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Spartans Reds came out on top against Spartans Blues in a seven goal Spartans derby at the Academy.
Goals from Eric McIntosh, Michael Allan and a double from Ogulcan Yildirim for the Reds were enough to see the Reds claim the three points in this Divison One clash over their rivals, whose goals came courtesy of Marcus Mbewe and two from Kyle Hunter.
The game kicked off in freezing conditions with snow falling, and it was the Reds who started the hotter on the artificial Stadium Pitch.
From the outset, the Reds were on the front foot and looked much more threatening going forward, with Keir Hunter in the Blues’ goal twice being tested in the first seven minutes by Yildirim.
It was against the run of play that the Blues took the lead in the 20th minute. An excellent cross from the right by the lively David Gibson was met on the half volley by his strike partner Hunter from eight yards, but although the initial effort was well saved, he followed up to make it one nil from an acute angle.
It only rook the Reds two minutes to restore parity. An excellent corner kick by Keiran Pirie was met by McIntosh who rose to head home. Yildirim gave the Reds the lead when he finished after the Blues struggled to clear another well-delivered Pirie set piece.
The Reds took the two goal lead that their superiority deserved on the 28th minute and what a goal it was. From well inside the Reds’ half, Pirie played a superb defence splitting, eye-of-the-needle pass which cut the Blues defence asunder, and Yilidirim smartly slotted past the Blues keeper Hunter.
All over the park the Reds were sharper with Pirie, McIntosh and captain Ross Thomson hustling to win possession and set the Reds on the attack.
However, the Blues could have started the second half on level terms had it not been for two saves from Reds keeper Ewan Page, the first of which was astonishing.
A good delivery from Hunter was met by Lewis Garrity, whose header looked destined for the back of net, before Page somehow managed to tip the ball onto his crossbar which bounced on the goal line before event being cleared.
Half Time: Spartans Reds 3 - 1 Spartans Blues
A minute later, Page was called into action again by the jinking Gibson whose low shot Page pushed round his post.
The second half was only three minutes old when the Reds extended their lead through an Allan header from 10 yards after good work and an excellent cross from the right by Calum O’Neil.
The game petered out somewhat and became quite scrappy and congested, both teams perhaps feeling the die had been cast on the game, until the 48th minute.
The Blues were awarded a penalty for a needless barge on Gibson, after Gibson and Hunter had linked up well on the edge of the box.
The penalty kick was duly dispatched by Hunter, and with the deficit reduced to two goals, the contest sparked into life.
Sensing there may yet be something in the game for them, the Blues upped the ante and started to look the more likely, although the Reds still looked dangerous on the counter.
After much huffing and puffing but little clear chance creating, the Blues made it 4-3 with eight minutes remaining. What appeared to be a soft free kick, was smashed home from 20 yards - albeit with the aid of a deflection - by Mbewe.
With the Blues on top in search of the equaliser they looked vulnerable at the back, and Jack Hunter could have settled the match on the 65th minute when he won possession on the half-way line and drove to goal, but was unable to get the height his attempted chip on goal required.
The Blues could have come away with a share of the spoils. Only a fantastic last gasp intervention by Thomson on Hunter, stopped the striker in the 69th minute, and with the last act of the game Page denied Hunter his hat-trick and the Blues a share of the spoils.
Full Time: Spartans Reds 4 - 3 Spartans Blues