Archive for the ‘Under 20s’ Category

Spartans frozen off at Fulshie

Friday, January 20th, 2023

Our East of Scotland Qualifying Cup tie against Stoneyburn Juniors is unsurprisingly off as the pitch is currently under a blanket of frost.

A date for the rescheduled attempt to play the tie will be announced in due course.

In other news, our Under 20s fixture on Friday night away in Denny against Dunipace has also fallen foul to the freeze.

Under 20s | Spartans bulldoze Binos in rampaging rout

Saturday, November 5th, 2022

Les Atkinson’s Spartans Under 20s recorded their largest ever win as they hit double figures on Friday night when they defeated Stirling Albion 2-11 in the Development League.

With Forthbank resurfacing delays rendering the original venue out of commission, the sides met in neutral Abronhill at the Oak Road 3G complex.

A couple of changes from last week’s 7-0 cup win over Thornton Hibs saw the side shuffled a little, whilst defender Chris Inglis moved to LTHV during the week.

The honours were even last season when the sides met with a win each and the visitors were keen to get out of the traps early on to set out their stall.

And that they did.  With just three minutes on the clock, Given Ndlovu raced into the box and unleashed an unstoppable drive across the keeper into the roof of the net.

The hosts looked nervy and uneasy at the back under the early Spartans pressure.  It didn’t get any better when the Ainslie Park side scored four times in just nine minutes.

Aaron Cameron’s shot inside the box was parried away with Mackie Scott doing what Mackie Scott does and he swooped like a seagull on chips to convert.   Cameron wasn’t to be outdone moments later when he latched onto the ball in the box before he rounded the keeper to tap into the empty net.

Louis O’Brien made it two goals in two games when he went on a run away from goal before making a U-turn and thundering home from the edge of the box.  Then it was time for Sam Lovie to net his first goal for the side when he showed neat feet inside the penalty area before knocking in number five.

There was little respite for the Binos and on the half hour mark, Louis O’Brien’s cross was met by the head of Aaron Cameron who nodded home from six yards.

A rare lapse in defence saw Spartans concede in the 35th minute offering the home side a glimmer of hope.

That was to be dashed three minutes later when an outstanding counter attack saw the flying Russell Brown race up the wing before he whipped in a telling delivery which was duly despatched by Mackie Scott to make it 1-7.

Just when it looked like the half – and the scoring – was edging towards a close, there was remarkably still time for the sides to share further goals!

Albion were up first before Aaron Cameron was felled in the penalty area and Given Ndlovu slotted home the spot-kick despite the best efforts of the home keeper.

Half Time: Stirling Albion 2-8 Spartans

Spartans made a trio of changes at the interval with Max Williamson, Cusiter and Cameron Brincker coming on for Sam Coats, Given Ndlovu and Louis O’Brien.

The second half was unlikely to match its preceding partner and with ten minutes played, no further goals had been scored although there was a save from Miko Komocki and a Cameron Brincker shot that dragged wide.

However, and on cue, Mackie Scott was on hand to head home from a perfectly weighted free-kick by Max Williamson.

On the hour mark Spartans made a further pair of changes with Young and Elliott Miller replacing Aaron Cameron and Sam Lovie.

Despite the plethora of goals, Spartans maintained their composure and arguably offered their most polished and professional performance of the season so far.

That was to be further improved when a cheeky one-two inside the box allowed Mackie Scott to net his fourth of the night and his side’s tenth.

The scoring was rounded off with eight minutes left on the clock and what a goal it was too.  Elliott Miller’s industrious efforts seeing him lay off to Cameron Brincker who let fly from some 30 yards offering the home keeper only one option – to pick the ball out the back of the net for the eleventh time.

Full Time: Stirling Albion 2-11 Spartans

Mintbox Removals Man of the Match: Mackie Scott

Under 20s | Spartans KO’d by OG in close encounter of the frustrating kind

Saturday, October 22nd, 2022

Spartans Under 20s lost out to OG Broomhill in the Development League in a frustrating evening at Ainslie Park.

The opening two minutes of the game were played at a frantic pace, with the visitors enjoying some time in the Spartans half whilst at the other end, Seb Mrowczynski sent an inviting ball across the face of the goal and moments later Ben Lamont looked on as his shot beat the goalie and his near post. 

With nothing much to pick between the sides on league performance to date, the game wasn’t likely to be a goal-a-thon and both sides hunting for a way through to break the deadlock. 

Mackie Scott was chasing everything like a demented ferret, at one point almost losing his shorts as his marker had a clump of one leg in his hand during one challenge. A full moon over Pilton narrowly avoided! 

Sam Lovie was looking composed at the back for Spartans, sooking up the attacks and sending the ball back to where it came from as OG continued to threaten. 

Another man at the back, Chris Inglis, used his experience to win a free-kick just on the edge of his own box to bring a moment of calm to proceedings. 

A scramble in the OG Broomhill box saw a half effort from Seb Mrowczynski appear to hit the base of the post. It seemed to surprise everyone and it landed into the welcoming arms of the keeper.

With ten minutes left til the interval, the visitors capitalised on a rare defensive faux-pas and the ball was poked between defender and keeper to roll effortlessly into the empty net. 

The home defence looked shell-shocked and almost lost another moments after and then had to rely on a tremendous diving stop by Miko Komocki who reacted to a cheeky free-kick and pushed the ball over the bar at his near post. 

HT Spartans 0-1 OG Broomhill

Spartans set off from the outset of the second half seeking the equaliser. They started strongly, but maybe too literally as Given Ndlovu was pinged for a foul.

There was an early second half replacement for Spartans as Rui Black swapped with Cameron Brincker.

A long range effort from Ben Lamont saw the keeper get down low and punch away to safety. 

At the back, the Spartans defence was still having to work hard to keep the deficit to a single strike and Chris Inglis was required to use his experience to shepherd the ball out of play for a goal kick.

Seb Mrowczynski could only watch on as his header cleared the bar then Given Ndlovu couldn’t get the shot out from under his feet as the equaliser continued to remain elusive. 

Midway through the half, Les Atkinson made a further brace of replacements with Elliott Miller and Aaron Cameron on for Mrowczynski and Ndlovu.

The change was to an effective one as just seven minutes later, Spartans were finally on level terms. Aaron Cameron slid in bravely from six yards to nudge the ball beyond the keeper into the net.

It was almost a second shortly after when Rui Black won the ball in midfield, he sent Elliott Miller for a run to set up a cross for Ben Lamont had his shot saved. 

Unfortunately for the Ainslie Park side, the next goalmouth interaction was at the other end and the pendulum once again swung in the favour of the visitors who nipped in front of Miko Komocki and tapped the ball into the net.

Spartans threw the proverbial kitchen sink at Broomhill, including keeper Komocki who came up for a pair of last gasp corners in a valiant effort to salvage a point. 

Alas, it wasn’t to be and after five minutes of added time, the Ref blew his whistle for the final time. 

FT: Spartans 1-2 OG Broomhill 

Under 20s | Spot-on Spartans earn win in comeback cracker

Monday, October 17th, 2022

Les Atkinson’s Under 20s moved up to 3rd place in the Development League Conference A with a dramatic comeback in a five goal thriller at Meadowbank.

It was Spartans first visit to the new arena with Atkinson looking for an immediate reaction following the previous week’s disappointing defeat to Albion Rovers.

It didn’t look overly likely to be the reaction the Gaffer was looking for when after just 16 minutes on the clock, the hosts took the lead. A long floated ball from the right was headed goal-wards by a City FC Edinburgh, attacker and it looped over Adam Meek and into the back of the net.

It didn’t take long for that lead to double and just four minutes later, a decent delivery into the box from a free kick out wide saw the home striker with the freedom of Meadowbank and he duly headed home from 8 yards.

The home side had as much hunger in their bellies as the neighbouring McD’s diners and they should have made it three on the half hour mark.

Two corners in a row saw Meek make a great save from a header low down to his right, before the second was headed just over.

Spartans however weren’t up for playing second fiddle to the junior citizens. A free kick from Max Williamson on the left found Ben Lamont and his finish nestled into the bottom corner.

HT: FC Edinburgh 2-1 Spartans

Whatever was said in the Spartans sheds at the break is likely to remain classified but it had the desired impact after the sides returned from the warmth of the dressing room.

A short corner from the right was swung into the box and found Ben Lamont who watched on as his long range header brought about a great save from the home keeper.

Then, just before the hour mark, things were all square. A telling pass down the left flank saw Ben Lamont send the ball across the box and Mackie Scott duly dispatched home to make it 2-2.

With the winner up for grabs and the Edinburgh derby bragging rights in the balance, both sides pressed however neither goalkeeper particularly troubled.

That was until the game entered it’s final ten minutes.

Spartans went on the move and Sam Coats was upended in the box leaving the Ref with no qualms over awarded the spot kick. Up stepped Given Ndlovu who sent the keeper the wrong way to net his 8th goal of the season and give his side the lead for the first time on the night.

Adam Meek was called up to maintain that slender advantage as he dealt with a free header drawing warm applause from the Spartans faithful in the ‘stand’.

As the sands of time ebbed away, Spartans were awarded a corner which Given Ndlovu showed maturity and clever game management by keeping it by the flag and with that, the game was done and three points headed back down the road to Ainslie Park.

FT: FC Edinburgh 2-3 The Spartans

Mintbox Removals Man of the Match: Rui Black

And finally… A doff of the cap to Aaron Cameron who made a mad dash to Meadowbank for a spot on the bench after not long landing in Edinburgh following a trip to Florence to watch Hearts in Europe.

Under 20s | Brown brace puts gloss on win as Spartans blow away Bo’ness

Tuesday, October 4th, 2022

Les Atkinson’s Under 20s progressed into Round 2 of the Combined Challenge Cup R1 with a comprehensive 0-6 win on the road against Bo’ness United.

There was a return between the sticks for Miko Komocki following his recent finger injury whilst Atkinson stuck with his trusty trio up top of Given Ndlovu, Mackie Scott and Ben Lamont who had scored 16 out of the twenty competitive goals between them heading into the Cup tie.

The temperature in Bo’ness had a true autumnal feel about it as the game kicked-off and the hosts had the added benefit of the wind behind them at Newtown Park.

An early touch for Komocki settled the goalie back into his gloves as the home side looked to set the pace of the cup encounter between sides who play in different League conferences.

Ben Lamont went on the run and on entering the Bo’ness box, the Scotland Schoolboy Internationalist was perhaps a bit too honest when his heels were clipped but to his credit, he remained on his feet, only to see his shot blocked by the keeper.

With a quarter of an hour on the clock, Spartans broke the deadlock.  Given Ndlovu with the opener as he striker dropped his shoulder, evaded the defender and drilled low into the bottom corner.

Bo’ness looked to rally and some choice defending from the visitors left Miko Komocki with work to do and the Gaffer raging.

Whilst both sides enjoyed possession and passing was in free-flow, neither keeper remained particularly challenged as the game petered out and the sides headed for the sheds with Spartans a goal to the good.

HT: Bo’ness United 0-1 Spartans

The interval saw the Twitter Guy head to the nearby chippy and Spartans make a change with Aaron Cameron replacing Sam Coats.

Just eight minutes into the second half and the hosts were down to 10 men.  A straight red card was shown to the Bo’ness No.9 who cynically brought down Mackie Scott as he raced towards the box.

Spartans took three minutes to make their numerical advantage pay off and Ben Lamont sent a low strike across the face of the keeper to see the ball nestle in the net.

Mackie Scott was replaced by recent American recruit Russell Brown who was to have quite the evening ahead.

It was a third for the visitors midway through the half as Aaron Cameron kept his composure inside the box before finishing off with a neat nudge.

Having Seb Mrowczynski, Harry Cuister and Elliott Miller enter the fray probably wasn’t what Bo’ness were hoping for after conceding the third of the night.

Super sub Seb Mrowczynski was to make quite the introduction when he looked up and let loose from fully 30 yards, unleashing a strike that the keeper could only get a fingertip to before it bulged the onion bag.  One to dine out on for a while.

With the hosts keen for the final whistle, up stepped Russell Brown.  His initial effort was ruled out for offside however there was to be no questioning the validity of two goals in as many minutes for the New Orleans kid who produced a brace of quality finishes to round off a good night’s work.

FT: Bo’ness United 0-6 Spartans

MintBox Removals Man of the Match: Rui Black

Under 20s: Youngster felled by Fifers in disappointing defeat

Saturday, August 27th, 2022

A brace of goals either side of the interval saw Spartans lose 4-0 on on the road at East Fife in Friday night’s Development League match at Bayview.

After an arduous hour and a half bus trip from Ainslie Park to Methil, a leg weary Spartans side arrived at the home of East Fife looking to build on their decent start to the year under the stewardship of Les Atkinson.

A suite of changes in the Spartans line-up from last time out saw opportunities for a handful of the new recruits in their inaugural year of the ‘step-up’ from youth football.

The hosts may have had a poor start to their campaign but they were first out the traps as the red sky set over Bayview. Adam Meek called into action to produce a save to keep the Fifers at bay.

It took almost 25 minutes before we had the first real opportunity of the match. Given Ndlovu turning his man on the touchline before setting off towards the box, but his low cross had a bit too much air in it and Mackie Scott couldn’t connect.

Another flowing Spartans attack with Elliott Miller doing well up the line despite his marker nipping away at his ankles. His cross finally coming into the path of Mackie Scott but his effort was saved.

34 minutes on the clock and the home side took the lead. As Spartans made their way back after an attack of their home, it was a Fife flyer who made excellent ground and his cross was headed home from six yards.

Spartans looked to get back on level terms immediately and Callum McKay rose above the plethora of bodies inside a busy penalty box but his header went over the bar from a corner.

The Fifers were looking dangerous once again and you’ll be unlikely to see a better goal at Bayview all season as a long range effort sailed beyond Adam Meek, hit the inside of both posts and nestled in the net.

Half Time: East Fife 2-0 Spartans

Harvey Cummings was introduced at the break to offer some fresh legs however Atkinson was then called upon to make an enforced change when Aaron Cameron had to withdraw after picking up a knock, replaced by Cameron Brincker.

Any hopes of a Spartans comeback were dashed as the home side netted twice in as many minutes. The first from the fifth of a series of successive corners then a deft flick at the near post which effectively killed the contest.

Probably not the 18th Birthday night out he was looking for but on the hour mark, Max Williamson came on for Rui Black.

Adam Meek done well with a flying fingertip save to deny the Fifers a fifth, a stop that drew warm applause from the crowd.

Spartans still pressed and Max Williamson’s corner saw Chris Inglis rise and win the header, but the effort was blocked on the line.

One final change for the tourists saw Harry Cuister replace captain Coats with ten minutes left on the clock.

FT: East Fife 4-0 Spartans

Mintbox Removals Man of the Match: Mackie Scott