Grotlin grabs Spartans passageway to U20s Cup Final

Posted on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

A Jonny Grotlin penalty earned Spartans Under 20s a hard fought victory against Cumbernauld Colts at Broadwood Stadium and helped secure his side a place in the Challenge Cup Final against Preston Athletic on May 27th.

Les Atkinson shuffled his side from last Friday’s win at Edinburgh University with Harry Girdwood and Andrew Mair returning to the starting XI.

The match started off at a frantic pace with the hosts requiring a solitary goal without loss to win the two-legged tie on the away goals rule.

Spartans were offered a boost early on when Colts man Fergus was singing the blues after a nose bleed that produced a large amount of claret.  A jersey change later, the youngster returned replacing the bloody 16 for a fresh looking number 17 top.

Arguably the best move of the night that didn’t offer us a goal came midway through the opening half when Girdwood looked like he had broken the deadlock only to see Giles make himself airborne to push the ball over the bar.

The wind picked up inside the concrete cauldron of cold and it almost benefitted Mair who whipped in a corner, with Grotlin inches away for nudging the ball home.

At the other end, the visiting keeper was called upon to make an acrobatic stop when he pushed a McKay free-kick over the bar.  It was the same piece of woodwork that saved Spartans from the resultant corner which saw a shot rattle off the frame.

The Colts faithful were left frustrated after their claims for an O’Neil handball inside the box were rightly waved away by the whistler after the defender was wrestled to the ground in a move WWE’s Roman Reigns would have been proud of.

HT: Cumbernauld Colts u20s 0-0 Spartans u20s

The opening quarter of the second half saw the ball spend a large percentage of its life on the outskirts of the pitch or in the stands as a mixture of misplaced passes – many of which wind-assisted – failed to find their intended recipients.

With 69 minutes on the clock, Spartans were awarded a penalty kick in arguably the easiest decision of the night.  Grotlin was upended in inside the box and the striker duly stepped up and drilled his penalty past Giles to extend the lead to 3-1 on aggregate.

Spartans made a replacement with Dylan Tait replaced by birthday boy Anthony Laing.  This was followed shortly afterwards by Shaun Miller’s introduction at the expense of Girdwood.

McGarahan was unlucky not to narrow the gap and offer his side some hope when he saw his shot bounce off the bar.  The Spartans stopper may not have been able to do much with that however he pulled off a fantastic save to deny Flanagan from setting up a nervy ending.

FT: Cumbernauld Colts u20s 0-1 Spartans u20s

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Next Fixture

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Date: Saturday 15th December
Opponent: Dalbeattie Star
Venue: Islecroft Stadium
Competition: GeoSonic Lowland League
Kick off: 3.00pm

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