Under 20s ‘win ugly’ to earn first leg lead against Colts

Posted on Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Les Atkinson’s side take a slender 2-1 lead to Cumbernauld next week after Brandon Archibald netted Spartans Under 20’s late winner in Tuesday night’s Challenge Cup Semi Final 1st Leg at Ainslie Park.

The sides were met with a mixture of hailstones and sunshine in the warm up and it looked like the Colts were caught cold in the opening exchanges as Spartans threatened to dominate from the off.

Adam Corbett was first to test the busy Cumbernauld keeper with a hooked shot from a Harry Girdwood cross then the latter saw the visitor’s stopper push his effort round the post as the home side looked to break the deadlock early in the game.

Andrew Mair was unlucky with a half-volley that saw the Colts man get his gloves warmed once again however it was only a matter of time before Spartans finally broke down the stubborn last line of defence.

Jack Smith, who has found a rich vein of form in recent weeks, delivered a perfectly timed pass to Johnny Grotlin who finished off a fine move with the cheekiest of back heel flicks to outfox the gallant goalie.

With Colts on the ropes, Spartans should have doubled their lead when Corbett could only fire his header wide from close range.

The dominance and just the one goal for the efforts was to result in the sides going in all square at the break when McAllister outjumped the home defence to head home an equaliser with four minutes of the half left.

HT: Spartans u20s 1-1 Cumbernauld Colts u20s

The tempo of the home side’s play matched that of the temperature in North Edinburgh as both dipped towards zero with the Colts team reacting to the decidedly audible ‘hairdryer treatment’ in the sheds at the interval.

McGarahan almost offered his side an unlikely lead just five minutes after the break when he conspired to send his free-header deep inside the Spartans box over the crossbar.

A double sub on the hour mark saw Laing and Tait (sounds like an upmarket Edinburgh Estate Agents!) replaced by Shaun Miller and Jamie Clark as Atkinson looked to turn his side’s fortunes around.

With ten minutes to go, Cumbernauld’s Giles deserved the plaudits as he somehow reacted to Mair’s net bound shot that took a wicked deflection and dived to push the bar over the bar.

Despite the effort of the Colts rear-guard, it was Spartans who dug deep in a frustrating second half and their patience finally paid off in the 86th minute.  Smith continued to terrorise the back line before setting up Archibald who drilled his shot low through the body of Giles to earn his side a narrow lead to take into next Monday night’s second leg.

FT: Spartans u20s 2-1 Cumbernauld Colts u20s

In the other semi final, Preston Athletic will be favourites going into their second leg after securing a 3-0 win over Lothian Thistle HV.

Next Fixture

Date: Saturday 20th April
Opponent: Bonnyrigg Rose
Venue:New Dundas Park
Competition: SPFL 2
Kick off: 3.00pm

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