Under 20s: Season gets off to winning ways with derby win

Posted on Saturday, August 27th, 2016

Les Atkinson’s Under 20s got their season off to winning ways under the lights on Friday night with a 3-0 win over Edinburgh City in the opening game of the Qualifying League.

With a hosts of youngsters moving up from last year’s Under 17s and the bulk of the squad in their second year, a tough pre-season series of games appeared to pay-off for the Ainslie Park kids on a perfect night for football.

It took both sides a bit of time to get into gear following the first shrill of the Ref’s whistle however it was Spartans who dominated the early play.  Johnny Grotlin with the best of the chances in the opening quarter of an hour but his finish saw the ball fly over Ainsley’s bar.

However, it didn’t take long for the striker to atone for his miss as he delivered a 22nd minute pin-point cross to Cameron Dawson who headed home from six yards.  It was business as usual for the big lad who amassed 68 competitive goals last year as part of his side’s emphatic five trophy season.

City looked to strike back however it was clever play from Canadian Cameron Rae to deny Matty Downie from levelling proceedings with a fine save.

That save proved to be crucial and in the 35th minute, Spartans doubled their lead.  Dawson looked to have bagged his second but for Ainsley’s acrobatics, however it was Harry Girdwood who was on hand to clean up and pounce to rattle home the rebound.

Anthony Laing was inches away from putting further light between the sides when he saw his free-kick from the corner of the penalty area crash off the crossbar – it would have been a real collectors item if that had found the net.

HT: Spartans u20s 2-0 Edinburgh City u20s

Grotlin finally found his name on the scoresheet after an hour of play when he drilled low and hard into the City net following a bout of header tennis in and around the box.

As the game progressed, the tackles at stages look tired with some robust challenges coming into play, with the match official applying a sensible approach in his laying down of the law.

There was one final noteworthy attempt to breach the City defence as the game entered its final moments.  Calum O’Neil collected the ball out wide before cutting back inside before almost perfecting a mazy run into the box, only to find the gloves of Ainsley who pushed behind for a corner.

FT: Spartans u20s 3-o Edinburgh City u20s

Next Fixture

Date: 23/07/24
Opponent: Forfar Athletic
Venue:Ainslie Park
Competition: Premier Sports Cup
Kick off: 7.45pm

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