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Hutchison Vale came out comfortable victors over Spartans in this Peter O’Neill Cup tie at Saughton.
The two teams met in Division 1 in August, with Hutchie winning 4-0 and goals from Gregor Lamb, Leon Ronaldson and an own goal despite being pegged back by Spartans’ Andrew Dempster, saw Hutchie prevail again.
If Hutchie were feeling the exertions of their trip down south, they did not show it, taking the lead after only three minutes. A loose pass from Spartans’ defence was intercepted by Lamb who played Ben Swan through on goal, although his effort was saved by goalkeeper Craig Wylie, Swan retrieved the ball and played in the onrushing Lamb who waltzed through the Spartans’ backline and finished simply.
Hutchie threatened, attacking with pace and penetration down the flanks with Swan directing a strike straight at Wylie, before Spartans equalised in spectacular style through Dempster.
The midfielder’s looping effort from 20 yards crashed off the underside of the crossbar before crossing the line to restore momentary parity.
Only three minutes later Hutchie regained the lead, the unfortunate Whalen diverted into his own net when trying to defend a teasing cross from Calum Hall.
The early action did not let up with both teams attacking and contesting the midfield fiercely, on 13 minutes Spartans should have made it two-all, but neither Kalvin Nicol or Matthew Brown were able to get the ball over the line in the midst of a good old stramash.
Vale may have extended their lead shortly after, but the woodwork came to Spartans rescue in the face of a lobbed shot from the impressive Lamb shortly.
The best action of the game came two minutes before half-time. A cross from Lamb, after a not uncharacteristically sweeping Hutchie move, was only cleared as far as Grant Rose who hit a strike that looked destined to nestle in the top corner but which was superbly clawed away by the Spartans’ keeper Wylie.
Half Time: Hutchison Vale 2 - 1 Spartans FC Youth
The first clear chance of the second half came to lively Spartans substitute Washe Manyathelo, but the striker put his effort into the side-netting
Hutchie may have felt they should have been out of sight by the time the first half whistle blowed, but the second half continued in much the similar vein - competitive, but with Hutchie always looking the more likely to score.
Hutchie’s pacey right-winger Hall was unlucky not to score when his shot across goal hit the post and trickled across the line, but Lamb made it three on 51 minutes from the penalty spot, expertly dispatching into the top corner.
Spartans never gave up and had a few efforts on goal through Dempster and Josh Slon-Chayton hit wide, before Hutchie’s Euan Valentine was unable to convert after good work from Hall.
With minutes to go, Ronaldson finished in a textbook manner, shooting low and hard across goal and into the back of the net.
Full Time: Hutchison Vale 4 - 1 Spartans FC Youth