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.