Salvesen CFC 16s got the 2016/17 season off to a winning start as they came back to defeat Spartans Reds 16s 3-2 at Forrester High School.
In a whirlwind start to the Division 2 game at Forrester High School, Kayode Fatunmbi-Randall opened the scoring for Spartans in spectacular style. With Salvie goalie Kyle Reid standing on the edge of his box, Fatunmbi-Randall sent an audacious lob from 30 yards over the goalkeeper to make it 1-0 with three minutes gone.
There was little to separate the two sides, but Salvie began to look the more dangerous of the two teams. Cameron Law struck a rasping shot from just outside the area which Josh Westwood in the Spartans goal had to save smartly.
The momentum was with Salvie, but Spartans had a wonderful chance to add to their winning margin with 20 minutes on the clock. Aidan Duffy sent Fatunmbi-Randall through on the break, but Reid read the pass well.
Salvie persevered despite the scare and they finally got on level terms midway through the half. A free-kick in from the right hand side fell to Ben Hush in the box and he struck the ball home from close range for 1-1.
It was a composed finish from Hush and he almost had another for his before the half was up, but Westwood matched his effort.
Both sides were determined to get their opening game of the campaign off to a winning start, but it was Salvie that started the brighter of the two teams following the restart. Striker Ali Eltom fancied his luck from distance with a thunderous strike outside the box, but it was straight at Spartans keeper Westwood, who held the ball with ease.
There was little Westwood could do 60 seconds later though as Salvie went ahead for the first time in the game. On the break, Mark Manclark and Brydon interchanged passes before Brydon raced through one-on-one to leather the ball into the bottom left corner for 2-1.
Salvie were starting to show real confidence going forward and they were unlucky not to have a third minutes later. Having set up the goal minutes earlier, Manclark cut in from the right and he laced an effort at goal that Westwood got down well to keep out.
Spartans needed to compose themselves and having been on the back foot, they rallied to equalise with half an hour to go. Joe Coats’ ball into the box found Duffy at the back-post and he hammered the ball home past Reid for 2-2.
It was an end-to-end affair with 20 minutes remaining. Salvie kept their heads up, despite conceding, and almost retook the lead. A corner in from the left hand side was headed powerfully at goal by Dylan Thomson, but Westwood tipped the ball over well.
With plenty of time remaining, both Salvie and Spartans had to go for glory. They both started to push higher up the mark, looking to create and so a fifth goal of the game was seemingly inevitable.
Brydon, who had a fine game for Salvie, really should have stuck his side back ahead when got in behind the Spartans defence. Not realising how much time he had, however, he sliced his effort wide of the mark.
It wasn’t to matter though as Brydon’s side grabbed a third minutes later. Eltom had a hopeful long range strike at goal from distance and he caught the ball sweetly to see it sail into the top left corner.
With five minutes remaining, Salvie could have cemented the result when Manclark had space on the edge of the Spartans box. The winger could only send his shot flying over the opposition crossbar, however, but it didn’t stop Salvie starting the season with a win.
Salvesen CFC 16s: Kyle Reid, Greg Sinclair, Dylan Thomson, Cameron Law, Kyle Hepplewite, Ben Hush, Matthew Tait, Keir Hislop, Ali Eltom, Steven Bell, Mark Manclark, Harris McGill, Alan Brydon, Joseph Saddler.
Spartans FC Reds 16s: Josh Westwood, Felix Barley, Joe Coats, Aidan Duffy, William Farmer, Kayode Fatunmbi-Randall, Keyan Ghazi, Louie Gibson, Christian Gizzi, Nathan Hay, James Taylor.