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Spartans use goal torrent to march past Oxgangs

Spartans Youth 6

McCallum 17, 60, Hamilton 50, 55, Ewing 60, Mason 66

AC Oxgangs 1

Neil 83
  • Saturday, 27 October 2018
  • Ainslie Park
  • Under 17´s
  • Craig Gowans Memorial Cup

Five goals in sixteen decisive minutes helped Spartans Youth see off Division 2’s AC Oxgangs 6-1 at Ainslie Park, advancing them to the next round of the Craig Gowans Memorial Cup. In a display involving some great one and two-touch passing, the home team combined aesthetics with goals as they seek to return to the final.

Matters did not begin smoothly for last season's runners-up, however, with passes the wrong side of runs and Oxgangs offering dangerous pace on the resulting breaks. Rory Ferguson and Leo Neil both nearly got beyond the last man as the visitors threatened, their endeavours coming either side of a Spartans shot by Keir Russell that keeper Lachlan Bradford saved with his legs.

Yet by the quarter hour the Division 1 team had their shape. Midfielders Adam Dodds, Jack Crombie and Rory Hamilton made a fluid central three, with forward Reece Mason dropping to give another give-and-go option. When things got congested, the ball went wide to Russell on the right, or Joseph Evenden out left.

It was Evenden who set-up the opening goal in the 17th minute, getting beyond the fullback and crossing for Kieran McCallum to conclude his near post run with a neat flick home. Spartans were one up and quickly after two via Evenden, left back Luke Morris, and Mason. Offering mirth amongst the flurry of efforts, the referee accidentally waved a red card instead of a yellow, inspiring some good-humoured chuckles.

Possession, and the high defence it allows, can be a team’s downfall. Ten minutes before half time an Oxgangs through ball suddenly split Spartans’ centre backs, sending Ferguson roaring through. Keeper Josh Scoon spread himself to save with his shins. When a Joe McGowan free kick evaded everyone and bounced just past Scoon’s right post a minute late, it was a reminder this was still game on.

  • Half Time:
  • Spartans Youth
  • 1-0
  • AC Oxgangs

This doubt did not last long. Hamilton’s 50th minute goal direct from a corner was an ugly way to get the second, and McGowan immediately put another breakaway chance - again featuring Ferguson - wide. But Spartans were suddenly lethal. In the 55th Hamilton played the ball to right-wing Russell, continued into the box, and subsequently whacked the drilled cross into the top left corner for three.

The next five minutes saw superb play from Crombie put McCallum free to hit the left post; Mason have his sidefoot shot from a Crombie cut-back saved by Bradford’s legs; Hamilton and Russell leave for well-earned rest; and two more goals, both originating on the right wing. Mason rolled his man and crossed for McCallum to convert from 2 yards at the near post. Less than a minute afterwards, the two substitutes united: Kornel Durda’s cross reached Jack Ewing to tap home at the back.

It was 5-0 and relentless. Mason was denied his first, and McCallum his third, by Bradford, and Evenden cheekily tried to lob the keeper but saw that drift wide right. But the 66th minute brought the 6th, as Dodds and Crombie combined to put Mason through. His first shot was saved, but with the keeper strewn he nodded in the rebound from a yard.

McCallum missed two more chances for a hat-trick before Oxgangs got some late game cheer. As the clock moved into the final ten minutes Didi Dublin-Green, twice, and McGowan had shots that could have scored. Then, taking a ball from Ahmedisam Ahmed in the 83rd minute, Neil showed sweet feet to walk between the left back and centre back and roll the ball past Scoon. Oxgangs had a goal, but Spartans had already secured their progress.

  • Full Time:
  • Spartans Youth
  • 6-1
  • AC Oxgangs


Spartans Youth
AC Oxgangs
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
12. Jack Millar
13. Kornel Durda
14. Keir Russell (c)
17. Luke Morris
18. Rory Hamilton
1. Lachlan Bradford
2. Ahmed Abdou
4. Jack Hughes
5. Sami Shehata
6. Drew Forsyth
7. Leo Neil
8. Rory Ferguson (c)
10. Ahmedisam Ahmed
11. Didi Dublin-Green
12. Dechlan Watson
14. Harry Simpson
16. Kieran Stockham
17. Joe McGowan
Star Player
Spartans Youth
AC Oxgangs
Adam Dodds: As the goals began to flow, it was Crombie who owned the midfield. But in the tighter first half, when nerves were alive, Dodds was central. Coming to collect from his defence, conducting simple pass-and-moves, switching play to the wingers, and curling balls for runners were all part of the repertoire. He sat further back in the second half, letting others shine, but his earlier job should not be overlooked.
Leo Neil: The football cliché runs that nothing scares defenders more than pace. Neil, up against a very good fullback, certainly brought that fear. Yet he also has good feet, as shown when he neatly shifted the ball from right to left to stroll through the defence for his goal. Neil is a dangerous player who can quickly inflict damage.
Magic Moment
Spartans Youth
AC Oxgangs
The five-goal blitz was brutal, tooled with passing, movement, high confidence and mounting goals. But a move in the final minute of the first half suggested what was to come. Play went from keeper Scoon to Evenden crossing via 4 other players in a matter of seconds. The final pass evaded McCallum, but showed how difficult it is to stop a team in motion.
Neil’s goal, and not only because it gave Oxgangs reward for their work. Ahmed was strong when he received McGowan’s pass, poking the ball on for Neil before the defence could intervene. Neil’s shuffle past his opponents and finish - the ball simply passed into the net - was calm and heartening.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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