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Spartan Reds victorious in 8-goal AC Taxis Cup final thriller

Spartan FC Reds 5

De Vries 19' 34' Cooper 23' 64' Harcus 31'

Craigroyston 3

Finlayson 39' 48' Paterson 53'
  • Sunday, 02 April 2017
  • New Dundas Park
  • Under 13´s
  • AC Taxis Cup
A fine day greeted the two teams contesting the AC Taxis cup final and set the stage for a fantastic game. Spartans and Craigoroyston did not disappoint.
From the very beginning, it was easy to see the game was going to be open and that chances aplenty. Just a few minutes in, the Spartans got the first of these, when Daniel Cooper cut in from the left wing and shot, but saw his effort well-saved.
It was against the run of play, when, on 10 minutes, Jai Anthony got free down the Craigroyston right, but just as he was lining up his shot, Cameron Laing brought him down in the penalty area, earning the Spartans defender a yellow card and Craigroyston a penalty, which Anthony stepped up to take.
He ran up confidently, but struck the ball straight down the middle and into the arms of the goalkeeper.
Undeterred, Anthony was again put through some minutes later, but his shot was just wide. Not more than a couple of minutes later, there was drama at the other end as Cooper crossed from the left, his ball evading the keeper and leaving an easy tap-in for Daniel Tuck, but he was flagged offside.
It was a wonder how the score was still 0-0, but the deadlock was finally broken when Ben De Vries was played in by a beautiful through ball, which he gave justice to by slotting home.
From here, Spartans assumed control. A corner caused chaos in the Craigroyston penalty area, with the keeper failing to claim and being left stranded. The ball came to De Vries, but with his back to the goal, he had to improvise by attempting an overhead kick, which was on target, but was spectacularly cleared off the line.
However, it would not be long before the next goal came along. The second was very similar to the first, another through ball, another disection of the Craigroyston defence, and another slotted finish to the corner of the net, just this time it was Cooper who profited.
Number three came 6 minutes later, when Tom Harcus’s left-footed shot from the edge of the area went in off the far post.
Cooper was involved again for the fourth goal, making a nice run on the left wing, crossing for De Vries to tap home.
Spartans looked dominant, but the game was about to turn. From a Craigroyston goal kick, the bouncing ball eluded the already booked Laing on the halfway. Likely in just a reflex action, he put his hand up to stop the ball. There was only one course of action for the referee, who gave Laing a second yellow for the deliberate handball, and therefore a red, reducing Spartans to 10 men.
Craigroyston quickly set about taking advantage. From a Spartans corner, they broke down the middle.
They had 4 on 3, and Jai Anthony played through Kini Ravuravinisaki, whose shot was saved. A couple of minutes later the goal came in amazing fashion. Kyle Finlayson saw the goalkeeper off his line and, from 35 yards, tried his luck. The ball was chipped over the keeper, and into the net.
  • Half Time:
  • Spartan FC Reds
  • 4-1
  • Craigroyston
The second half got off in similar way to the first, with Cooper bursting through again, and shooting, but keeper Liam Carlisle tipped round the post with his legs.
However, with Spartans having only 10 on the field, the balance of play was shifting.
Anthony was put through again, was again fouled, again earning a yellow for the offending defender, just this time slightly outside the penalty area. Finlayson stepped up to take. His effort went past the three man wall, far from the helpless keeper, and into the corner of the net, doubling his and Craigroyston’s goal tally. There was plenty of time, almost 40 minutes, left to make up the difference.
While they could not equalise on the scoresheet, they resolved at least to level up the number on the field. A Spartans break had Harcus in on goal, but he was cynically brought down by the last man.
The only decision the referee had to make was the colour of the card. He chose red.
Being back on level terms in terms of players did not stop the Craigroyston attacks. About halfway into the second period, Anthony broke for the umpteenth time down the left, only this time he managed to get a perfect cross in, which Ben Milligan took a heavy touch on, but then tucked home under the keeper.
This fightback was very commendable, Craigroyston had stopped from becoming the one-sided affair it so easily could have been at 4-0. At 4-3 they were very much back into it, at a point where the next goal would probably decide the result.
Unfortunately for them, this would go to Spartans. A hopeful ball over the top was latched on to by the rapid Cooper, who broke free, but the Craigroyston defender recovered well to make a very good tackle.
In a moment that somewhat summed up the Craigroyston fortunes generally this match, the ball ricocheted away from the grasp of keeper Carlisle and straight back into the feet of Cooper, who had the simplest of finishes for Spartans’ fifth and the game’s eighth.
Although there would be several more opportunities, including another free kick from a similar position to the one that the second Craigroyston goal came from, it would prove to be the last goal.
Spartans had won a very good game, certainly worthy of the final status it had. Craigroyston could well have won if some other things had gone their way, but it was just not their day.
A rejoicing Spartans were very deserving of victory and the cup that came with it.
  • Full Time:
  • Spartan FC Reds
  • 5-3
  • Craigroyston


Spartan FC Reds
2. Ben De Vries
3.Cameron Laing
4.Aiden Wall
6.Danny Mabbott
7.Fraser Moll
8. Sam Paterson
9.Sean Mullin
10. Tom Harcus
11.Daniel Tuck
12.Ewan MacLachlan
14.Daniel Cooper
15. Oliver Rumgay
25. Evan Flett
1. Liam Carlisle
2. Kini Ravuravinisaki
3.Logan McKinley
4.Blake Gibson
7.Jai Anthony
8.Leo Rose
9.Ben Milligan
10.Tommy Lee Sutherland
11.Lennox Anthony
12.Sam Brown
14.Mark Walker
17.Kyle Finlayson
Star Player
Spartan FC Reds
Ben De Vries breaking of the deadlock was very useful for Spartans, who capitalised on it by adding another 3 goals in quick succession, one of them also from De Vries. It had seemed up to this point that neither side would score, but De Vries' goal ensured that the game swung towards Spartans. It gave them confidence to keep attacking, where many other efforts had been frustrated before. Not to mention his fantastic work in defence, getting back to prevent numerous attacks.
Kyle Finlayson two brilliant goals got Craigroyston back into the game and got the Spartans hearts beating rather quickly in the final few minutes. He was also an engine in the midfield, directing play and making several barnstorming runs down the middle of the park. He was just generally talismanic for Craigroyston.
Magic Moment
Spartan FC Reds
The penalty save kept the scores tied. If this had not happened the whole outcome could have been very different. Craigroyston taking the lead may well have meant the game going towards them. Although a very simple action, saving a tame effort down the middle, it was perhaps the most important moment throughout.
The brilliant 35-yard lob from Kyle Finlayson was not only a joy to watch, but inspired his team to mount a comeback that got them back in the game and ensured Spartans had to work for the cup.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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