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Spartans move past Edinburgh City to hit round three

Edinburgh City 1

Benito 63

Spartans Youth 3

Crombie 16, McCallum 28, Carr 75

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.

The second half started slower for everyone apart from the wind. Bar another Russell shot being deflected wide - this time after Crombie swapped guile for tenacity to pound out the chance - neither goal was threatened until the hour had passed. Thus it was almost out of the blue that Cron suddenly found himself running free from halfway in the 63rd minute. With three men chasing and the keeper approaching he kept his composure, laying the ball across for Benito to play into the unguarded net.

In an instant the match was on, and three minutes of frantic play nearly reversed the entire first half. With Spartans jittery, Flynn Snodin had an effort. Then Cron was free again, 2-on-1, and once more finding Benito in support. This time, however, the goalscorer was pressured by keeper Scoon and could only find the side-netting.

Unable to find an equaliser during that flourish, Edinburgh City were soon left too much to do. Calmed by a substitution, a couple of shots, and increasing influence on the left - where Luke Morris to Rory Hamilton was becoming a major out - Spartans were steadied, and then scoring. It was Hamilton who slipped the ball into the space behind the defence in the 75th minute for substitute Jack Carr to run onto, cut to his right foot, and add the third.

It was a goal that effectively sealed the tie, and the final fifteen were happy ones for the visitors. Crombie had a shot saved by Wallace; Hamilton beautifully replicated his defence-splitting assist, only for Carr to be denied; and Carr also dragged wide left on a breakaway when sprung by Ewing. The job, however, was done. Spartans are into the next round and will certainly be a major challenge for their next opponents.

Lineups

Edinburgh City
Spartans Youth
1. Ross Wallace
2. Charlie Malone
3. Jahan Koninger
4. Andy Nicol
5. Cameron Johnston
6. Ryan Cowan
7. Liam Livingstone
8. Flynn Snodin
9. Dalziel Cron
10. Jose Benito
11. Ross Watson
12. Lennon Martin
13. Justin Akugbo
14. Bryan Blackburn
15. Jack Perris
16. Mac Lunn
17. Peter Paterson
1. Josh Scoon
4. Adam Dodds
5. Kieran McCallum
6. Christopher Cameron
7. Jack Ewing
8. Harry Maguire
9. Reece Mason
10. Jack Crombie
11. Joseph Evenden
13. Kornel Durda
14. Keir Russell
17. Luke Morris
18. Rory Hamilton
19. Jack Carr
Star Player
Edinburgh City
Spartans Youth
Andy Nicol: Despite letting in three, Edinburgh City’s central defensive partnership was frequently impressively stout. Nicol not only played the ball with commitment, but showed calm through several jukes of Spartan forwards and passes into midfielders’ feet.
Rory Hamilton: The midfield alliance of Jack Crombie, Rory Hamilton and Keir Russell set the tone for the victors, and all three could claim to be the stars of the opening half. Hamilton gets the verdict here because he also came to the fore in the final stages, combining well with Luke Morris down the left, and adding a vital contribution to the clinching goal.
Magic Moment
Edinburgh City
Spartans Youth
Jose Benito’s volley of Malone’s cross in the 19th minute was such a difficult skill: to catch a ball from the right with the right foot, and send it only marginally wide, illustrated marvellous technique. An honourable mention also goes to Perris’s goal-saving tackle.
The second goal brilliantly exemplified how defences can be negotiated with one-touch pass-and-move football, even through the middle. Ten minutes earlier Spartans nearly scored with a similar move; this time there was the finish as well.

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