Under 20s look to outrace Pace in Cup Final semi showdown

Posted on Friday, May 20th, 2022

It’s arguably the biggest game of Les Atkinson’s Under 20s season so far on Friday night when his side take on Conference C leaders Dunipace in the Challenge Cup Semi Final at Ainslie Park.

Atkinson has been one of the key architects of youth success at Spartans.  Ahead of the match, which kick-offs at 8pm on the main Academy pitch, the Manager noted, “It’s been a bit of an up and down season for us.  We got off to a good start and the boys had to show a bit of resilience with a dip in the middle.  However I think they’ve done tremendously well to come good again.”

Spartans go into the game building up momentum with a trio of wins on the bounce, with Mackenzie Scott and Given Ndlovu having both hit hat-tricks in the process.  Scott and Ndluvo lead the way in the home goal charts, having netted 23 and 18 goals respectively so far.

In opposition are the unknown quantity that are Dunipace.  The Denny-based outfit moved from the Juniors to East of Scotland League in 2018 and their Under 20s are sitting pretty at the top of Conference C, undefeated with 21 wins and scoring 96 goals on the way.

The Gaffer added, “Dunipace play in a different Conference to ourselves therefore we know very little about them.  However, it’s fair to say that we will be playing a good footballing team on Friday and I welcome a new challenge.  I suspect it will be a fast, open game, so it will certainly be an interesting contest.”

The current Under 20s squad are predominantly in their first of the three year cycle something that Atkinson is mindful off in terms of dealing with expectation management ahead of the crucial tie.

“There’s no pressure on the guys tonight.  They’ve just got to have confidence and belief in themselves and go and enjoy the game, whilst playing to the potential we have seen throughout the last year.

“When we discussed our team objectives for the season back in July, we targeted at least a Cup Final and a top 3 finish, given that the team is young and still developing.

“Getting to a semi-final is a good achievement in itself and it’s a bonus for us as we typically target the league as a benchmark of how far we’ve progressed. “

The winners will head into the final on Friday 3rd June where they will face either Bonnyrigg Rose or Arthurlie.

Road to the Semis

Spartans

R1: Bye

R2: Bye

R3: Glenrothes 1-3 (Conference B)

R4: Cumbernauld Colts 0-1 (Conference A)

R5: Edinburgh City 1-7 (Conference A)

Dunipace

R1: Ardeer Thistle 1-1 (4-3 pens) (Conference F)

R2: Kelty Hearts 3-0 (Conference A)

R3: Clydebank 3-1 (Conference E)

R4: Gartcairn 1-2 (Conference E)

R5: Kirkintilloch Rob Roy 3-1 (Conference D)


Next Fixture

                     
Date: Saturday 2nd July
Opponent: Threave Rovers
Venue:Ainslie Park
Competition: Pre-Season Friendly
Kick off: 3.00pm

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