Under 20s: Temple hits hat-trick but Kilby comeback denies win

Posted on Saturday, February 11th, 2017

A Snow Moon, two sendings off and eight goals were enough to warm the cockles of the frozen faithful who braved the icy cold conditions as Les Atkinson’s Under 20s drew 4-4 against East Kilbride in a incredible game of the proverbial two halves at Ainslie Park.

After the Glaswegian monsoon last week, it was the mercury diluting North Edinburgh chill factory for players and supporters alike for this clash between two title chasing sides.

Canadian keeper Cameron Rae was back between the sticks following his visit back home whilst there was a place on the bench for Euan Saunderson who returned to the fold after a serious facial injury sustained last year in Elgin.

Referee Mark Rennie was to be a busy man and he set out his disciplinary stall as early as the 10th minute when he despatched one of the East Kilbride coaching team to the stand following a discussion of sorts in front of their own dug out.

Spartans took the lead on the quarter hour mark and it was a well taken effort by Lewis Temple who outfoxed the keeper who raced from his line before despatching the ball into the net from an incredibly narrow angle.

It was the same player just five minutes later who doubled the lead when he tapped home Anthony Laing’s low cross across the 6 yard box.

East Kilbride rallied and it took all of the height of Cameron Dawson back on his own goal line to save Spartans as he headed a net bound effort away from under the crossbar.

Instead of halving the deficit at one end, Kilby found themselves further behind moments later when Temple netted his hat-trick after fine strength and pace from Harry Girdwood in the build up.

The provider turned finisher shortly before the half hour mark when he nipped in behind the visitor’s defence before drilling past Melrose to make it four.

With six minutes to go until the break, Spartans were reduced to 10 men.  Murray Hand was shown a straight red by Rennie for a challenge in front of his own dug out, when perhaps a caution of the yellow variety may well have sufficed.

HT: Spartans u20s 4-0 East Kilbride u20s

The away dressing room at the Academy isn’t fitted with hairdryers however the half time Kilby chat seemed to work as they proceeded to park themselves inside the home half, looking for a way back into the game.

A mere bystander in the first half, keeper Rae was called upon to pull off a fine save from dangerman Millar as a seige of Alamo proportions threatened the Spartans goal.

The home resilience was finally broken in the 72nd minute when Lewis Grant was adjudged to have handled in the box whilst on the ground.  Liam Craig sending Rae the wrong way to get his side on the scoreboard.

Just three minutes later, that lead was down to two.  Gavin Millar with the goal to set up an interesting final quarter of an hour.

Substitute Johnny Grotlin went on the counter attack, using his pace – and perhaps his boots – to dazzle the Kilby defence.  As he looked up to pass, he could only find colleague Girdwood on the deck having been crudely taken out in the breakaway run.

When East Kilbride sub Michael Jones made it 4-3 with some five minutes on the clock, the hashtag #squeekybumtime was deployed.

All eyes were on Referee Rennie – or more specifically his watch – as the game drifted into added on time.  Grotlin picked up the ball (not literally of course) and took it towards the corner to run down the clock.  He appeared to be manhandled to the ground as three defenders swooped on him like a seagull on chips.  No free-kick and the striker shown yellow for knocking the ball away in frustration.

Then, quite incredibly, the Kilby comeback was complete.  Rae done well to get low to stop a short range effort however he couldn’t fully grasp the ball at the first, or second, attempt and in what felt like a slow-motion moment, the ball was poked into the net and with it, both teams had to settle for a share of the spoils.

FT: Spartans u20s 4-4 East Kilbride u20s

Next Fixture

Date: Friday 17th May
Opponent: Dumbarton
Venue:Ainslie Park
Competition: Play-Off Final 2nd Leg
Kick off: 7.30pm

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