could not fashion a finish and the ball was cleared out by the Hutchie defence.
At the other end of the park however Cameron Paton had his shooting boots on early.With two minutes played the forward caught hold of a ball in from the wing before advancing to the edge of the box and rifling a low shot to the centre of goal which seemed to catch Spartans goalkeeper Jamie Mitchel off guard and nestled in to the netting.
If indeed there ever is a “good” time to concede a goal in football then arguably it’s early on as there is plenty of time for a reaction. Perhaps fearing just this however it would be Hutchie who would set about dominating the game in the first half, looking to add the cushion of a second goal. After six minutes, a floated corner into the Spartans box saw an unmarked Ross Waters take the ball down well and drive an effort towards goal, only a ruck of brave Spartans players putting their bodies on the line for their team prevented Hutchie from doubling their advantage.
Just a minute later the Spartans box was under attack once more as a floated long-range free kick from McGuire needed a strong fisted clearance from Mitchell to take the ball away from its intended target.
Despite the Hutchie dominance Spartans would look to engineer their resurgence with a couple of good chances of their own as the first half progressed. With 20 minutes played Brady would find the lively Murray Hand down wing and his cross was met by the advancing Girdwood’s header which clipped the bar before going out for a goal kick. Girdwood would be involved again in a good chance just a couple of minutes later as he looked to spearhead the Spartans response almost singlehandedly. Williamson provided a nice pass for Hosey who found Girdwood in a central area. A nice run from the midfielder saw him take on two players before a low shot shaved the right hand post of Martin in the Hutchie goal.
With 25 minutes played Spartans would have their best chance of the game to get back on level terms. A Hosey free kick on the edge of the box connected with the wall and when the rebound fell to Murray Hand his venomous volley went just over the bar. It was a sweetly struck effort and Hand will no doubt feel the shot would have been unstoppable had he managed to just keep it that little bit lower. That being said had it gone in the effort would not have looked out of place in a Premier League highlight reel so credit to Hand for trying the spectacular to get his team back in the game.
Perhaps buoyed by that thunderous warning shot from Hand, Hutchie looked to end the half strongly and goalscorer Paton, Richardson and Wright were instrumental in preserving their teams lead. Some very nice interchanging passes meant Spartans would chase the play while Hutchie probed for the defence unlocking pass.
With just one minute left in the first half Hutchie could indeed have been two up. Mackie did very well to disposes Hand and play the ball up to the waiting Kyle Hunter. Hunter’s hold-.
up play was very good as he looked to play in the onrushing Paton. A great run and clearance of his line from Mitchell however ensured that Hutchison Vale went in at half time with just the one goal.