Edinburgh South Under-13s had to come from behind twice to send the game into extra-time before prevailing 3-2 winners over Spartans FC Blues in the final of the South East 13s Division Two Tom Welsh Cup.
The match at Saughton Enclosure began at a frantic pace with both teams driving forward, aiming to test the respective goalkeepers.
An early free-kick from Spartans midfielder Steven McGovern presented towering striker Ogulcan Yilidrim with a headed chance, which Edinburgh South’s Robbie Urquhart diverted on to the post and out for a corner.
Spartans were beginning to look the more promising in attack and Sean Maxwell Hunter went close to breaking the deadlock with a powerful strike which went just wide after good link-up play with McGovern.
However, Edinburgh South’s Marcus Cairns must have thought he had notched his side in front when his initial shot was parried by Chris Jacobs only to see his second strike roll agonisingly across the face of goal and out to safety.
Spartans’ two most lively players then combined to give the dark blues the lead. McGovern was quick to react and take a free-kick to the unmarked Calum O’Neill, and the youngster drove forward before unleashing a wicked drive which gave Urquhart no chance from fully 25 yards.
Spartans’ lead was only temporary, though, as Edinburgh South equalised within two minutes. A deep cross from the right found Nicholas Dolan in acres of room and he calmly lobbed the advancing Jacobs to restore parity.
Both sides were able to muster a few more attacks within the remaining minutes of the first half but failed to really challenge the goalkeepers prior to the half-time interval.
However, as both teams appeared destined to go in all square, Spartans had other ideas and regained the lead with virtually the last kick of the opening period.
A neat one-two between Yilidrim and Max Mackenzie sent David Gibson in on goal and despite having his first shot blocked, the ball rebounded straight back to the No.10 and he delivered a well placed shot into the far corner to restore his side’s lead.
Edinburgh South returned the more energetic side after the break and took the game to their opponents, with Dolan looking the most likely in the final third.
The little striker raced into the edge of the penalty area but dragged his shot just wide with Jacobs well beaten, and then Cairns just failed to get on the end of a cross from the left.
Edinburgh South did get their just rewards with ten minutes remaining. A free-kick taken by Reece Foster in his own half looped high into the Spartans box and an unmarked Cairns produced a fantastic header which left Jacobs clutching at thin air to level the score at 2-2.
They certainly deserved their equaliser with some relentless pressure towards the end of normal time. Spartans, on the other hand, were left to ponder what might have been as their goal once again came under threat at the beginning of extra-time.
Edinburgh South, clearly buoyed by Cairns’s strike to send the tie into additional time, took the game to their opponents and appeared the most likely to seal victory. They did just that when Dylan Parfinowski struck the ball from just inside the box into the bottom corner after great wing play from Greg Park.
Edinburgh South coach Mark Cairns was delighted with the spirit shown by his side despite going behind twice. He said: “It was a tough match, but I thought we came into it more as the game wore on, so we’re absolutely delighted to have won.
“To win a trophy has certainly made our season, but we’ve still got a few league fixtures to go, so we’re aiming for the top end of the table to finish off.”
Spartans’ Steven O’Neil, however, was frustrated his young players had let the opportunity of cup glory slip from their grasp.
He said: “We’re disappointed to lose the match after twice being in the lead, but credit to Edinburgh South for fighting back the way they did.”
Edinburgh South: Robbie Urquhart, Cameron Mitchell, William Donovan, Rory Rutherford, Kieran Baird, Dylan Parfinowski, Greg Park, Reece Foster, Mohamed Dukuray, Nicholas Dolan, Marcus Cairns, James Cameron, Jordan Thomson, Max Mantle, Hamish Stewart.
Spartans FC Blues: Chris Jacobs, Joseph Paterson, Cian Moore, Lewis Garrity, Sean Maxwell Hunter, Steven McGovern, Calum O’Neill, Stuart Thurlow, Henry Hunter, David Gibson, Ogulcan Yilidrim, Ben Irvine, Max Mackenzie, Ronan Dowds, Angus Johnstone.