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Clinical Spartans stroll to Craig Gowans Memorial Trophy victory

Spartans FC Reds 3

Mackay 19', Pringle 46', Dawson 80'

Loanhead Miners YFC 0

  • Sunday, 05 June 2016
  • New Dundas Park, Bonnyrigg
  • Under 17´s
  • Craig Gowans Memorial Trophy
Gregor Kerr

Gregor Kerr | YFS South East Region Journalist
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | [email protected]

Going into this cup final you perhaps would have found it difficult to separate these two teams, with both performing well in their league campaigns this season. However, a clinical Spartans side were able to breeze past a hardworking Loanhead on a scorching hot day in Bonnyrigg.

You would think the conditions may have left the players of both sides feeling somewhat lethargic, but the match started at an electric pace from the first whistle, as neither team wanted to give their opponents a split second on the ball and, as a result, chances were few and far between in the opening stages.

The towering Cameron Dawson created the first real chance of danger in the seventh minute with a low driven ball across the box, but Mark Mackay just couldn’t reach it in time to convert. He went one step closer to opening the scoring five minutes later, when he latched onto the through ball and attempted a cheeky dink over the onrushing keeper. It may have beat Ross Jardine, in goal, but it didn’t find the back of the net and it was cleared before anybody could apply a finish.

Loanhead, and particularly Aidan McMillan, were working hard to get themselves the first goal as his first thought was always to take his man on, but they just couldn’t create anything clear-cut. Joshua Fital also threatened, with a series of inviting deliveries being flung into the box from set pieces, with the right back also trying his luck from range on a few occasions.

The opening goal was always going to be difficult to create in a frantic match like this, but it came in the 19th minute of the match for Spartans. Although there was a large degree of luck when a defensive clearance went completely wrong after an unfortunate bobble and Mackay found himself one-on-one. Whilst the goal had a hint of fortune about it, the finish that followed was sheer composure, as Mackay stroked the ball into the far corner and Jardine could only get a hand to it.

Loanhead then had a series of threatening corners which caused problems, but ultimately failed to result in a clear cut chance. Calum Crawford also went close with a good first time effort on 22 minutes, but his shot was always rising.

Set pieces also posed a goal-scoring opportunity for Spartans as well, as Josh Williamson rose highest to connect with Lewis Hall’s inviting delivery on 27 minutes, but his low header was well held by the alert Jardine, who got down low to cover his far post.

Jardine was called into action only a few minutes later, and this time, produced an even more impressive save. The ball was played up to Mackay, who turned provider this time, chesting the ball down for Dawson who hit a fierce first-time effort, but Jardine threw himself at the ball and tipped it over the bar with barely a second to set himself. Dawson then had another crack from the resulting corner, but he was only able to divert his effort wide as the ball came in with such pace.

McMillan looked hell-bent on dragging his side level and was so unlucky to hit the post ten minutes from half time. He drove at the defence, went inside and outside, struck a low effort and it cannoned off the woodwork and behind for a goal kick, his team’s best chance up until that point.

  • Half Time:
  • Spartans FC Reds
  • 1-0
  • Loanhead Miners YFC

Spartans weren’t in any mood to mess about and let their opponents back into the match in the second half, and they started the second 45 ruthlessly, doubling their advantage only a minute after the whistle. Mackay was once again in the thick of the action as he crossed the ball to Dawson, who took a touch and hit a solid shot. It looked destined to be in the net but it was cleared off the line by a pair of Loanhead defenders, but James Pringle was never going to pass up the rebound and the chance of a second goal for his team.

McMillan couldn’t believe his luck, or lack of, when he struck the woodwork for the second time in the game on 49 minutes. On this occasion, he found a poor goal kick land straight to his feet, and he curled a great effort against the bar and, once again, behind for a goal kick.

Loanhead were really chasing the game from there, and attacked in numbers time and time again trying to claw their way back into the final, but just couldn’t apply the finishing touch and grab the crucial goal, with Crawford going close from just inside the box after Cameron Leslie worked the ball to him. His shot, however, dragged wide of the post.

Mackay went close to wrapping up the win, in the 60th minute, when he got his toe on the end of Daniel Sutherland’s delivery, but he found himself off balance and could only direct it well over the bar.

Loanhead saw the most of the ball in the final stages of the match, and they had no choice but to throw everything but the kitchen sink. However, they still found themselves struggling to breakdown the sturdy Spartans defence.

The result was wrapped up and the cup was sealed with ten minutes remaining, and it was a goal which displayed Spartans sheer quality. On the right wing, Ogulcan Yildirim spotted the far post run, and sent in an inviting cross at the back post, where Dawson duly obliged and nodded it in for his side’s third goal.

Perhaps a harsh result for Loanhead who found themselves short on luck, but it couldn’t be argued that Spartans excellent passing play earned them the win and the Craig Gowans Memorial Trophy.

  • Full Time:
  • Spartans FC Reds
  • 3-0
  • Loanhead Miners YFC


Spartans FC Reds
Loanhead Miners YFC
1. Jamie Mitchell
2. Daniel Sutherland
3. Josh Williamson
4. James Pringle
6. Michael Allan
7. Matthew Brady
8. Lewis Hall
9. Mark Mackay
10. Oran Hosey
12. Jack Murray
13. Jake McCreadie
14. Cameron Dawson
15. Sean McCorkindale
16. Ryan Farrell
17. Ogulcan Yildirim
19. Dillon Floyd
20. Liam Currie
22. Murray Hand
1. Ross Jardine
2. Joshua Fital
3. Robert Sterricks
4. Rory Sutherland
5. Michael Lennie
6. Jamie Baillie
7. Lee Barrett
8. Ryan Dunbar
9. Aidan McMillan
10. Greg Park
11. Callum Crawford
12. Tom Rowell
14. Jamie Underwood
15. Cameron Redpath
16. Mark Barnet
17. Lewis Marshall
19. Cameron Leslie
20. Blair Ferguson
Star Player
Spartans FC Reds
Loanhead Miners YFC
Mark Mackay - Finished clinically for the opening goal and caused the Loanhead defence major problems throughout the game.
Joshua Fital - Defended well for the most part and put in some great deliveries, none of which could be converted.
Magic Moment
Spartans FC Reds
Loanhead Miners YFC
The final goal was a great run, which was met with a great ball. The perfect way to seal a great performance.
Ross Jardine produced one of the saves of the season to keep out Cameron Dawson's ferocious first time drive.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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