Hutchison Vale 19s battled to a 2-0 victory over Spartans Reds 19s in the second round of the Bob Bankier Trophy at Meggetland.
In what was a close fought cup tie, the game began frantically with both sides keen to make an early mark, on what was a mild autumn afternoon in West Edinburgh. Hutchie, in their traditional black and yellow, battled hard for possession as Spartans looked to play keep ball and settle into the game.
Eventually, after a lot of scrapping in the middle of the park, the chances began to flow. Spartans were the first to come close when Aidan Renton tried his luck with a free-kick from 25 yards that dipped over the wall, only for Hutchie keeper Quinn Franklin to match the effort with a well-taken catch. Then, up the other end, Franklin’s side came equally as close when James Bishop connected with Callum Rae’s corner, but he could not quite direct his header on target.
With 15 minutes played, Hutchie began to take control. It was only a matter of time before the pressure tolled and after ten minutes of persistent pressure, they had the lead. John Francis’s one-two free-kick to Brodie Hamilton caught Spartans off guard, allowing the full back to drill the ball across the box from the byline for Rae to smash in from eight yards.
It didn’t deter Spartans however and they continued to press patiently. With half time looming, they very nearly could have pulled the scores level. A route-one ball from the back was chased down by striker Josh King. As he edged closer to the box, Hutchie defender David Macnamara began to close in on him, forcing an early shot, which was easier for keeper Franklin than perhaps it could have been.
After the interval both sides look refreshed and raring to go, but it was Hutchie who came closest with their first real chance of the half. Substitute Rhys Surgeon came on and he almost provided the perfect pass to Ewan Waddell on the left of the box but Spartans keeper Mason Duncan saved well down low with his feet.
Shortly after, Waddell then came close again to doubling Hutchie’s lead but as he turned in Brodie Hamilton’s pass from the left-hand side, the referee ruled the goal out for offside, much to his frustration.
With the game evenly poised, Spartans were doing all they could to get on level terms, but Hutchie were holding firm at the back. Chances were few and far between for both sides, so putting the ball in the net was of paramount importance.
It looked like Spartans were going to find the elusive goal they had been searching for as they increased their efforts in the final ten minutes. After Lewis Todd tested Franklin from range with a scorching laced effort, Renton sent a looping free-kick over the Hutchie wall but again the Hutchie custodian was equal to it.
With their man between the sticks looking unbeatable, Hutchie ventured up the other end of the field to finally secure the victory with two minutes to go. With Spartans bodies forward, they broke with pace and purpose. Substitute Aidan McGuire picked up the ball with just the keeper to beat and he sent a deft chip over the header of Duncan to wrap the game up. It was heartache for Spartans who had fought valiantly, but Hutchie had made their moment count to secure a place in the next round of the competition.
Hutchison Vale 19s: Quinn Franklin, Marcus Hall, John Francis, David Macnamara, Mark Higgins, Aidan McGuire, Mohammed Asam, Ciaren Chalmers, Brodie Hamilton, Ewan Waddell, James Bishop, Rhys Surgeon, Callum Rae.
Spartans Reds 19s: Mason Duncan, Robbie Costello, Elliot Sked, Connor Agate, Josh King, Scott Easton, Aidan Renton, Calum Brook, Joe Newman, Craig Smith, Lewis Todd, Ryan Smith, James Hamilton.